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History and the Present

Education – History and the Present

From the beginning of the existence of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim educational work and informing people was treated as a priority; however, in the first post-war years this was mainly to hundreds of thousands of pilgrims under the care of a Museum guide.

Many years’ experience in this area has provided a firm basis for further development, improved educational activities within the framework of the International Center for Education Auschwitz and the Holocaust.

During more than 60 years of its existence, the Museum has created a solid base to enable the pursuit of such activities. The artifacts stored and collected here are not only typical museum exponents, but they are also items belonging to the murdered that were found after the liberation, including personal mementos left behind by deportees. Moreover, the Museum has in its possession art created in the camp by prisoners during its operation, and also, art created after the war by former prisoners and other artists.

Of particular importance are archival documents, which are the source of information about prisoners and the victims of Auschwitz for their next of kin, a base for studies and research work of scholars and students of many specialties. There is also a well-stocked library, with 30 thousand volumes in various languages, as well as a multimedia library that is available to anyone interested in the subject of Auschwitz and the Holocaust. The foundation of educational work is research conducted for decades by the Museum along with the publications dedicated to the history of Auschwitz.

Both permanent and temporary exhibits are created to not only inform, but to bring the visitor closer to the subject of different national groups, whose tragic fates were tied to Auschwitz, and also to have an emotional impact by gaining knowledge about the tragedy on the individual and social level.

The Center builds on the educational work done by the Museum up to this time, in close cooperation with various departments and adjusts its work according to contemporary needs and social requirements that arise in the 21st century.