Wednesday July 2017
PAWEL SAWICKI/AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU STATE MUSEUM
Belongings, like these glasses, from some of the many who died in Auschwitz will be on display
The first travelling exhibition of objects from Auschwitz is set to go on tour in the hope it will become “a warning cry” to future generations.
The exhibition is due to visit 14 cities in the US and Europe, and will be made up of more than 600 objects from the Nazi German camp in Poland.
It will include a freight wagon, like the ones that transported people to the camp during World War Two.
More than a million people, mostly Jews, were killed at Auschwitz.
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The items on show are not just the belongings of the victims – which also included Poles, Sinti and Roma and Soviet prisoners of war – but also items from those who ran the camp, the German SS.
The exhibition, which is entitled “Not long ago. Not far away”, will have its first stop in Madrid, Spain, before the end of the year.
It says it aims to reach people who may not be able to make it to the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, and act as a reminder of what happened during the Holocaust.
“Today, the world is moving in uncertain directions,” Dr Piotr Cywiński, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, said.
“That is why we need to rely more and more on the strong foundations of our memory. Auschwitz and the tragedy of the Shoah [Hebrew for Holocaust] are part of those foundations, which cannot be bypassed in creating a new face of the world.”
He added: “Nothing can replace a visit to the authentic site of the biggest crime of the 20th Century, but this exhibition, which people in many countries will have the opportunity to see, can become a great warning cry for us all against building the future on hatred, racism, anti-Semitism and bottomless contempt for another human being.”
However, the museum has also been at pains to play down fears of trying to profit from the exhibition, which is being organised with the Spanish company, Musealia.
Luis Ferreiro, the company’s director, told the New York Times the exhibition had cost $1.5m (£1.15m) so far, acknowledging they needed to “earn an income to sustain ourselves and keep the enterprise going”.
“Our goal is to focus on larger social goals such as enlightenment and education,” he added.