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"Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away". The Holocaust exhibition in New York

TVN24 News in English


The Holocaust will forever serve as a cautionary tale, but its message is more urgent than ever, the organizers of a new museum exhibit in New York City say.

The show, "Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away," will officially open to the public on May 8. It's located at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan from which the Statue of Liberty is in plain sight. The exhibit features more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from the notorious Nazi death camp. Auschwitz is located in present-day Poland and is known as Oświęcim.

More than a million people are estimated to have died on the ground of Auschwitz during the war.

There are several motivations for the exhibit. The liberation of Europe from the Nazis took place more than 70 years ago, and so living memory of the horrors is fading. Perhaps relatedly, much contemporary political rhetoric across the world harks back to the days of fascism, the organizers and many others are saying. And so in a bid to try and serve as a reminder of how bad it can get, the museum is putting on what it says is the largest exhibition on Auschwitz in U.S. history.

The exhibit starts in the street with the jarring image of a notorious cattle car. Though the exhibit organizers can't guarantee the car itself was used to transport prisoners to their death during World War II, it was made by the maker, Deutsche Reichsbahn, that did produce such cars. (A total of 20 institutions lent items to the exhibit.) The car was also constructed during the same time period - 1910-1927 - that the cars that were used to send Jewish and other prisoners to their death were made.

The image of the car in the spruced up lower Manhattan leaves the exhibition attendee in a state of confusion, which is perhaps the point. How could this possibly be here? Or better put, how could any of this have happened?

"Well we'd all thought that anti-Semitism, hate, discrimination against so many other people would be lessened, would be less in this era. And yet we find quite the opposite," Bruce Ratner, the chairman of the Board of the Museum of the Jewish Heritage, told Reuters.

The floors of exhibits inside are exhaustive, with trinkets from the careers of top Nazi leaders - like Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele's boots to the helmet of SS Nazi Paramilitary leader, Heinrich Himmler - to mementos from the prisoners, like shoes and glasses.

Indeed, luggage left behind by the prisoners is a reminder that many of them believed they were simply being transferred to a new home.

There is much more, all of it unsettling, such as the embroidered yellow stars Jewish prisoners were forced to wear. Then there's the Biblical scrolls that were saved from the Kristallnacht Massacre in Hamburg in 1938. Otherwise it would have been burned.

"People forget that this is just the end of the long process, that Auschwitz didn't start overnight, that gas chambers weren't, you know, built overnight or just they just landed on the ground. That there had to be a long process of normalizing this hatred that led to Auschwitz," Paweł Sawicki, the spokesperson for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, told Reuters.

The exhibit will be open until January 3, 2020.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: tvn24

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