"Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away" exhibition in Sweden from May 2022
The "Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away" exhibition will open in Swedish city of Malmö in May 2022. The information was announced on 13 October during the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.
Its stay in the city has been made possible by the institutional collaboration of the city itself, the region of Skåne and the involvement of the Forum for Living History as educational partner. The exhibition was jointly produced by the Spanish company Musealia and the Auschwitz–Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland. In Sweden, it will be presented with the local partner Nordic Exhibitions.
‘It is important to make history visible, both to remember and to shape the future. I am glad that the school children of Malmö and Skåne, and everyone else who wants to experience this exhibition, will have the opportunity to do so in Malmö. The exhibition is an important complement to the city's long-term work against antisemitism,’ said the Mayor of Malmö Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh.
Malmö is the only host city for the exhibition in Scandinavia and hundred thousand of visitors are expected to visit the collection during its stay, among them many school pupils. This follows its success in the Spanish capital Madrid and New York and Kansas City in the United States, where it has attracted record numbers of visitors.
‘In Madrid, in New York, and in Kansas City (MO), this exhibition has been visited by almost a million people. This is the power of authenticity, as this exhibition presents hundreds of authentic objects. But this also shows that people want to face the difficult and painful history of Auschwitz,” said Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum’s director, Dr. Piotr M A. Cywiński.
‘We cannot change the past, but we can search for the keys to build our present and common future in memory. We have not freed ourselves from the dangers posed by antisemitism, racism, or xenophobia. We need to know what can happen when human hatred gets out of control,” he added.
The exhibition’s creators will work with local museums in the region to incorporate special objects and stories with local connections to highlight the relevance of the story of Auschwitz to the people of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland.
‘During the war Danish Jews fled across the Öresund to Malmö and survivors from the Holocaust came here with the white buses in 1945. For me as a Malmö resident, it is natural that we welcome and present this exhibition so that we can carry on and deepen our knowledge of the worst genocide in the history of mankind,’ said Roko Kursar, the deputy Mayor of Malmö.
These items will complement the collection of over 700 original objects sourced mainly from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum as well as over 20 museums around the world, including Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
'The exhibition's stay in Sweden marks its return to Europe and its only stop in Scandinavia. The choice of Malmo was not accidental; the commitment of its authorities to bring this complex and traumatic part of our past closer to its fellow citizens has been decisive. We hope the exhibition becomes an educational opportunity for the entire community to learn and understand the history of Auschwitz, and the implications that it contains, for all of us, in the present,' said Musealia CEO and Exhibition Director Luis Ferreiro.
A wide-ranging cultural programme is also planned for the exhibition’s stay in Scandinavia. The activities will include lectures, talks and other events at which survivors and experts will share their perspectives on the history of the Auschwitz camp and the Holocaust to complement the contents of the exhibition and promote the engagement of the Swedish public. Thousands of school pupils are also invited to participate in the education programme, with free visits to the exhibition.
‘Unfortunately, we see antisemitism increasing throughout Europe, not least in Sweden and Malmö. I am very happy that Region Skåne has managed to get this extremely important exhibition, and to Malmö in particular. It addresses problems we see locally - but is also a natural continuation of the commitment Sweden is taking on in conjunction with the large Holocaust conference that is taking place in Malmö,’ said Carl Johan Sonesson (m), First Governor of Region Skåne.
"Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away" was curated by an international panel of experts, including world-renowned scholars Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, and Paul Salmons, in an unprecedented collaboration with historians and curators at the Research Center at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, led by Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz.
The exhibition traces the development of Nazi ideology and tells the transformation of an ordinary Polish town of Oświęcim where during the occupation, the German Nazis created the largest concentration camp and extermination center—at which ca. 1 million Jews, and tens of thousands of others, were murdered.
Victims included Polish political prisoners, Sinti and Roma, Soviet POWs, and other groups persecuted by Nazi ideology, such as: disabled, asocials, Jehovah's Witnesses or homosexuals. In addition, the exhibition contains artifacts that depict the world of the perpetrators—SS men who created and operated the largest of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camps.
‘We look forward to being a part of this project and how we can contribute in the best possible way. It is a great opportunity for young people in Sweden to get a chance to take part in a very well-thought-of exhibition about the Holocaust. The Living History Forum has extensive experience in developing educational resources for young people who want to learn more about the Holocaust, so we have a lot to contribute’, said Caroline Källner, temporary superintendent at The Living History Forum
The visitors will be able to see hundreds of artifacts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum including personal items—such as suitcases, eyeglasses, and shoes—that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz. Other artifacts include concrete posts that were part of the fence of the Auschwitz camp; fragments of an original barrack for prisoners from the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp; a desk and other possessions of the first and the longest serving Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; a gas mask used by the SS; Pablo Picasso's Lithograph of Prisoner.
The exhibition received the Grand Prix of the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra 2020 Award, Europe's most prestigious heritage prize. The project also came second in the Public Choice Award.