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Preserving Authenticity - nine tasks for the years 2012-2015

European Commission Grant
Programme: Europe for Citizens

On 12 December 2011, an agreement was signed for financing between the European Commission and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in the form of a direct grant in the amount of four million euros for the period from 2012 to 2015. Funding from the European Commission will take place within the framework of the Programme: Europe for Citizens, Action 4 Active European Remembrance and will amount to 95% of the project with the Museum contributing the remaining 5%. Grant Application Form of the project was accepted in October 2011 under the name "Auschwitz - Preserving Authenticity - nine tasks for the years 2012 - 2015", under which the following tasks are scheduled:

1. Reinforcing ceiling and floor slabs in the building of the Archives (Block A-24)

The need to reinforce the ceiling and floor slabs in the building of inventory number A-24 follows the technical expertise recommendations made in 2009. The purpose of the work is to obtain the bearing capacity of the slab structures sufficient for transfer of utility load. Work related to reinforcing is also connected with the project of installing a fire suppressant system. The construction work will help to secure the historic building and will help to improve conditions for the storage of the valuable archival records which are collected in the building. 

More information about the task:

Lidia Łabuzek
tel. +48 (33) 844 80 29 

2. Installation of the fire suppressant system (SUG) in the storage areas of the Collections (Blocks inv. nos. A-19,A-25) and the Archives (Block inv. no. A-24)

Introduction of the modern SUG system in storage areas of the Collection and the Archives will significantly improve safety of storage of original former camp objects. In Blocks A-19 and A-25 the largest and most unique worldwide collections of camp art is kept, whilst in the Archives (Block inv. No. A-24), the original camp documentation is preserved. The automatic extinguishing system has to protect the collections and archives before the development of fire, and the extinguishing agent used must not cause damage to valuable objects related to the history of KL Auschwitz. 

More information about the task:

Zbigiew Mojżesz
tel. +48 (33) 844 80 29 

3. Preservation and construction works on wooden barracks with inv. No. B-154 and B-159

The current state of preservation of the barracks requires urgent conduct of comprehensive conservation and renovation-construction works in order to prevent their further degradation. Barracks No. B-154 and No. B-159 are wooden barracks of the stable type built during the operation of the camp. Barrack B-154 was a prisoner barrack, whilst barrack B-159 was used for sanitary purposes. These are located at the so-called quarantine section and are two of the surviving nineteen wooden barracks in the section. Conservation of the original historical materials to a good condition will allow visitors to access the buildings. 

More information about the task:

Lidia Łabuzek
tel. +48 (33) 844 80 29 

4. Modernization of the storage areas for suitcases

Implementation of the task will contribute to the optimisation of storage conditions and will provide proper protection for the suitcases. The suitcases belong to a group of the most recognisable objects and are inextricably linked with the history of KL Auschwitz - Birkenau. They are, in many cases, the only remaining trace of those deported to German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Comprehensive modernisation of storage areas and purchase of new professional cabinets for storage of the former camp suitcases will decisively improve the conditions of their storage. 

More information about the task:

Magdalena Emilewicz-Pióro
tel. +48 (33) 844 80 37 

5. The development of the long-term storage system of digital data and the Digital Repository

The task is to expand the server-matrix infrastructure by purchasing additional drives and a UPS power supply. The long-term goal of the Digital Repository research project is to safeguard the archival documents through their complete digitisation. The presently functioning information system operating the Digital Repository database requires expansion. Within the scope of work on the application for its servicing, advance report modules will be developed. Thanks to this, it will be possible to create a General Index of the Victims of KL Auschwitz (Auschwitz-Memory-Index) including the names of those deported and imprisoned in the camp. 

More information about the task:

Krzysztof Antończyk
tel. +48 (33) 844 80 90

Artur Misterek
tel. +48 (33) 844 81 50 

6. Purchasing equipment for conservation laboratories

Purchase of equipment will supplement technical facilities used for research, documentation and conservation works. Included in the plan for purchase: climactic chamber, spectrophotometer for colour measurement, automated microscope, mobile XRF spectrometer, devices for precision polishing - grinding, a vacuum impregnation unit. 

More information about the task:

Aleksandra Papis
tel. +48 (33) 844 81 71 

7. Protecting and improving conditions of displaying original post-camp objects

Showcases securing original items which used to belong to people deported to Auschwitz and are shown at the permanent exhibition were selected for modernisation, such as: the glasses and Jewish prayer shawls in Block No. A-5. Modernisation and implementation of new showcases windows is primarily designed to increase protection from theft and possible vandalism. Furthermore, improvement of the barrier will also protect the original objects from adverse environmental conditions and provide basic protection against risk of fire. 

More information about the task:

Robert Płaczek
tel. +48 (33) 844 80 52 

8. Conservation of suitcases and Jewish prayer shawls as well as conservation and scanning of archival records

The subject of the project of conservation work is designed to slow the degradation processes occurring in the documents and items that are a meaningful testimony to the tragic history of KL Auschwitz. Conservation will be applied to archival records which are, according to studies of their state of preservation, the most damaged and endangered. Among these are 46 volumes of the most important groups of documents of the former camp, namely the "Sterbebücher von Auschwitz" - a book in which the death certificates of almost 69 thousand inmates can be found. A crucial element of the work is the digitisation of documents, which will make their content available without exposing them to possible destruction. The project also includes the conservation of dozens of prisoners’ suitcases and several Jewish prayer shawls. These items, along with other exhibits shown in the main exhibition of the State Museum in Oświęcim, provide visitors with the story of individual victims. 

More information about the task:

Nel Jastrzębiowska
Mirosław Maciaszczyk
tel. +48 (33) 844 81 70 

9. Conducting research at Sector BI (Auschwitz II-Birkenau) and the adjoined sewage treatment units

The scope of works includes archaeological and hydrological - geological researches of the section BI in KL Auschwitz II - Birkenau. Precise identification of ground conditions plays a key role in planning not only for complex conservation works of the brick barracks located in this area, but also for a reliable drainage system. The actions taken will allow identification inter alia of the course and structure of roads, camp paths, underground infrastructure network, as well as foundation conditions and groundwater levels having a significant impact on the state of buildings.

More information about the task:
Alicja Rybitwa
tel. +48 (33) 844 81 36