1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Barbed wire at Auschwitz
Image: DW/J. Hahn

Auschwitz museum plans traveling exhibition

July 27, 2017

The Auschwitz Museum plans to tour Europe and North America with a unique exhibition of items from the former Nazi death camp. More than one million people died at Auschwitz during the Holocaust.


"Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away" is the first ever traveling exhibition the Poland-based Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has put on.

More than 600 items will be on display, most of them from the museum itself, but some also on loan from various Holocaust centers and collections in Europe and the US - including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and from Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel. Some exhibits are also  on loan from survivors and private collections.

Read: Why one of the last remaining Auschwitz survivors wrote a memoir decades later

Victims' stories

The exhibition tells victims' stories by showing personal items, but it also displays an original barrack from the Auschwitz camp and a German freight train car the Nazis used to transport inmates to the camp in occupied Poland.

"Understanding how that place came to be, and what this means for our view of ourselves is one of the core purposes of this project," the museum says on its website.

The show is scheduled to visit seven cities in Europe, starting with Madrid later this year. Seven stops are scheduled for North America, where, the cities have not yet been disclosed.

Prisoners shoes from Auschwitz
Just one of many pairs of prisoners' shoes found in Auschwitz Image: DW

A 'world moving in uncertain directions'

"Nothing can replace a visit to the authentic site of the biggest crime of the 20th century," museum director Piotr M.A. Cywinski said, adding that the exhibition that people in many countries will have the opportunity to see can be a "great warning cry for us all against building a future on hatred, racism, anti-Semitism and bottomless contempt for another human being."

Read: Poland unveils memorial to 'volunteer' for Nazis' Auschwitz camp

Established in 1947, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum preserves the authentic site of the camp as well as the memory of the victims - hoping to serve as a warning to future generations.

A record more than two million people from all over the world visited the museum and memorial in 2016.

The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was erected in 1940,  the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime. Prisoners were used for forced labor. An estimated 1.1 million prisoners were killed there between 1940 and 1945, most of them Jews.

db/kbm (AP, KNA)

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

 Picture of white balloon against a deep-blue sky

US says another Chinese balloon spotted near Latin America

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage