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14 June 1940 - new online exhibition of the Auschwitz Memorial


The history of the deportation of the first transport of Poles to the German Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp is presented by a new online exhibition on the Google Cultural Institute "14 June 1940" created by the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.



“14 June 1940 is considered the date of the beginning of KL Auschwitz - the day, the German Nazis deported the first transport of political prisoners to the camp - 728 Poles from the prison in Tarnów. The Tarnów prison was used by the occupants as a collection point, where they detained prisoners from Cracow, Zakopane, Rzeszów, Jarosław, Przemyśl, Sanok, Nowy Sącz, among others,” - we read.

The vast majority of these groups were young people: grammar school pupils, students, soldiers, representatives of various professions: lawyers, teachers, priests, labourers and peasants. They were arrested in the Autumn of 1939 or in the Spring of 1940 while attempting to join the Polish Armed Forces in France and Great Britain, for underground activities or as part of the execution of the Extraordinary Pacification Action against the Polish intelligentsia so called Action AB (in German Außerordentliche Befriedungsaktion – AB) or during street round-ups.

The exhibition tells the history of events from 13 June 1940 - when the prisoners left the prison in Tarnów and 14 June, when they were led through the streets of the city to the train station and transported by train to the Auschwitz camp. 

The exposition also contains all preserved registration photographs of prisoners of the first transport to Auschwitz along with data, which could be established. Out of the 728 prisoners deported on 14 June 1940 from Tarnów to Auschwitz, 298 survived, 272 died, while the fate of 158 is unknown to date.

The authors of the exhibition are Mirosław Obstarczyk and Teresa Zbrzeska, while the graphic design was prepared by Elżbieta Pietruczuk. The exhibition is another exposition prepared by the Auschwitz Memorial as part of the Google Cultural Institute.

The story of the first weeks of the newly-founded German Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz and its first prisoners can also be found in the online lesson “First transport of Poles to Auschwitz”. It presents the history of the transports of Poles from the Cracow District of the General Government: from prisons in Tarnów (14 June 1940), Nowy Wiśnicz (20 June 1940) and Montelupich in Cracow (18 July 1940), as well as a group of 271 prisoners brought to Auschwitz in June and early July, 1940, from the transitional camp in Sosnowiec in the district of Katowice.

Google Cultural Institute provides technology that helps communities to showcase their treasures, archives, places of national heritage and other historical materials online. The goal of this global platform is to increase the scope and amount of material from the world of culture that everyone can virtually explore, which in consequence leads to the democratization of access to culture and its preservation for future generations. Google Cultural Institute already brings together over 600 partners from 60 countries and contains more than 6.2 million museum objects, authorship of over 8 thousand artists.

See all our exhibition at Google Cultural Institute