Revision of the way we see the world and ourselves. Auschwitz Memorial Report 2014.
Polish-English report summarizing the year 2014 in the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum has been published. In his introduction, director Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński emphasized the importance of the history of Auschwitz, which finished almost exactly 70 years ago at the time of liberation, for the modern world.
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He wrote: “There is no way to understand postwar Europe and the world without an in-depth confrontation between our idea of mankind and the remains of Auschwitz. Here is the only one of the large extermination sites preserved in its authenticity to this day. Still legible. Demanding revision of the way we see the world and ourselves.”
In this context, Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński also pointed out the particular importance of a visit to the Memorial, the experience which he called a “present-day rite of passage”. “The great question remains: To what degree does this present-day rite of passage lead to moral obligations in the spheres of community life, politics, culture? To what degree does it help us in our everyday human choices? We must each find our own answer. Who are we? How do we want to act? What do we want to do with our lives?”, Director Cywiński wrote.
64 pages of this Polish-English publication contain the information about the most important events held last year in the Museum. The report presents also among others the analysis of attendance at the Memorial, which was last year visited by a record number of 1,534,000 people. What is of particular importance, the decided majority of them were guided by nearly 300 educators whose work is mentored by the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. The report includes also the description of projects carried out by ICEAH both on site as well as in virtual space.
In his text, Director Cywiński emphasized the role of Museum staff who every day look after this historical site in order to enable the visitors to familiarize themselves with the history of Auschwitz. The introduction to the report says that these are the people who “have given of their time, their strength, their emotions, and their hopes to grapple responsibly from day to day with this dreadful Place of Truth. So that it is possible for millions of other people to have their own rite of passage.”
Other subjects mentioned in the report include: preservation works carried out at the Memorial site as well as the actions of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, whose task is to ensure co-financing for such work, new publications, directions of research work, new exhibitions and exhibitions in the course of preparation, voluntary service as well as new items in the Museum Archives and Collections. An important element of the report is also the financial statement and the list of donors who supported the Museum. The texts are accompanied by photographs presenting the most important events in the Memorial, as well as reproductions of artefacts and archival documents.
The report is published four days before the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz.