This morning, I read a news article about British students taking a one day tour of Auschwitz. http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/13840919.School_trip_takes_in_the_horrors_of_Auschwitz/
The very last sentence in the article mentioned that the students saw a display of children’s art in Block 27. Before I was able to finish my blog post by putting in the link to the news article, the last sentence was cut out of the news article.
Block 27 at Auschwitz has a display of children’s art
The last time that I visited the main Auschwitz camp, there was no display of children’s art in Block 27. This must be a display that has been put up fairly recently.
Where was this children’s artwork done? At Auschwitz, children under the age of 15 were immediately gassed, except for a few who managed to get past Dr. Mengele who was making the selections, but not paying very strict attention, as he whistled while he worked.
My guess is that these paintings were done at Theresienstadt where the children were given art lessons. I blogged about the children at Theresienstadt at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/the-children-of-the-theresienstadt-ghetto/
According to a book which I purchased, several years ago, at the Auschwitz museum store, there was an art museum established at Auschwitz I in 1941 by Commandant Rudolph Höss at the suggestion of a Polish political prisoner.
Prisoners were encouraged to create works of art, just as at the Majdanek camp. I did not see any of this officially sanctioned prisoner artwork on my visit to the museum in 1998, unlike Majdanek where many drawings, woodcuts and sculpture were prominently displayed. According to the Auschwitz Museum web site, the kitchen building has been remodeled to display the art work done by the prisoners.
Block 27 has special displays about the Jewish prisoners; these displays were put up after the fall of Communism when the plight of the Jews in the camps was given more importance at the museum.
The whole Auschwitz museum puts heavy emphasis on the resistance movement, and in keeping with this theme, there is a special section on the second floor of Block 27, which is devoted to the Jewish resistance to the Nazis, both inside the camp and on the outside. Jewish partisans fought with the Polish Home Army, known as the Armia Krajowa or Polish AK, and also organized resistance on their own.