Exhibition: Architecture of Murder: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Blueprints at Yad Vashem
January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day - a Commemoration recently established by the United Nations to be celebrated on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops in 1945. In fact, when the Red Army arrived there was little to liberate. The German had moved west forcing a deadly evacuation of Jewish prisoners by forced march. Only the very sick and the dead remained to greet the advancing Russians (see the final entries in Primo Levi's famed memoir Se Questo e un Uomo (Survival in Auschwitz).
On Monday, January 25th, as part of a symposium for the diplomatic corps in Israel, a new exhibition, Architecture of Murder: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Blueprints will open at Yad Vashem. On display will be original architectural blueprints of Auschwitz-Birkenau, given to Yad Vashem for safekeeping last summer by the German newspaper Bild, For more on today's event click here.
For a video presentation about the architectural and engineering plans and drawings click here.
According to the website of Yad Vashem:
“The original plans detailing the construction of Auschwitz, constitute graphic illustration of the Germans’ systematic effort to carry out the ‘Final Solution.’,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem. “We have chosen to display them to the public to illustrate how seemingly conventional activities of ordinary people brought about the construction of the largest murder site of European Jewry.”
Marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, the opening will take place as part of a special symposium in the presence of dozens of members of the diplomatic corps - representing some 80 countries - and Auschwitz survivors, and with the participation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister, Minister of Education Gideon Saar, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Holocaust survivor Ruth Bondy, Prof. Shlomo Avineri, Prof. Moshe Halbertal, Bild Editor Kai Diekmann, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Director Dr. Piotr Cywinski, Historical Advisor to the exhibition Dr. Daniel Uziel, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev will address the participants.
The exhibition was curated by Director the Museums Division Yehudit Inbar. Along with the blueprints, the photo album of the construction of Auschwitz will be exhibited for the first time. In addition, an aerial photo of Auschwitz from the RAF, the Vrba-Wetzler Report (written by two Jewish escapees from Auschwitz in 1944), and quotes from SS men and Jewish prisoners describing the site and its murderous purposes. A copy of the poem “Death Fugue” by Paul Celan will also be displayed.
The exhibition is funded thanks to the generous support of the Greg Rosshandler and Harry Perelberg families, Australia.
A traveling version of the exhibition will open at the United Nations in New York in advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The exhibition will open in the presence of Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev, Chairman of the American Society for Yad Vashem Eli Zbrowoski, and curator of the exhibition and Director of the Yad Vashem Museums Division Yehudit Inbar.