"Sport and Sportspeople in KL Auschwitz" - new travelling exhibition of the Memorial available for loan
"Sport and Sportspeople in KL Auschwitz" is a new travelling exhibition that can be loaned free of charge from the Auschwitz Memorial. The exhibition, which consists of 25 panels, tells the story of sport in the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz and of the fate of sportsmen deported to the camp.
The exhibition is available in two language versions: English and Polish. There is also a possibility of translating it into other languages.
The term "sport" in KL Auschwitz was distorted by using it to refer to the exhausting exercises combined with the drill and singing applied on a mass scale. This form of sport, referred to after the war as pseudo-sport or quasi-sport, was usually a way of enforcing discipline and punishing prisoners.
However, sportspeople of all disciplines, representatives of various nationalities including the most prominent ones were among the people deported to KL Auschwitz. By presenting the profiles of chosen athletes, the exhibition explores the reasons for their deportation and their fate in Auschwitz.
'Sport in the camp was not treated as a competition, but more as a way of spending time off work. These sports existed regardless of the extermination that was perpetrated here,' said Renata Koszyk, the curator of the exhibition.
In KL Auschwitz, only a few prisoners had the chance to practice sports, which were not common or generally accessible. The exhibition presents the sports disciplines that were practiced in the camp, descriptions of competitions, boxing fights, wrestling, and soccer matches, drawn from postwar testimonies. They are supplemented by images of extant artifacts, such as boxing glove, chess pieces and risers, drawings, sculptures, letters, and secret messages - both those made by prisoners during camp existence as well as post war ones.
'In addition to boxing and wrestling, camp sports were also team sports, especially football, volleyball and basketball. Camp sports also include athletics. Mental sports were also popular among prisoners, particularly chess, but also card games,' added Renata Koszyk.
The role of sport in the camp and its influence on the prisoner community is also a subject of the exhibition.
Traveling exhibitions are available free of charge. The lender covers only the costs of transport, assembly/disassembly of the exhibition, possible presentation costs and customs fees. Insurance of the exhibition during transport and presentation is not obligatory.
Enquiries should be provided by email to:
„Sport and sportspeople in KL Auschwitz”
Scenario and choice of materials: Renata Koszyk
Project and graphic design: Aleksandra Mausolf
English version: Aleksandra Mausolf
Consultations: Dr. Wanda Witek-Malicka