MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

News

Over 100,000 visitors of the exhibition about Auschwitz in New York. The exhibit extended until August 2020.

ps
29-10-2019

The presentation of the exhibition “Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York has been extended until August 30, 2020. During the first five months the exhibition was visited by 106,000 people including 34,000 students.

 

“I don’t think that there is a more important exhibition presented in New York at the moment. This one about Auschwitz explores the essence of mankind, analyzes the limits of what is human, and asks important questions about our contemporary responsibility. I am glad people will be able to see it there longer,” said Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

'It is an exhibition about our contemporary world – ‘not long ago and not far away’. The language of hatred, the extremist propaganda, populism, xenophobic movements, racism, antisemitism, terror attacking innocent victims, separatism, exclusion, and indifference are constantly growing in strength,’ he added.

"Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away." was conceived of by Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

“We have been profoundly overwhelmed by the phenomenal visitor response in New York—not only by the numbers themselves, but especially by the time visitors spend in the exhibition—on average two hours—and the care, attention and respect they show for this story. Deciding to visit this exhibition is a courageous step. It means confronting oneself with a traumatic, complex and challenging past. And more importantly, it helps us understand more critically our own present,” said Luis Ferreiro, Director of Musealia and the exhibition project.

It was curated by an international panel of experts, including world-renowned scholars Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, and Paul Salmons, in an unprecedented collaboration with historians and curators at the Research Center at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, led by Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz.

The exhibition traces the development of Nazi ideology and tells the transformation of an ordinary Polish town of Oświęcim where during the occupation the German Nazis created the largest concentration camp and extermination center—at which ca. 1 million Jews, and tens of thousands of others, were murdered. Victims included Polish political prisoners, Sinti and Roma, Soviet POWs, and other groups persecuted by Nazi ideology, such as: disabled, asocials, Jehovah's Witnesses or homosexuals. In addition, the exhibition contains artifacts that depict the world of the perpetrators—SS men who created and operated the largest of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camps.

Featuring more than 700 original objects, the New York presentation of the exhibition allow visitors to experience artifacts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum including hundreds of personal items—such as suitcases, eyeglasses, and shoes—that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz. Other artifacts include concrete posts that were part of the fence of the Auschwitz camp; fragments of an original barrack for prisoners from the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp; a desk and other possessions of the first and the longest serving Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; a gas mask used by the SS; Pablo Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner; and an original German-made Model 2 freight wagon used for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage has incorporated into the exhibition many of its rare artifacts from its collection that relay the experience of survivors and liberators who found refuge in the greater New York area. There are also some objects connected with the world of perpetrators, like a copy of ‘Mein Kampf’ and a helmet belonging to the head of the SS Heinrich Himmler.

"The number of adults and school visitors drawn to Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. has been incredible. This exhibition greets its visitors with a clear warning to be vigilant – to not allow this history to repeat and to never presume that it won’t,” noted Bruce C. Ratner, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “In recent years and recent months even, we have seen a surge in antisemitic rhetoric, hate crimes, and a weaponized nationalism both here in the United States and abroad. We are extending this exhibition at our Museum because it offers clear, moral lessons that resonate powerfully today and from which visitors want to learn,” he said.

The exhibition features artifacts and materials on loan from more than 20 institutions and private collections around the world. In addition to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust from where most of the objects come, participating institutions include Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim, the Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg, and the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide in London.

"Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away." arrived in New York City after the exhibition completed a successful run in Madrid, where it was extended two times, drew more than 600,000 visitors, and was one of the most visited exhibitions in Europe last year. More information and tickets: auschwitz.nyc