วันอังคารที่ 18 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2554

Nazis, needlework and my dad

Few men belonging to a sewing group, but Tony Casdagli took his enthusiasm for the trade of his father, who remained sane subversive configuration messages as a prisoner of war " / aa>

After six months in the hands of Nazis in prisoner of war camp, Major Alexis Casdagli was handed a piece of cloth by another inmate. Squeeze the red and blue jersey a distribution belonging to an old general of Crete, Casdagli spent long hours in captivity by carefully creating a cross stitch sampler. Some swastikas and an inscription banal decorative work was completed in December 1941, the British officer irregular stitching a border of dots and dashes. Over the next four years, his work has been exhibited at the four camps in Germany, where he was imprisoned, and his Nazi captors never broke the thread of messages in Morse code: "God save the King" and "Fuck Hitler "

This subversive puncture of the Nazis was a way to challenge Casdagli, which has not been released from prison until 1945, believed it was the duty of every prisoner of war. "Before the pleasure when the Germans made their rounds," said his son, Tony, sewing rebel of his father. He also stopped going crazy. "He said after the war the Red Cross saved his life but saved his embroidery sense," says Tony. "If you sit and you can forget about other things and is very relaxing."

, Tony should know. The 79 years have become accustomed to sew from her father, after a life at sea, serving in the Royal Navy, September 6 and two of his pieces are arranged in an opening of the new exhibition at the Victoria Albert Museum called the power to do. Tony is very excited, but the relationship between father, son, sewing and suffering is complex and sometimes ambiguous.

The son of a family of Greek cotton merchants, with operations in Manchester and Egypt, Tony and his mother, Joyce, were separated from their father when the war broke out. During the disastrous campaign of the Allies in Crete, Casdagli was captured. For a month, Joyce did not know if he was alive or dead for a year, Casdagli not receive letters or packages

most Casdagli confinement was spent in a German castle. The life of a British officer was not as brutal as it was in the Japanese camps, but continues to participate in terror, hunger and deprivation. Casdagli carefully written and crossed every day for a pencil in a little black book. "He was very meticulous," says Tony, more than once. Casdagli made lists of everything - every broken window in the bombing, all letters sent and received. He recorded "Improvisations", as being a "stopped clock" of a "broom handle and a Molotov cocktail" and "reflections" of hunger, "You do not remember which hand to use knife and fork to the arrival of the first piece of the Red Cross. "

Above all, however, recorded his Casdagli anger and frustration in cross stitch. He had picked up the sewing skills of elderly parents, and when parcels of the Red Cross began to arrive (with hair brushes with secret compartments to hide the map, that the prisoners with the notation of intelligence and smuggling), you purchased the equipment. He also paid more topics from your old friend of Crete in general - this time in his pajamas

When Tony was 11 years, received a letter by e-sewn. "This is 1581 days since I saw the last, but not for long. Remember when I fell into the care of well? Mom until I come again, "written in letters laboriously Casdagli finely stitched.

in a dark and claustrophobic on the map and part of the plot of his father created a needle "Room 13, Spangenberg Castle." Cells couture shows prisoners, some pieces of coal, a sign that says "bathroom every 14 days" and a menu. "Soups, potatoes, sausages, bread, flour" in the background was a Union flag. National flags have been banned in the area, so Casdagli sewed a canvas curtain on it with "Do not open" written in German. "Every week, the same agent to open the cover and say," This is illegal, and the father said, "You are what you show, I'm not showing .'" official Captured played cricket and other games to pass the time, but fashion has proved surprisingly popular Casdagli ran a class for 40 agents. It was his "Fuck Hitler" gesture of a risk? "It would certainly have been shot down and he was placed in isolation or worse," says Tony. But he does not think his father had been executed. Despite seeing a detainee was shot in the back by an accidental release of the alarm, Casdagli stuck to its policy of non-cooperative to be implacable. One Christmas, a senior British official has agreed with his German counterpart that no one has tried to escape in exchange for a comfortable Christmas. Casdagli stayed in bed and refused to eat. "Pa was very angry about it. One of the tasks it was not a prisoner of war to make life as uncomfortable as possible for their captors, trying to escape," says Tony. Among the works of his father hanging in the staircase of the house in London that Tony leaves with his second wife, Sally, is a little sad. It lists the years 1939 to 1943 with the initials of Joyce and the words "all day." Would be two years before seeing his wife and son Casdagli again. In April 1945, an "absolute surprise" was repatriated to Britain, given a brief medical books and 10. Then he took two buses to find their way. Joyce had gone to pick up Tony from school. "A 12 hours, came, and my cup of happiness was complete, "he wrote in his diary Casdagli. Unfortunately, their joy could not simply erase the trauma four years in captivity. Tony describes his father as "very frustrated" when he returned. His stay in prison unstable, and soon after went to Greece to fight in the Civil War. He met his second wife there.

fashion requires discipline and patience, two qualities Tony must have inherited from his father, but the two men developed a unique style. Tony's father created complex symmetrical patterns. "I had a great imagination, Pa. He loved doing things instead of inventing things," says Tony. However, Tony was the design of your sewing. Six years ago, the wife of an old friend Tony naval presented the wife of Chelsea, cross stitch group. Tony became the only male member, supervised by Joyce Conwy Evans, whose work is displayed in the Canterbury Cathedral and the V & A.

Tony is self-criticism of their work, but not self-conscious. I used to enjoy sewing while waiting in airports, but can not because their hands are forbidden area of ??operations. "I want to sit and do my job after passing through the door, and people slowly away from me," he laughs. Now it tends to point in the evening, when Sally is reading. Most of his works are sent to their five children, who live around the world. Each grandchild receives a special room, the children receive the poem If by Rudyard Kipling. Today it is a small seam of his last son, Griffin, representing the mythical creature with the body of a lion's head and eagle wings.

more Casdagli died in 1996, 90. He pushed his son to take your passion? "Towards the end of his life, not so much because we thought we were in competition," says Tony. However, Tony and Sally agreement to be "very excited" that the work of Tony, is exposed with the creations of professional craftsmen and women at the V & A. Casdagli seams born of suffering, but later became a habit, especially fiercely persecuted. "He did it for the challenge to begin with, then he did it because he did," said Tony. "I hated to kill them because it meant I had to do something else. He liked to do something subordinate. It was a great slave. "

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