With more than 20,000 visitors, Auschwitz.camp was a particularly successful temporary exhibition at Kazerne Dossin. Via the recently launched website, the exhibition can now be viewed online in its entirety. It is also the first time that the growth of Auschwitz is mapped out online in this way.
Auschwitz is an icon of mass murder during the Second World War. In addition to being a murder centre, Auschwitz was also an industrial complex with numerous factories and camps full of slave labourers. In addition it was a resource-rich area and a city that should have developed into a metropolis in the East. On the basis of authentic, historical maps, we show how the city changed during the war years: the surface area of the Auschwitz camp tripled and a large industrial estate was built next to it. On the other side of the railway line near the village of Brzezinka, the extensive Birkenau camp was built. The website shows how the gruesome mass murder of the Nazis was linked to an agenda of colonial exploitation.
The photos by Hans Citroen - co-curator - show what remains of this history today. Camp poles are used by the inhabitants to turn them into, for example, a chicken coop. A prison camp has been transformed into garage boxes. The train tracks are still there, between the fields. The historical importance of these remains and scars is great. Citroen brings material memory into the picture. The photos on the webiste provide an entrance to talk about the memory of the landscape and of the historic events.
It is a first for Kazerne Dossin to translate its historical educational approach into an online environment in this way. Knowledge and insight are an important starting point for remembrance education. Making historical 'reality' visible through this source material offers added value for discussions and discussions about its meaning. This is not only an interesting tool for teachers, but also for all those who visit Auschwitz or want to get to know its history at first hand. They can look at the past and switch to the present.
The website was realised with the valued support of Claims Conference.