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The August Kowalczyk art competition "People did this to other people" has been adjudicated


The August Kowalczyk International Art Competition "People did this to other people", organised by the Kossak Family Artists Youth Cultural Centre No. 1 in Tychy and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, has been summed up.


The works of the competition winners were presented at the headquarters of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust on 24 March, in connection with the observance of the Month of National Remembrance.

'People did this to other people. The title of this competition is very relevant today, unfortunately not in the past tense. Everything associated with this competition is also of great importance because, through your works and efforts, we show that these problems of violence, dehumanisation, the humiliation of others are unfortunately very topical and present in our lives,' said Andrzej Kacorzyk, director of the ICEAH.

'We feel a sense of repetition in relation to what happened here. Once again, we see people escaping to someplace, forced to pack their entire lives into a single suitcase. We also know those who arrive with absolutely nothing, fleeing to save themselves and loved ones,' he added.

In expressing his gratitude, Kacorzyk said: 'Thank you for taking part in this competition, because it takes great effort, emotion and difficulty to paint, draw and express this through a painting. It demonstrates your commitment to a world of values.'

The competition, held since 1993, aims to draw attention to the pupils' expression of their reflections while visiting the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In 2013 the competition was dedicated to its co-founder, Auschwitz survivor August Kowalczyk (no. 6804). August Kowalczyk and other concentration camps survivors, Grzegorz Czempas, Florian Granek, Barbara Puc, Halina Birenbaum, Barbara Kruczkowska, Artur Krasnokucki, Wacław Diakończyk, Jerzy Fijołek, and Jerzy Maria Ulatowski, shared their camp experiences with the competition winners and for many years chaired the competition jury.

'We resolved to open up more to cooperation with the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust on topics related to the present day, alluding to history, and for young people to discuss issues that concern them but still correlate with what history has shown us. We hope that more and more communities will learn about the competition and become interested in participating in it,' said Maciej Gruchlik, director of the Kossak Family Artists Youth Cultural Centre No. 1 in Tychy.

Works created during the previous editions referred to contemporary images of enslavement. To raise the awareness of future generations, attention should be drawn to the need to build respect and treat people equally, regardless of the existing disparities. Accordingly, the current edition of the competition invokes the words of Marian Turski, spoken during the commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, as inspiration for the authors of the works of art.

In his thank-you address to the contestants, the Deputy Mayor of the City of Tychy for Social Affairs, Maciej Gramatyka, said: 'Thank you for your commitment, for making this contest such a success today. We thought that the problem of violence, war, hatred, lack of respect for others was already an abstract issue. We thought it was history. Perhaps, we may have lost sight of the fact that wars and hatred are still part of our everyday lives.'

'I believe that through people like you, your work, and how you reflect on those events, it is possible to pause and think a little more about the here and now. The memory of those events should always be alive,' he added.

Robert Płaczek, a jury member, summed up the competition as follows: 'Several entries to this year's edition of the August Kowalczyk International Fine Arts Competition demonstrated a very high artistic level and, above all, a moving and timeless interpretation of the competition theme.'