Conservation of wooden residential and sanitary barracks at the former camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau
Conservation works has been completed on residential barracks number 14, located in the men's quarantine section (BIIa), as part of the project to preserve wooden barracks at the former German Nazi Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp. The next stage of the project is the conservation of the wooden sanitary barracks located at the site. The works are financed by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.
'The conservation programme for the residential barracks included, amongst others, the development of desalination technology for the historic wood, in addition to the usual treatments carried out in buildings of this type. The Museum's conservators entirely developed the project's scope, and work on developing the technology included studies to assess the degree of salinity and effectiveness of the desalination process using different methods. It was the first time such activities were carried out in a wooden building at the Museum,' said project leader Lidia Łabuzek.
The wooden elements of the barrack structure were dismantled and transported to the workshop for conservation works. Concurrently, work was carried out on reinforcing, glueing, filling cavities and repairing structural joints of wooden elements.
'We insulated the foundations and threshing floors and conserved the concrete floors, heating ducts and chimneys, where the secondary layers of historical whitewash were exposed. During the works, we uncovered completely hitherto invisible foundations and relics of a wooden foundation in the western section of the barrack, presumably the remains of partition walls. These elements underwent conservation and were partly designated for display,' said a conservator Maria Urban Dąbek.
The project included complete photogrammetric documentation of the barracks. The works were accompanied by investor and archaeological supervision, and full archaeological documentation was carried out along with the conservation of the discovered objects.
Documentation has already been prepared for the conservation project of the wooden sanitary barrack located in section BIIa. It was also found to exhibit intense chemical wood corrosion. We have just started the next phase of the project, which will see the building subjected to conservation.