MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

2000-2009

2000

  • Publication of Memorial Book: Transports of Poles from Warsaw to Auschwitz, 1940-1945. Publication of Memorial Books on transports of Poles to Auschwitz from other regions continues in coming years.
  •  Exhibition at the Frankfurt International Book Fair.
  •  First prize in the Museum Event of the Year awards for the German version of the five-volume study Auschwitz 1940-1945. Studien zur Geschichte des Konzentrazions und Vernichtungslager Auschwitz, and third prize for the educational program You Are Here to Bear Witness.
  •  Transfer to the Museum of wall paintings done in 1944 by an unknown prisoner at the Auschwitz sub-camp at the cement factory in Goleszów.
  •  Contest for art-school students for a poster on the theme Remembrance of Auschwitz. Some entries exhibited after award ceremony.

2001

  • Opening of the permanent exhibition on The Destruction of the European Roma.
  • Conference on Children in Auschwitz for teachers of Polish and history.
  • Museum open house for Oświęcim residents.
  • Opening of the permanent exhibition The History and Functions of the Central Camp Sauna. Before They Departed—Photographs Found at Auschwitz.
  • Preparation of the exhibition A Historical and Commemorative Description of the Former Grounds of Auschwitz I Concentration Camp completed. 

2002

  • Second Prize in the Museum Event of the Year awards for the exhibition at the Central Camp Sauna, and honorable mention for the Digital Archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim project.
  • Opening of the permanent exhibitions Prisoners from the Czech Lands in Auschwitz and The Tragedy of the Slovakian Jews.
  • Completion of work on the digital file catalogue based on the archival records of the hospital at the Auschwitz I camp.

2003

  • Children of the Holocaust Speak—an educational session for post-intermediate students and teachers.
  • Internet version of the Auschwitz Death Book goes online.
  • Seminar for teachers on Auschwitz: History and Symbolism.
  • Protecting for the Future, an international conservation conference under the aegis as the Ministry of Culture.
  • Opening of one of the most modern conservation studios in Poland.
  • Conservation of several thousand pairs of shoes from the Museum collections, by students specializing in monument preservation at an Oświęcim secondary school, supervised by Museum conservation specialists.
  • Unveiling of plaque in the Judeo-Hispanic language at the Monument to the Victims of Auschwitz.
  • General academic conference on The Fate of the Sinti and Roma in Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Gypsy family camp.  

2004

  • Amidst a Nightmare of Crime, a commemorative educational session for teachers and educators to mark the 60th anniversary of the Sonderkommando mutiny.
  • Start of a multi-stage project to preserve the ruins of the gas chambers at the Auschwitz II site.
  • First prize at the Museum Event of the Year awards for the album We Should Never Forget Them—The Youngest Victims of Auschwitz.
  • Opening of the permanent exhibition The Citizen Betrayed: A Remembrance of Holocaust Victims from Hungary.
  • Gravel Pit site and the adjacent “Old Theater” building transferred to Museum ownership as the future site of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.

2005

  • Educational sessions on People of Good Will on aid to Auschwitz prisoners by Oświęcim area civilians and Soviet POWs in Auschwitz.
  • 25th anniversary of cooperation between the Museum and the Forestry and Ecological School Complex at Brynek, whose students work on landscaping at the Museum each year.
  • Metal stretcher used to load victims’ corpses into crematorium furnaces unearthed near the ruins of crematorium and gas chamber V.
  • International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust officially founded at the Museum.
  • Opening of the permanent exhibitions Deportation from France to Auschwitz March 27, 1942-January 27, 1945 and The Persecution and Deportation of Jews from Holland to Auschwitz in the Years 1940-1945.
  • Commemorative-informational tablet erected at the site of the first provisional gas chamber.
  • Commemoration of the “Judenrampe” where deportees to Auschwitz arrived from 1942-1944 and selection of Jews took place.
  • President of Poland awards orders and decorations to former prisoners and Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum staff.        

2006

  • Second European seminar for teachers organized jointly with the Pedagogical Academy in Cracow.
  • Historical contest for young people from the Land of Oświęcim, entries exhibited after award ceremony.
  • Visit by Benedict XVI, head of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • First prize at Museum Event of the Year awards for the founding of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust and honorable mention for the conservation of children‘s shoes.
  • Opening of the permanent exhibition Belgium 1940-1944: The Occupation and Deportation to Auschwitz.
  • Objects discovered during the preservation work on the ruins of gas chamber and crematorium II at the Birkenau site include covers for the gas chamber ventilation openings, a shower head, and an absorbent gas mask tip.
  • Names of Poles deported to Auschwitz go online at the Museum website. This information is in addition to the already available names of Jewish and non-Jewish prisoners from the Death Book and the names from the so-called Gypsy Book.
  • Educational conference on The Expulsion of Polish Civilians as a Consequence of the Creation of the Camp Interest Zone.

2007

  • Museum acquires 87 unique black-and-white photographs of the Auschwitz camp taken after liberation by an ex-prisoner in the fall of 1945 and early 1946.
  • First plans for the new main exhibition presented at a session of the International Auschwitz Council.
  • Auschwitz: Remembering for the Future, a set of educational dossiers prepared by the Polish Institute for National Remembrance in close cooperation with the Museum, reach secondary schools.
  • Educational project Withered Roses wins honorable mention in the Educational Programs and Promotion category at the Sybilla 2006 Museum Event of the Year awards.
  • Contract signed with officials from the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the financing of the conservation of documents from the Auschwitz SS Hygiene Institute.
  • International conference Remembrance-Awareness-Responsibility marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
  • Museum information technology specialists install a local optical fiber network for the entire Museum.
  • European seminar on Auschwitz: History, Remembrance, and Education—Teaching the Holocaust at an Authentic Memorial Site. 

2008

  • New audio system has been introduced for visitors. This new solution mutes the site of the Memorial and facilitates the contact with the guide.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Memorial.
  • The first edition of the Museum’s monthly magazine ''Oświecim – People – History – Culture'' was published.
  • The seminar on the prevention of genocide jointly organized by the Museum and the Raphael Lemkin Centre. Representatives from over dozen countries attended.
  • Unveiling of plaque in Slovenian on the Monument to the Victims at the former Birkenau camp.
  • Preservation works of the roof of the historic camp building began with financial support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
  • European seminar ''Auschwitz – the memory for the future. Education about the Holocaust in an authentic memorial'' for teachers and methodologists from the Council of Europe Member States and experts.
  • Preservation works of gas chambers number 2 and 3 on the former camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau site.
  • Publication of a guide to the Memorial in Braille.
  • Bus depot base purchase agreement has been signed. In the coming years a modern visitors center for groups and individual visitors will be created there.
  • International Auschwitz Council accepted the concept of creating the Perpetual Capital for the preservation work.
  • A new website of the Auschwitz Memorial was launched.

2009

  • Auschwitz–Birkenau Foundation has been created. The purpose of the Foundation is to build a Perpetual Capital for preserving the site of the Memorial.
  • European subsidies from Operational Programme ''Infrastructure and Environment'' give possibility to preserve two prisoners blocks in Auschwitz I and five wooden barrack at Birkenau. The total grant reaches 19 million pln (ap. 4.6 mln €).
  • The President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil visited the Memorial.
  • The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Gordon Brown with his wife paid a visit to the Auschwitz Memorial.
  • The letter written by former prisoners of Auschwitz discovered in the renovated building of the higher vocational school in Oświęcim.
  • Special message regarding the protection of integrity and authenticity of the Memorials was included in the final declaration of the conference dedicated to the issues of property plundered during the Holocaust and World War II with the participation of delegations of 46 countries.
  • European Parliament President prof. Jerzy Buzek and his predecessor prof. Hans-Gert Pottering visited the Memorial.
  • A historical train from Germany wagon was placed on the ramp at Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
  • Germany announced that it would donated 60 mln euro to the Perpetual Capital of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.
  • The historical inscription ''Arbeit macht frei'' was stolen. Reward promised by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the effective investigation of the Polish police led to the recovery of the stolen inscription after a few days.