“Forbidden Art” in America


The highly popular and interesting temporary exhibition “Forbidden Art,” which previously could only be viewed by the visitors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, has arrived in the USA. Here you can see 20 works of art from the collections of the Museum created illegally by the prisoners who risked their lives in the Nazi German concentration camps.

The American premier of the exhibition took place at the Polish Mission in Orchard Lake, Michigan. On this occasion, Vice President of the USA, Joseph Biden, sent a letter to the guests and organisers of the opening. “I am certain that this exhibition will be a memorable event and will be crowned a success. One of the main characteristics of humanism is to preserve the living memory of the events and memories that shape our lives. By making available the works of art created by the prisoners of Auschwitz, we pay tribute to past generations and respectfully appreciate the lessons we are provided, despite the passage of time,” said the Vice President.

Piotr M.A. Cywiński, director of the Auschwitz Museum, who prepared the exhibition, said: “At the very crux of hell, whenever one have the opportunity, people tried to rebuild fragments of a normal world. This is documented by what could substitute as art originating from Auschwitz, and this is a testimony we must not ignore.”

Agnieszka Sieradzka, curator of the exhibition and art historian at the Museum, pointed out that although the work presented is diverse, there is one that connects them: “Each of them is a moving story of a particular human being, created at the risk of life and which is today a testimony, document and personal confession,” she said.

Over the next several months, the exhibition will travel the United States and will be shown, among other, in two public academic centres in the Midwest: Wayne State University in Detroit, and Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, as well as at the prestigious public university of California UCLA. “Forbidden Art” will be accompanied by education and information sessions, workshops and lectures.

Project sponsor is the Polish Victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation and the Polish Mission at Orchard Lake, which is also the main partner in North America. Cooperation in the implementation of the project also included: The Kosciuszko Foundation, the consulates of the Republic of Poland in Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as the university centres in which the exhibition will be shown. The presented works of prisoners were photographed by Michał Dziewulski.

Temporary exhibition "Forbidden Art" in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Photo: Marcin Chumiecki
Opening of the exhibition at the Polish Mission at Orchard Lake. Mrs. Agnieszka Sieradzka speaks.
Opening of the...
Temporary exhibition "Forbidden Art" in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Photo: Marcin Chumiecki