Far removed. Austria and Auschwitz
The new Austrian exhibition “Far removed. Austria and Auschwitz” was opened in October 2021 and replaced the exhibition displayed in Block 17 from 1978 to 2013.
In addition to the fate of Austrian victims of Auschwitz and the resistance movement co-founded by Austrian prisoners, the new exhibition also tells the story of the involvement of Austrians as perpetrators and accessories in crimes committed in the camp.
“From 1938 to 1945 Austria formed part of the German Reich. Austria’s Nazi past compels us to remember the Austrians – at least 110,000 people – who fell victim to the Nazi regime. They were murdered because they were Jews, or ‘gypsies’ (Roma and Sinti), or physically or mentally disabled. They were persecuted and killed because of their political or religious convictions, their work in the Resistance, or because they did not conform to the prevailing social norms. Between 18,000 and 20,000 Austrians were deported to Auschwitz; they were murdered here or succumbed to the squalid conditions. Only around 1,500 of them survived,” we read at the entrance to the exhibition.
“Austria’s Nazi past also compels us to remember that large sections of the Austrian population were also responsible for the injustices perpetrated during that time. There were relatively few Austrians on the concentration camp staff, although a number of them played leading roles in organising and executing the genocide. Despite not having the same level of access to positions of power within the camp system as men did, several Austrian women also played a role in these atrocities in their functions as supervisors,” it states.
The exhibition ends with a quote from Auschwitz survivor Ruth Klüger: “They say ‘never again’ but then just look at all of the massacres that have happened since. It’s absurd to say it should never happen again ”.
The exhibition was created by the scientific-curatorial team led by Hannes Sulzenbacher and Albert Lichtblau, and the architect Martin Kohlbauer. The project to rebuild the exhibition was coordinated by the Secretary-General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, Hannah Lessing and Head of the Coordination Office of the National Fund, Claire Fritsch and her team.
More information on the Austrian exhibition can be found at www.auschwitz.at