A huge success of the Auschwitz exhibition in Madrid - over 350,000 visitors. Exhibition has been extended until October 7th.
The continuous high attendance at the monographic exhibition “Auschwitz Not long ago. Not far away” in Madrid has encouraged the organisers to extend its presence in the capital city of Spain to 7 October. The exhibition has been seen by over 350 thousand persons, including more than 55 thousand pupils.
The exhibition was conceived and designed by Musealia and its international curatorial team of experts, including Dr. Michael Berenbaum, Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt and Paul Salmons, in an unprecedented collaboration with the experts from the Auschwitz Memorial: curators of Collections, conservators, archivist and historians from the Research Center headed by Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz.
On average, approximately 1,750 people visit the exhibition daily, and at the weekends and public holidays, the number exceeds 2,500 thousand. On the one hand, we speak of a high turnout success, which is very important and which also confirms our intuitive predictions before the opening. We clearly see how great the power of Auschwitz is today, not just as a historical site but also a unique point of reference and a universal symbol, where fundamental questions are asked regarding memory and our responsibility for today’s world - said the Museum’s director, Piotr M.A. Cywiński, PhD.
- On the other hand, it is also important that visitors often spend 3-4 hours at the exhibition, and that for most of them it is not just a superficial encounter with the history of Auschwitz, but they can actually learn from the complex, multi-faceted scenario. They also come in contact with the subject of the Holocaust, which is the primary carrier of the symbolism of Auschwitz outside Poland. Furthermore, visitors also learn the entire historical context of the development of German Nazism. It is fascinating that the fate of the city of Oświęcim before the war, or figures that have become characteristic icons of memory about Auschwitz in Poland, such as St. Maximilian Kolbe, or Calvary Capt. Witold Pilecki, among others, are almost completely unknown beyond the borders of Poland - he added.
On 2,500 square meters the exhibition displays more than 600 original objects, most of them belonging to the Auschwitz Memorial Collections. The project also involves specific loans from various international institutions, such as Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and different Holocaust centers in North America and Europe, as well as from survivors and private collections.
Visitors can see hundreds of personal items that belonged to people deported to Auschwitz such as suitcases, eyeglasses, shoes or items of everyday use, fragments of an original barracks for prisoners from Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp, the desk of the first Auschwitz commandant Rudolfa Hoess, gas mask used by the SS garrison or an original German-made Model 2 freight wagon, of the type used by the Deutsche Reichsbahn (German National Railway) during World War II for the transport of soldiers, prisoners-of war, and for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland.
These unique items cover the main topics of the history of Auschwitz, as well as all the victim groups in the camp: Jews deported for extermination, Poles, Sinti and Roma and Soviet prisoners of war. In addition, some items will also depict the world of the perpetrators – SS men who created and operated the largest of the German Nazi camps.
“Not long ago. Not far away” is the subtitle of the exhibition, as Auschwitz was part of modern history and the memory of Auschwitz is part of our modern world. Understanding how that place came to be, and what this means for our view of ourselves, is one of the core purposes of this project.