Conservation of the five barracks at the Birkenau camp completed
A three-year project entitled, "The Conservation of Five Wooden Barracks at the Former Auschwitz II–Birkenau Concentration Camp" has come to an end. This was the first such a large and complex conservation project carried out by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum which was financed from the founds of the EU.
As a result of the conservators work the barracks will be available to visitors of the Memorial Site. “The main objective of the project was to preserve the authenticity of the barracks which testify to the tragic history of Auschwitz. The selection of the prisoner barracks for maintenance was primarily dictated by their state of preservation,” says Rafał Pióro, deputy director of the Museum.
The three-year project resulted in new conservational and organisational experiences. Protection of the historic barracks required the creation of an interdisciplinary team. The work required the implementation of a number of technical solutions taking into account the primacy of the principles of conservation, in particular: the principle of respect for the historical substance, the principle of minimum intervention, the principle of reversibility methods and means used, as well as the principle of distinctiveness of the primary and secondary elements.
Małgorzata Omilanowska, Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage, who was present at the conference summarizing the project, said on the behalf of the Ministry: "Engaging in such projects is an honor and a duty. We are proud that we have in the Museum the people so involved in this project that was prepared and carried out so well by them," she stressed.
“The mission of preserving the remains of Auschwitz, which began in 1947 by the ex-prisoners, has been continued by the next generation of specialists-conservators, and today — after more than 60 years — is one of the most important and the most difficult challenges facing the Memorial Site,” stressed Piotr M.A. Cywiński, director of the Museum.
Jacek Chrząszczewski, Deputy Conservator of Monuments in Cracow, drew attention to conservation concerns in order to preserve for the future generations not only the form but also the substance of the original objects: "We are aware of the great effort that Musuem's conservators have done during these three years of work. They used the well-preserved archival material and German instructions. This is a very big success," stressed.
The solutions developed during the course of the project implementation are paving the way in an area that has been little examined, which is the maintenance of monuments of martyrdom. The experience gathered as a result of the project is already being utilised to prepare for further maintenance work at the Auschwitz Memorial Site.
The project was implemented by means of the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of Priority XI "Culture and Cultural Heritage" of the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme. Its implementation was also made possible by financing from the budget of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and utilisation of own appropriations from the Museum.