“We were people like all other people on earth. We had family friends, homes...” – This is the title of a new temporary exhibition at the Auschwitz Memorial. At the exhibition, you can see many items belonging to people, the vast majority of whom were Jews, deported by Germans to Auschwitz.
All the items presented were discovered during preservation works within the former Auschwitz II–Birkenau camp. “Within the grounds of the Memorial Site, we do not maintain regular archaeological research. And this is for few fundamental reasons. Nevertheless, in all conservation works that affect the land, professional archaeological supervision is done. Such is the origin of the presented objects,” said the director of the Museum, Piotr M.A. Cywiński, Ph.D.
The items on display include small objects of everyday use or their fragments as well as buttons, perfume bottles, coins, jewellery, combs, mirrors, keys, bottle corks, as well as pencil sharpeners, chess figures and ceramic figurines. You can see hundreds of items in total at the exhibition.
“When, after so many years, in a place that has become a symbol of the extermination of the Jews, we look at the scraps of belongings of the condemned people, not only do very clearly we see that ordinary, innocent people were murdered based on a systematic solution and administrative decisions of officials of the Third Reich. We also realise - perhaps not for the first time - that the whole time, we are helpless against the simplest, but most important question – ‘why?’”, said Teresa Zbrzeska, the author of the exhibition.
The objects shown at the exhibition are accompanied by black and white archival German photographs taken from the so-called Auschwitz Album depicting Jews deported for extermination as well as quotations from the minutes of the Wannsee Conference. During the meeting on January 20, 1942, representatives of various German ministries and government offices debated about the details of implementation of the "Final Solution", as Nazi Germany determined the annihilation of European Jews.
The exhibition can be viewed in the hall of temporary exhibitions in block 12 until 25 April from 10 am to 2 pm.
See the video
“… Management of the final solution to the Jewish question should be central to the SS Reichsführer and the chief of the German police, regardless of geographical boundaries …”
“…11 million Jews are to be taken into consideration in the implementation of the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe.”
“ … During the practical implementation of the final solution, Europe will be combed from West to East …”
Information for visitors to the Memorial Site
The earth of Auschwitz-Birkenau conceals the ashes of those murdered mixed with a number of objects of everyday life that were looted by the SS. After the war, some of these items went to collections and exhibitions. The purpose of the Museum is not to sterilise the area of Auschwitz-Birkenau, with its dramatic authenticity, containing within itself such objects as those belonging to the victims. We would like to remind that the Museum and all historic items and articles located within form an integral whole that is protected by law and arbitrary removal or excavation of them by the visitors is subjected to legal consequences.