New Visitor Service Center will be created at the Auschwitz Memorial
The new Visitor Service Center at the Auschwitz Memorial will be established among others thanks to co-financing from the European Union and support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. A call for tender has been launched for the main contractor of the project "Improving the access to cultural resources by extending the visit route of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum with post-camp space of Schlachthaus and Molkerei buildings together with the reconstruction of the cinema hall" which is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
'Due to the constant growing number of visitors at the Memorial it is incredibly important for us to creat a new functional space for them. The new center will consist mainly of a spacious car park and a building whose underground passage will lead visitors to the site of the former camp. The Visitor Service Center itself will be created in historic buildings related to the history of the German Auschwitz camp, and thus become accessible to visitors,' said Andrzej Kacorzyk, deputy director of the Museum, and head of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.
'Part of the rooms will be designated for the needs of the ICEAH, and an information point shall be created devoted to prisoners of the Auschwitz camp. In addition, the project will include the renovation of the Museum's cinema hall. A new introductory film will be presented there, for visitors to see just before the start of the tour,' added Kacorzyk.
The relocation of the Visitor Service Center to the new location will also enable the creation of a new introductory exhibition in the post-camp building, which currently serves as a reception area. It aims to provide visitors with the necessary knowledge about the history of the 1930s, the development of Nazism, propaganda and the totalitarian system, and finally the outbreak of war and German policy in occupied Poland.
The new centre shall be established near the former Auschwitz I camp, on the site of the former ammunition bunkers of the Polish Army barracks before the outbreak of the war. During the occupation, the area belonged to the Auschwitz camp. Initially, it was the site of a gravel pit, and in the years 1941-43, the Germans built a slaughterhouse there that supplied the camp crew with meat and cold cuts, as well as a dairy. After the war, the area was home to a bus depot, which was closed down, and a few years ago, the acquired land became the property of the Auschwitz Museum.
The total cost of the project "Improving the access to cultural resources by extending the visit route of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum with post-camp space of Schlachthaus and Molkerei buildings together with the reconstruction of the cinema hall" is estimated at about PLN 32.6 million, while the funding value from the European Regional Development Fund within Operational Program Infrastructure and Environment for the years 2014-2020 is approx. PLN 18.3 million. The support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage will amount to PLN 3.23 million, which secures 15 % of the personal contribution for eligible expenditure.