MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

News

Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz visited the Auschwitz Memorial

ps
18-08-2015

The Polish Prime Minister Ms. Ewa Kopacz visited the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum on August 17. She laid a wreath at the Death Wall in the courtyard of block 11, paying homage to victims of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp.

 

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz at the Auschwitz Memorial. Photo: Marek Lach
Prime Minister Ewa...
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz at the Auschwitz Memorial. Photo: Marek Lach
Prime Minister Ewa...
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz at the Auschwitz Memorial. Photo: Marek Lach
Prime Minister Ewa...
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz at the Auschwitz Memorial. Photo: Marek Lach
Prime Minister Ewa...

In this courtyard, in the years 1941-1943 SS men executed by shooting several thousand people. Most of them Polish political prisoners, especially leaders and members of secret resistance organizations, involved in helping fugitives and providing contacts with the outside world. Poles brought from outside the camp were also shot here, among them hostages arrested in reprisal for the actions of Polish resistance movement against the occupying German authorities.

During the visit, the Prime Minister also saw the crematorium and gas chamber in the former Auschwitz I camp, the place where in August 1940, the Germans began burning corpses of prisoners, and where less than two years later, they began the mass killing of Jews in Auschwitz, prior to the construction of the gas chambers and crematoria in Birkenau.

"I bow my head in respect to the immense suffering that this place recalls. I assure of the Polish government’s determination to ensure that the memory of the victims of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau stays on for future generations; that this place remains always and everywhere an audible warning. No more war!", wrote Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in the guest book of the Museum.

In March this year, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage decided to provide funding for the creation of a new main exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial. A letter of intent in this regard was signed by the minister Małgorzata Omilanowska and the director of the Museum Piotr M.A. Cywiński. The cost of the project is estimated at approx. 100 million PLN.

"Creation of the exhibition which tells the story of Auschwitz in a modern, accessible as well as wise and balanced way will for sure be a key educational tool in formation of new generation of Poles and enabling them to understand what was the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, what was the Holocaust and what was the sacrifice of Poles imprisoned at this camp. This aim today received needed legal and financial foundation," said in March Prof. Małgorzata Omilanowska, the minister of culture and national heritage.

The new exhibition will be divided into three sections. The first will present the perpetrators, the institutional aspect of the camp as well as the logistics and plans to transform the concentration camp into a centre of direct extermination of Jews in gas chambers. The second section will present the topic of the Holocaust from the perspective of the victims, innocent people sent in the vast majority to death in gas chambers. Personal belongings brought to the camp by Jews deported for death will also be presented here. The third section will be devoted to the prisoners of the concentration camp and will aim at showing the dehumanization of people planned by the Germans.