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Temporary Exhibition: German Plans for Expanding Auschwitz | Print |
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Friday, 30 December 2011
The plan of the artillery barracks where the Auschwitz I camp was created Documents showing how the Nazi Germans planned to expand the Auschwitz I concentration camp can be viewed in a new temporary exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. “Thanks to the archival documents and plans, the successive stages in the expansion of the first part of the whole Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, the Auschwitz I main camp, are illustrated fully. This was the starting point for the story of the largest German concentration camp for prisoners of various nationalities, as well as the center for the direct extermination of Jew in the gas chamber,” says Teresa Zbrzeska, head of the Museum’s Exhibition Department and author of the scenario for the exhibition.

General plan for developement of the camp from 18 January 1943The first part of the exhibition focuses on plans from 1943 for developing the Auschwitz I camp and the entire infrastructure surrounding it. The Germans planned not only to expand the existing concentration camp, but also to construct a commandant’s office building suitable for official events, a large tract of single-family houses for SS men and their families complete with a kindergarten and school, and even a special grandstand along the nearby Soła river for viewing aquatic events and water sports. The extant architectural drawings also feature plans for special accommodations for SS boss Heinrich Himmler, including the furniture.

The transportation scheme to the city developement plan from 1942 The second part of the exhibition highlights German plans for the city of Oświęcim. In 1943, in conjunction with the construction of the IG Farben plant, architect Hans Stosberg sketched an entirely new layout for the city, which the Germans envisioned as having a population of forty thousand. There were also plans for erecting several outlying housing developments in the vicinity of Oświęcim. The documentation shows what intentions the Germans had, and the degree to which they succeeded in carrying them out.

The documents presented at the exhibition come from the Archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the Oświęcim branch of the State Archives in Katowice. The exhibition is open in the temporary exhibition rooms in block 12 on the grounds of the former Auschwitz camp between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM from Monday through Friday.

Concept and scenario: Teresa Zbrzeska
Exhibition design: Robert Płaczek

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