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Cooperation between the Auschwitz Museum and the International Memorial from Russia in the field of education


The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and the International Memorial from Russia will cooperate in the fields of education and the culture of remembrance, as well as in the development of research on the history associated mainly with the fate of Soviet prisoners of war in Auschwitz. A special agreement was signed by the Museum director Dr. Piotr Cywiński and Memorial director Elena Zhemkova.


Agreement signed by...

Memorial is a Russian association established in 1989, dedicated to historical research and the promotion of knowledge about the victims of Soviet repression, including the Stalinist period, as well as the protection of human rights in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

'For over 30 years, the community of Memorial has demonstrated the quality of its archival and historical work. That is why we have decided to strengthen our cooperation. I hope that in this environment, or through it, we will find someone in the near future who will be an appropriate ambassador of the Memorial in Russia acting within the framework of our diplomacy of remembrance,' said Auschwitz Museum Director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński. 

'I place great hope in cooperation with Memorial, for the reason that Red Army soldiers constituted the fourth-largest group of victims in the German Auschwitz camp,' added director Cywiński.

'The International Memorial and Auschwitz Museum are institutions engaged in preserving the memory of state violence against the human. We remember the tragic past so that it will never happen again. We are very glad that our work joint. It is very important for us that our efforts will be united,' said Elena Zhemkova. 

According to the agreement, the Museum and International Memorial will cooperate, among other things, in organizing educational projects, conferences and meetings on the methodology and culture of remembrance, as well as on the fate of Soviet POWs in Auschwitz, exchanging scientific and academic materials and exhibitions, and the residency of volunteers designated by International Memorial at the Auschwitz Museum.

Germans' treatment of Soviet POWs constituted a violation of any international law conventions: they were forced to long marches to transit camps, or transported on train for many days without food or beverages. In POW camps, they were kept for a long time without any shelter, in catastrophic sanitary conditions, receiving inadequate amounts of food which resulted in chronic hunger. Such treatment resulted in critical physical condition of the majority of the prisoners, diseases, and consequently high mortality in the camps. By early December 1941, around 1.4 million of Soviet POW lost their lives.

The Germans deported at least 15,000 Soviet POWs to Auschwitz. Prisoners of war were a unique group of victims in the camp, experiencing mass shootings as well as mass torture. They were the first to have numbers tattooed on their bodies in place of their names, and they were also victims of the first attempts at mass killing with the poison gas Zyklon B. Our online lesson tells about their fate.

Altogether 11,964 prisoners of war were registered in KL Auschwitz, and there was moreover an estimate of 3,000 soldiers of the Red Army who were brought to the camp and killed without being entered into the registers. Thus, altogether, around 15,000 of captive Red Army soldiers were sent to the camp. Accounting for the few hundred who were removed from the camp and the several dozen who escaped, the estimated number of Soviet prisoners of war who died or were killed in Auschwitz exceeded 14,000.