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    Of the camp's 6,500 SS personnel who survived the war, fewer than 50 were ever convicted. | Photo: Reuters

"It's the first time that a major collection of original objects leaves the national Auschwitz-Birkenau museum and leaves Poland for a roving exhibition," Luis Ferreiro, project director, said.

Letters thrown from death trains, tiny children's shoes, a Nazi gas mask, inmates' drawings found in a hidden bottle, a piece of an electric fence, a carriage that was used to carry Jews, gypsies, and prisoners of war to Auschwitz, are among over 600 objects that will soon be on display at a roving exhibition in Madrid, with many of the items leaving the Nazi concentration camp for the first time. 

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The exhibition titled, "Auschwitz: Not far away, not long ago," will recount the horrific conditions at the Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis' biggest concentration and extermination camp that served as a deathbed for hundreds of thousands who were killed in the gas chambers, or died due to disease, starvation and exhaustion. 

"It's very important that Auschwitz gets out into the world," Luis Ferreiro, project director and head of the Spanish company Musealia behind the exhibit told AFP. 

"It's the first time that a major collection of original objects leaves the national Auschwitz-Birkenau museum and leaves Poland for a roving exhibition," Ferreiro added. 

The exhibition that was created in collaboration with a team of experts led by Dutch historian Robert Jan van Pelt, will also shed light on Mengele's experiments, named after the notorious doctor at the camp, Josef Mengele, also known as the "Angel of Death" who is known to have conducted lethal experiments on the inmates, and was also in-charge of sending them to the gas chambers for execution.  

Madrid's Arte Canal center's Fernando Arlandis, also the venue for the exhibit, told AFP, that the organizers wanted to show physical evidence of the mass slaughtering, on camps which housed close to 1.1 million people. 

Part of the exhibition displays a quote from the account of Rudolf Hoess, a senior Auschwitz commander who saw people being killed, and next to the quote is a gas mask which was "used in Auschwitz" alongside a box of Zyklon B, a cyanide-based pesticide used for mass executions.

"I viewed the killings in block II, wearing a gas mask," he wrote in 1946. "The first gassing of people did not really sink into my mind."

"We feel the growing presence of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,"  Polish historian Piotr M. A. Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, told AFP.  

"This exhibition, at this specific moment, can play a crucial role in our schools, in our societies."

Of the camp's 6,500 SS personnel who survived the war, fewer than 50 were ever convicted. One such worker at Auschwitz, Oskar Groening, a 96-year-old convicted Nazi war criminal, will go to prison, the German court ruled Wednesday. 

The exhibition will be on display starting December 1 until June before going global in cities across Europe, America, Asia and Oceania.


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