Winners of the competition for the new Polish exhibition at the Auschwitz Memorial
The results of the competition for the artistic and architectural-construction concept of the exhibition entitled “Poles in KL Auschwitz. Residents of the Oświęcim region during World War II” were announced. The exhibit in the foreseeable future will be located in Block 15 on the site of the former Auschwitz I camp.
The first prize of PLN 25,000 and an invitation to negotiate a sole-source contract was awarded to the project submitted by Adventure Sławomir Mazan, Jarema Szandar Sp. J., Koza Nostra Studio sp. z.o.o. and Biuro Usług Architektonicznych "Profil" sp. z o.o.
The Competition Jury, chaired by Prof. Rafał Ziembiński of the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts, particularly appreciated “the artistic and visual methods of expression applied in creating a coherent composition of the exposition” and “the appropriate combination of the scenario’s content with the emotional impact on future visitors through the proposed architectural, artistic and exhibition means, i.e., the creation of an appropriate mood of the interior through the use of light and colour and a consistent narrative.”
The second prize of PLN 15,000 was awarded to the project submitted by the Monuments Conservation Studio “Arkona” Spółka z o.o.
'The works submitted for the competition were of a high standard, which certainly made the jury’s task easier. It should be noted that the winning entry received overwhelming recognition from all participants in the debates,' said Prof. Rafał Ziembiński.
'The winning work was acknowledged for its clear and legible spatial concept, and the definition of precise assumptions - both in terms of the architectural design and exhibition tools used, and the consistency of the idea of guiding the viewer through the exhibition in a manner that creates the appropriate mood and emotions. The substantive and visual values of the winning entry lead me to believe that the new Polish exhibition at the Auschwitz Memorial will be a significant and valuable experience for visitors,' underlined Prof. Ziembiński.
'The submitted concepts represented a high level of architectural and interior design expertise; hence the final selection of the winner was made through a detailed discussion among the judges, during which we deliberated on various aspects of the proposed solutions: spatial, artistic, functional, technical, and conservation. I am confident that we have chosen an excellent work, and the resulting documentation - after further necessary arrangements with the Museum - will permit the creation of an exciting exhibition that exerts a strong emotional impact on visitors,' said Dr. Piotr Lewicki, architect and member of the jury.
The new Polish exhibition project at the Auschwitz Memorial is financed through the extraordinary support of the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports. The exhibition will occupy two floors of the historical Block 15 in the former Auschwitz I camp.
The exhibition will be an extension of the main exhibition, with a special focus on the fate of Poles in KL Auschwitz. It will present the history of prisoners registered as political prisoners and all other categories of Polish citizens incarcerated in the camp, including Polish Jews, sent to Auschwitz for extermination.
'Over 140 thousand Polish prisoners were imprisoned in KL Auschwitz. Nearly half died or were murdered. The Germans also deported about 300 thousand Polish Jews to the camp as part of the extermination operations. Many of the Roma people murdered in Auschwitz also came from the pre-war territory of the Republic of Poland. Their fate will be told in the new exhibition' said Museum Director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
'The Auschwitz camp is known worldwide primarily as a place of the Holocaust; however, it must be noted that the Germans created this camp at the beginning of the war for Polish political prisoners. It is fundamental to show the entire multidimensional history of the Memorial, which is why it is crucial to create a new Polish national exhibition,' emphasized Piotr Cywiński.
The author of the scenario is Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz, Head of the Auschwitz Museum Research Centre.
'The exhibition will present the beginnings of the war and the German occupation in Poland, illustrate the scale of persecution and cruelty and show the planning of arrests by the German police. It will also discuss the mechanisms of the deportation of Polish Jews, the categories of Polish prisoners of Auschwitz, the causes of their death in the camp, and the subject of liberation and the creation of memory after the war,' he said.
'The second part of the exhibition will deal with the history of Oświęcim during World War II - the realities of the occupation, deportations and activities of IG Farbenindustrie, and the German plans for rebuilding the city, as well as the assistance given to Auschwitz prisoners at the risk of their lives by “People of Good Will,” Poles who lived near the so-called camp interest zone - a 40-square-kilometre area that isolated the camp’s premises from the outside world. The entire project will culminate in a list of over 1,200 names of people who assisted the prisoners,' added Piotr Setkiewicz.