Exhibition on the history of the Auschwitz camp opened in Guernica, Spain
The exhibition "German Nazi Death Camp Konzentrationslager Auschwitz" opened on October 1 in Guernica, Spain, in the historical interior of the anti-aircraft shelter. The exhibition, prepared by the Museum and translated into Spanish, presents all the major issues of the history of Auschwitz, as well as the origins of the Nazi movement and the specific elements of the German terror system introduced in occupied Poland. The project in Spain is implemented in cooperation with Asociación Pro Tradición y Cultura Europea.
The official opening of the exhibition was attended by the Mayor of Guernica, Jose Maria Gorroño Etxebarrieta, the Polish Ambassador to Spain, Marzena Adamczyk, the President of APTCE Enrique de Villamor y Soraluce, and the Director of the Auschwitz Museum, Piotr M. A. Cywiński PhD, as well as representatives of the local authorities of Guernica and Oświęcim, among others.
- We welcome this exhibition with great gratitude because it is an expression of a mutual commemoration of Nazi crimes. It is also an expression of the respect Guernica wishes to express to the victims of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp who died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Furthermore, the project is an important opposition to any intentions to renew and return to such practices in present-day Europe. The voices of hatred cannot return to today's reality," said the Mayor of Guernica, Jose Maria Gorroño Etxebarrieta.
The President of ACTPE, Enrique de Villamor, said that the entire educational project is intended primarily for young people, especially those who cannot visit the Auschwitz Memorial: - We very much hope that this exhibition will not only help visitors to learn about the history of Auschwitz but also to reflect on it. I hope that this reflection will be further extended. Acts of terror, hatred or barbarity, such as the bombing of Guernica or the establishment of the Auschwitz camp, must not recur.
- In today's unpredictable world and where problems such as racism (various forms), anti-Semitism, and populism are on the increase, our inability to react in times of evil is extremely disturbing," said Auschwitz Museum Director Piotr M. A. Cywiński, PhD.
- I hope that this exhibition will not only be an exhibition for young people, because this often repeated wish for young people to draw conclusions from the history of Auschwitz is also a psychological attempt to shift the responsibility from our adult, mature group of society that currently decides about the future of this world," Director Cywiński added.
- Guernica was the first town so brutally and senselessly attacked by the German air force, two years before the outbreak of World War II. The city was practically swept from the surface of the Earth - as was the case several years later with Warsaw. The Spaniards did not take part in the Second World War, but war itself is a universal experience: with victims, innocent people suffering, terror and violence," said Ambassador Marzena Adamczyk.
- The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp is the most tragic and nightmarish symbol of the Second World War. It contains something akin to the essence of evil. Therefore, I will always support the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, which is the leader in the sphere of memory policy and showing what we must prevent from happening," she added.
The exhibition is presented in the anti-aircraft shelter building dating back to 1936, located in the former Astra ammunition factory. Thirty exhibition boards were placed inside, explaining the reasons for setting up the camp as a tool of terror against the Polish population and the political context of its functioning. The exhibition explains how the camp system developed and why it was transformed into a mass extermination centre for Jews.
It also describes the living conditions of camp prisoners, starvation, slave labour, terror, punishment system and execution. Separate boards deal with the fate of women and children, the extermination of the Roma, or the tragedy of Soviet prisoners of war. The exhibition also tells the history of the resistance movement in Auschwitz, escapes, as well as the support given to prisoners by the residents of the Oświęcim Land.
The exhibition is presented in Spanish. An audio guide is also being prepared in Basque, Catalan, French and English. The project partner Asociación Pro Tradición y Cultura Europea assumes that copies of the exhibition will be shown simultaneously in several places in Spain. The exhibition is accompanied by a program of workshops for schoolchildren, developed in cooperation with the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.