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Auschwitz: history, place and people - English-language academic textbook


English-language academic textbook "Auschwitz: History, Place and People. An Academic Guide to the Camp Complex" is the result of the recently completed project "Witnessing Auschwitz. Living here" carried out by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Victims Memorial Foundation, the Auschwitz Memorial and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.



The publication contains a dozen articles written by historians from the Auschwitz Museum's Research Center, Publications and Educational Projects, and academics from the UBC. They address the most critical issues in the history of the German Nazi Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp and the contemporary challenges of the memory of Auschwitz.

"The book focuses on history, people, and place. It presents research conducted over recent decades by historians of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, while at the same time demonstrating the importance of new historical studies and multidisciplinary contemporary approaches," reads the introduction written by Professor Bożena Karwowska of the UBC.

'The project is, on the one hand, the result of many years of cooperation between the Museum and the University of Vancouver, and on the other, an expression of the excellent cooperation between the researchers and educators of the Auschwitz Memorial and the academics and students of UBC. The textbook and website created as part of the project will, in my opinion, be an appropriate source of knowledge about Auschwitz tailored to the needs of audiences in North America and other English-speaking countries,' said Andrzej Kacorzyk, director of the ICEAH.

'The book’s message goes beyond providing its audiences with historical facts. It fosters civic engagement with topic of the Holocaust and its wider implications. After all, for many Auschwitz reminds not only a memorial and a symbol, but also a shorthand for genocide,' wrote Professor Grażyna J. Kozaczka, former President of the Polish-American Historical Society, in a review of the book.

Topics covered in the publication include, among others, the principles of Nazi racial policy in occupied Poland, Polish political prisoners in Auschwitz, the camp's role in the extermination of the Jews, the fate of Soviet prisoners of war, the SS camp garrison, the exploitation of workforce as well as the expansion of the Auschwitz camp system, and the plundering of Jewish property. In addition to historical topics, the book includes articles on issues such as the importance of new historical research on Auschwitz, the problem of disseminating survivor testimony in historical research, and the educational philosophy of the ICEAH.

The publication, prepared in paper form and as a pdf for free downloading, is accompanied by a website that contains additional educational materials on the history of Auschwitz, developed mainly by UBC students. They worked with historians and educators at the Auschwitz Memorial during the "Witnessing Auschwitz" seminars organised for many years by the ICEAH in cooperation with the UBC.

The project "Witnessing Auschwitz. Living here" was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland in the competition "Public Diplomacy 2021."

Contents :

- The Principles of Nazi Racial Policies in Occupied Poland
- Polish “Political Prisoners” in Auschwitz: 1940-1945
- The Role of Auschwitz in the Holocaust
- The Sonderkommando in Auschwitz and the Revolt of October 7, 1944
- The Fate of Soviet POWs in Auschwitz
- Women in Auschwitz
- SS Personnel in Auschwitz
- Medical Experiments in Auschwitz
- The Complexity of the Category “Bystander”: The City of Oświęcim and Beyond
- The Exploitation of Labor and the Expansion of the Auschwitz Camp
- Plundering of Jewish Property in Auschwitz
- Evacuation, Liquidation, Liberation
- Surroundings of Auschwitz I: The Industrial Zone in Images
- Space and Narration of the Auschwitz Camp Complex
- Setting the Record Straight: The Importance of New Historical Research about Auschwitz
- Publishing: Preserving the Voices of Victims and Disseminating Historical Research
- The Teaching Philosophy of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust: A Historical Perspective
- Memory in Place: A Memoir and Meditation on Family Histories of Displacement and Migration

Files to download

The publication for download