Scrapbookpages Blog

June 13, 2013

New exhibit in Block 27 at Auschwitz has been opened by Netanyahu

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:09 am

One of the followers of my blog made a comment in which he included a link to a news article about a new exhibit that has just gone up in Block 27 at the main Auschwitz camp.

My 1998 photo of Block 27 in the main Auschwitz camp

My 1998 photo of Block 27 in the main Auschwitz camp

Block 27 is located on the first street that intersects the main camp street, as you enter through the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate into the Auschwitz main camp. Turn to your right on this street and go past the camp kitchen to find Block 27.

I saw the displays in Block 27 on my first trip to Auschwitz in 1998.  I honestly don’t remember much about about it, since I saw so many of the displays in the barracks of the main camp that day. It was a bit overwhelming, but I did manage to take a photo of the exterior of Block 27, which is shown above.

This quote is from the news article:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opened a Holocaust exhibition at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp site in southern Poland.

The display in Block 27 places the former camp in the broader context of Nazi Germany’s systematic attempt to wipe out Europe’s Jewish population.

It is being overseen by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust institute.

I have never visited the Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem in Israel, but photos of it, that I have seen, show that it is far more glitzy than your average museum.  I am assuming that the displays in Block 27 will now be more spectacular than the displays in the old version.

Interior of Yad Vashem

Interior of Yad Vashem

This quote is from the BBC news article:

The new permanent Shoah exhibition has replaced the dilapidated one that was installed in 1960s communist-era Poland.

It is an impressive, powerful exhibition. Upon entering a darkened room a prayer can be heard. The next room displays a panorama of slides and video of pre-war Jewish life in Europe. One room is devoted to Nazi ideology, showing video of speeches by Hitler and Goebbels. A map points out the numerous Jewish extermination sites across Europe. One of the most moving displays highlights the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis. An art installation reproduces their pencil drawings made during the Holocaust on stark white walls.

There is also a Book of Names, running to 58 volumes, which aims to list all the names of the six million Holocaust victims. Finally, there is a room for visitors to sit and reflect upon the horrors they have just seen.

Note that the new exhibit “has replaced the dilapidated one that was installed in the 1960s communist-era Poland.”   When I saw Block 27 in 1998, I was told that the displays, that I was now seeing, had been put up AFTER the fall of Communism.  So apparently, this new exhibit is the third exhibit in Block 27, not the second one.

I didn’t take any photos of the interior of Block 27 in 1998, but my impression was that all the displays in the former Auschwitz barracks put heavy emphasis on the Polish resistance movement, and in keeping with this theme, there was a special section on the second floor of Block 27, which was devoted to the Jewish resistance to the Nazis, both inside the camp and on the outside. According to the information given in Block 27 in 1998, Jewish partisans fought with the Polish Home Army, known as the Armia Krajowa or Polish AK, and also organized resistance on their own.

When I was there in 1998, there was a small white memorial stone to the Jews who had been gassed. The stone is shown in my photo of Block 27 above. This was the only memorial stone, that I saw, which was specifically dedicated to the Jews, and did not include the other groups that were targeted by the Nazis.