Posts tagged auschwitz

burnedshoes:

LEFT: Unknown German soldier, RIGHT: © Paweł Sawicki
A new publication by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland shows photographs taken in the extermination camp during World War II alongside pictures of the same locations today.
The wartime photographs were taken by members of the German SS in 1944 and appear in The Auschwitz Album (or Lili Jacob Album), which contains nearly 200 photographs showing the arrival of a transport of Hungarian Jews at the Birkenau camp. The pictures document each stage of processing - from departure from the train and the march to the gas chambers, to the looting of property and the selection of people spared immediate death to work in camp. The only stage not recorded is the extermination in the gas chambers.
The photographer of the present-day pictures, Paweł Sawicki, noted that a detailed analysis of the historical photographs was necessary in order to find the same places and to get to know the working methods of the German author.
The book, Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Place Where You Are Standing, contains 31 wartime pictures, matched to their present-day locations. It has been published in Polish and English versions by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
» find more photomontage art here «

burnedshoes:

LEFT: Unknown German soldier, RIGHT: © Paweł Sawicki

A new publication by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland shows photographs taken in the extermination camp during World War II alongside pictures of the same locations today.

The wartime photographs were taken by members of the German SS in 1944 and appear in The Auschwitz Album (or Lili Jacob Album), which contains nearly 200 photographs showing the arrival of a transport of Hungarian Jews at the Birkenau camp. The pictures document each stage of processing - from departure from the train and the march to the gas chambers, to the looting of property and the selection of people spared immediate death to work in camp. The only stage not recorded is the extermination in the gas chambers.

The photographer of the present-day pictures, Paweł Sawicki, noted that a detailed analysis of the historical photographs was necessary in order to find the same places and to get to know the working methods of the German author.

The book, Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Place Where You Are Standing, contains 31 wartime pictures, matched to their present-day locations. It has been published in Polish and English versions by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

» find more photomontage art here «

Kazimierz Smolen, Director of Auschwitz Memorial Site, Dies at 91

From the New York Times:

Kazimierz Smolen, a survivor of Auschwitz who was director of the memorial site there for 35 years, died on Friday, the 67th anniversary of the concentration camp’s liberation. He was 91.

Mr. Smolen’s death, in Oswiecim, the southern Polish town where Nazi Germany operated Auschwitz and Birkenau, was announced by Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum.

Soviet troops liberated the camp on Jan. 27, 1945. In 2005, the United Nations designated Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Auschwitz-Birkenau became a museum two years afterWorld War II ended, and Mr. Smolen was the director of the museum from 1955 to 1990. He continued to live in Oswiecim after his retirement.

Mr. Sawicki said that the news of Mr. Smolen’s death was announced to Holocaust survivors who had gathered to observe Remembrance Day at the camp, still enclosed in barbed wire, and that they observed a minute of silence in his honor.

Mr. Smolen was born on April 19, 1920, in the southern Polish town of Chorzow Stary. Involved in the anti-Nazi resistance, he was arrested by the Germans in April 1941 and taken to Auschwitz in one of the early mass shipments of prisoners there. He left the camp on the last transport of prisoners evacuated by the Germans on Jan. 18, 1945, nine days before its liberation. He attributed his survival to good health and extreme luck.

He once explained his decision to return to the camp as a way of honoring those who were killed there. “Sometimes when I think about it,” he said, “I feel it may be some kind of sacrifice, some kind of obligation I have for having survived.”

“The exhibition at Auschwitz no longer fulfills its role, as it used to. More or less eight to 10 million people go to such exhibitions around the world today, they cry, they ask why people didn’t react more at the time, why there were so few righteous, then they go home, see genocide on television and don’t move a finger. They don’t ask why they are not righteous themselves.

To me the whole educational system regarding the Holocaust, which really got under way during the 1990s, served its purpose in terms of supplying facts and information. But there is another level of education, a level of awareness about the meaning of those facts. It’s not enough to cry. Empathy is noble, but it’s not enough.”

—  PIOTR CYWINSKI, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland, where officials are revising exhibitions to better educate visitors, numbers of which reached 1.3 million last year.  “If we succeed we will show for the first time the whole array of human choices that people faced at Auschwitz.”

Quoted in “Auschwitz Shifts from Memorializing to Teaching,” by Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times (via tartantambourine)

Maze Prison to become Troubles Museum

I think this sounds like an incredibly exciting, but giant, potentially fraught project. I look forward to following the progress. I think I read about this a couple of years ago, but assumed that nothing had come of it.

Other examples of museums where the buildings are as important (so sites of memory really) as the objects which really struck me are:

1. Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. Important site in the national identity of Ireland and the struggle for Independence due to it’s links to the Easter Uprising and the fact that most major players in the Irish independence movement were housed or executed there. 

2. Auschwitz I in Poland. Each country that was involved was given a barrack and curated their own museum memorial to their nationals and their experiences. The results are fascinating. Some are very abstract, some very dense with information. Each one has a different take on the role of their nation during the Holocaust, Austria’s, for example, starts with an almost apology that whilst the Moscow agreement identified them as ‘the 1st victim of Nazi aggression’ and this idea had persisted for a long time, this view and rejection of any culpability had been reexamined. Israel’s doesn’t end with the liberation of the camp or the end of the war like many others, but with the establishment of the State of Israel. It’s like a museum of attitudes towards the Holocaust and Holocaust remembrance in different nations, as well as a site of memory and inextricably linked to the events it describes.

museumsaregreat:

I love museums in which the building is an important an object as any in the collection.

Hmm. Maybe I should run a best museum building series of posts. What do you think?

Do I have enough followers to be asking them questions like this?