Italian edition of the “Epitaph”. Director Piotr Cywiński was a guest at the Literary Festival in Mantua


On the occasion of the Italian edition of the book “Epitaph”, the director of the Auschwitz Museum Piotr M.A. Cywiński, PhD was the guest of one of the largest literary festivals in the world, held each year in the Italian city of Mantua. The book was released by the Bollati Boringhieri publishing house under the title “Non c’è una fine. Trasmettere la memoria di Auschwitz” translated by Carlo Greppi.


Photo: Stanisław Cywiński
Photo: Stanisław...
Photo: Stanisław Cywiński
Photo: Stanisław...
Photo: Stanisław Cywiński
Photo: Stanisław...

More than 300 people attended the meet the author session in the auditorium of the Vescovile Seminary Palace. Director Cywiński answered numerous questions related to the functioning of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, the significance of authenticity in times of increasing deficit of Auschwitz survivors, challenges associated with the teaching of Auschwitz in a world increasingly susceptible to various kinds of populism, xenophobia and growing distrust of others.

The five-day Literature Festival in Mantua, in the city of the poet, Vergilius, attracts tens of thousands of participants who may take part in more than 320 literary events. Taking advantage of the trip to Italy, director Cywiński also visited Campo di Fossoli, the POW camp founded by Fascist Italy in 1942, and which from 8 September 1943 was used by the SS as a dulag from where Jews and other prisoners were transported to Auschwitz, among others. The transport of 22 February 1944 to KL Auschwitz also carried among others, Primo Levi, later author of the first and most famous book of eyewitness accounts "Se questo è un uomo" (1947).

In 2016, the Memorial was visited by more than 146 thousand Italian citizens. More visitors were only recorded from Poland, USA and Great Britain. 

"Epitaph“ is a collection of 14 essays by Piotr M.A. Cywiński, which are a reflection centred around Auschwitz and the encounter of XXI century man with the darkest card in the history of humanity, i.e. a methodically planned industrial scale attempt by Nazi Germany to exterminate the Jewish nation.

The text clearly outlines the author's belief that we cannot be indifferent to the topic of Auschwitz. This exceptionally marked Place does not only compel us to confront the death toll of more than a million innocent civilians but also to confront ourselves, and each one of us must personally search for a way to “cope” with it. Piotr Cywiński is constantly searching himself, without avoiding, during his intimate, emotional and philosophical journeys questions that others may perceive as provocative or simply uncomfortable, but which for others may be an inspiration to take action.