Important and busy 2020 at the Remembrance Museum
The year 2020 was very difficult for us all. Restrictions and problems related to everyday functioning also affected cultural institutions. Covid19 put a stop to many interesting initiatives or forced us to find alternative ways of carrying them out. In spite of these difficulties, the Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents has much to be proud of! We invite you to a round-up of the most important activities.
Modernisation of the Lagerhaus building
It is not by accident that we start with the topic of investment. The year 2020 will go down in history for many reasons. For us, it will be remembered as the year the modernisation of the Lagerhaus building at Kolbego street went to tender and contracts were signed to carry out construction works to transform it into the future HQ of the Remembrance Museum. https://www.muzeumpamieci.pl/podpisanie-umow-i-nowy-etap-w-historii-muzeum-pamieci/
PHOTO – contract signing
At the same time, we were working hard on the permanent exhibition. By the end of 2020, the project was ready and accepted for realisation. Construction works continue to be carried out according to plan. We would like to remind you that the intended opening date of the Remembrance Museum is the beginning of 2022. https://youtu.be/G0f1pNJu6tI
Over the last 12 months, the Remembrance Museum collections have been greatly enriched. In January we received valuable photographs, documents and everyday items connected to the legendary Przecieszyn inhabitant Helena Płotnicka.
In July, we received yet more extremely valuable artefacts when the Remembrance Museum signed a contract of transfer of documents and keepsakes from the courageous Brzeszcze pharmacist Maria Bobrzecka https://www.muzeumpamieci.pl/cenne-pamiatki-po-marii-bobrzeckiej-w-muzeum-pamieci/ as well as the Silent, Unseen war hero Piotr Szewczyk who was born in Babice. https://www.muzeumpamieci.pl/pamiatki-po-majorze-piotrze-szewczyku-w-muzeum-pamieci/
PHOTO – keepsakes Szewczyk
Those were the most valuable, but not the only, exhibits which were handed over to us in 2020, many of which will be available for viewing in the permanent exhibition and in later temporary exhibitions.
Cooperation with other institutions
Despite Covid restrictions, the staff at the Remembrance Museum were able to make contact or build on existing relationships with local centres and cultural institutions. Shortly before restrictions were introduced, we visited the Family Home of John Paul II Museum in Wadowice, where they had the opportunity to not only see the exhibition, but also be acquainted with the internal structure of the museum. Staff also visited the Bata Remembrance Home in Chełmek which gave rise to very fruitful cooperation with the Local Cultural, Sport and Recreation Centre (MOSiR) in the town. We also began cooperating closely with the Public Library in Przeciszów, the Zator Land Lovers Society, the Aleksander Kłosiński Museum in Kęty, the Cultural, Reading and Sports Centre in Osiek as well as the Centre for Documentation of Exile, Displacement and Resettlement at the Pedagogical University of Cracow.
Among the institutions with whom we have been successfully cooperating for some time already are the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the Jewish Center in Oświęcim.
We extend our sincere thanks to all.
The pandemic and the resulting restrictions forced us to move much of what would have been in person online. Here two very important projects are worth mentioning. The first one was a mobile application “Memorial Sites” based on the book by Dr. Andrzej Strzelecki entitled Topography of Memory. Memorial sites of Auschwitz victims in the land of Oświęcim and heroes of the Resistance Movement in the years 1939 – 1945. As last year, it was once again young people from secondary schools in the Oświęcim District who worked on enriching the app – thanks to them, multimedia has been added to it.
The second project is an educational portal launched in December 2020 which can be found at:
PHOTO – educational portal
Several months’ of work has resulted in a portal that will reach a wide range of people – children and young people as well as adults. The varied forms in which the history of the Land of Oświęcim is presented will no doubt be of interest to many history lovers. New and interesting content including the incredible stories of local families will be added over time.
Gatherings and conferences
One of the ways in which the Remembrance Museum popularises local history and its heroes is to host gatherings and meetings for local residents.
PHOTO – meeting- Brzeszcze
Over 170 people attended the February meeting in Brzeszcze entitled “We will remember it all. The fate of Brzeszcze inhabitants in WWII.”
The pandemic prevented other initiatives from taking place, for example, the popular science conference entitled “Woman’s face of aid” due to be held in March 2020 and dedicated to local women from the Land of Oświęcim who rendered aid to KL Auschwitz prisoners. The event which will be held in cooperation with the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has been postponed.
After several weeks of preparation, the Remembrance Museum and the Centre for Documentation of Exile, Displacement and Resettlement at the Pedagogical University of Cracow held their first online conference. The theme? “Remembrance and Post Remembrance – Siberian families in the Land of Oświęcim. The 80th anniversary of the mass transports to the USSR.” During the meeting speakers took the participants on a three-hour trip into the past. It is of note that the conference was translated live into sign language. An edited version is freely available for all interested parties.
PHOTO – conference – Siberia
Testimonies, competitions and projects
Despite Covid restrictions, Remembrance Museum staff were able to continue the process of recording testimonies with eyewitnesses of history and/or their descendants. Among the many testimonies recorded was that of Beata Laskowska whose grandfather Franciszek Ptasznik took sacred objects belonging to Saint Maximillian Kolbe out of KL Auschwitz.
Our Museum’s educational activities have included a variety of competitions mainly aimed at activating children and young people and increasing knowledge of our local history. In June, secondary school pupils were invited to get active outside and send in photographs for a competition entitled “Memorial Sites – inspired by history.” Those photographs were then added to the mobile app “Memorial Sites”.
Yet another initiative was a literary-artistic-historical competition entitled “Trails of memory” run in association with the Youth Cultural Centre in Oświęcim and a “Letter to Santa Claus” aimed at both the young and not quite so young!
The Remembrance Museum undertook many noteworthy projects in 2020, among which was pioneering dendrology research aimed at answering the question of whether apart from the blocks built by IG Farben during WWII, there were also trees planted by the Germans?
PHOTO – trees-left-after-Germans
An important activity which began in 2020 and continues into 2021 is the collection of photographs of local residents for whom the concept of aid is important.
A calendar was published at the end of the year with previously unseen photographs from private collections as well as that of the Remembrance Museum to which local residents have been kindly contributing their photographs.
Remembrance Museum staff who value the idea of aid and support for those in need took an active part in several events including the making of a video for the #gaszynchallenge
Chrysanthemums donated by the Oświęcim branch of the Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture were used to decorate the graves of those who rendered aid to KL Auschwitz prisoners during WWII as well as memorial sites in our area.
PHOTO – flowers-memorial-sites
We stand at the beginning of another crucial year in our Museum’s history – a year to finalise investments, prepare the permanent exhibition and get ready for the move into our new HQ and welcome visitors!
We extend our heartfelt thanks to our friends and well-wishers for their support and energy, their willingness to take part in further activities. We would also like to thank representatives of local, county and national media for their cooperation and transmission of current and reliable information about the activities of the Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents.
We wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year 2021!