Testimony from the darkest cards of our own history. Auschwitz Memorial Report 2016
Polish-English report summarizing the year 2016 in the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum has been published. In his introduction, director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński emphasized that Auschwitz is a timeless and universal warning to contemporary and future generations.
"In times of the recurrence of populism, our distrust and indifference to those in need amplifies; we lose the ability to react to evil, genocidal conflicts, and death; we also observe a growing fear of everything that is different, and images of ideologically organized hatred, contempt, racism and anti-Semitism begin to reoccur," we read. "Europe and the world has never needed a clear testimony resulting from the darkest cards of its own history as much as it does now," - he emphasised.
84 pages of this Polish-English publication contain the information about the most important events held last year in the Museum. The World Youth Day and the visit of Pope Francis on July 29, 2016 occupies here a special place. Within twelve days, at the turn of July and August 2016, more than 155,000 participants of WYD passed through the sites of Auschwitz and Birkenau. For the pilgrims, the encounter with the authenticity of the former camp space was a unique experience and a history lesson, but for the Museum, it was the largest organizational and logistical challenge in its nearly 70-year history.
The report presents also among others the analysis of attendance at the Memorial. In 2016 over 2 million people visited the historical site and over 70 percent of them were guided by nearly 300 educators in almost 20 languages. A lot of attention has also been paid to educational programs and to the activity of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.
"Today and each subsequent day—perhaps as never before—each one of us should think through our own personal lessons from Auschwitz. We all need this transitional ritual," wrote Piotr Cywiński.
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 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 two days before the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz.