Postcards project “Austria / Auschwitz. Drawings by Jan Kupiec 1945”
In the Year of Remembrance 2015 the National Fund and the Coordination Office for the renewal of the Austrian exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is pleased to be able to present a postcard edition, published by Birgit Johler, Albert Lichtblau, Christiane Rothländer, Barbara Staudinger and Hannes Sulzenbacher.
During the course of their research for the new exhibition the curatorial and scientific team came across a collection of postcards depicting Austrian scenery in the holdings of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. On the back of the postcards are scenes from the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, drawn by the Polish Auschwitz survivor Jan Kupiec following his release from Mauthausen/Ebensee in 1945.
The curatorial team: “The 13 postcards which have photographs of Austrian tourist attractions on one side and motifs and scenes from Auschwitz and Birkenau on the other physically manifest the simultaneous proximity and distance between Austria and Auschwitz. By publishing these postcards in Austria, we are making a contribution towards increasing the proximity of these two places in the collective memory.”
The publication of this special find also renders the basic idea of the curatorial team – to place events in Auschwitz and Austria in juxtaposition – in visual form.
Hannah Lessing: “I am very glad that National Fund sponsorship has been able to make the publication of this unusual edition possible, connecting these seemingly fully disassociated places with one another in such an unsettling way.”
The postcard edition can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org in exchange for a voluntary donation. The donation goes to the association "HEMAYAT - Care Center for Victims of Torture and War".
Appeal for artifacts for the new permanent exhibition: "Far Removed. Austria and Auschwitz"
The year 2015 will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Republic of Austria has commissioned a new permanent exhibition to be displayed in Block 17 at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial. This new exhibition shall trace the fates of Austrian persecutees in Auschwitz. Groups persecuted by the Nazi regime include Jews, Roma and Sinti, political persecutees, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and persons deemed “asocial” or “criminal” by the Nazis. Their different experiences of persecution in Austria, their deportation and, in particular, their varied fates in Auschwitz shall form the focus of the exhibition’s narrative. The exhibition will also portray the members of the Austrian resistance group in the main camp at Auschwitz. However, Austrians were also perpetrators of crimes in Auschwitz and this, too, will be described by the exhibition.
The team curating this new exhibition is now seeking to find objects which are connected to Auschwitz Birkenau and which tell stories of Austrians in the concentration camp Auschwitz / Auschwitz II-Birkenau. These could be, for example, personal belongings which were taken or sent to Auschwitz (letters, postcards, photographs, items of clothing etc.), objects which were taken or sent from Auschwitz (letters, finds etc.), or tools or other objects which were produced, given/exchanged or acquired in Auschwitz.
The curatorial team is grateful for every piece of information received. Perhaps you are aware of such an item or are yourself in possession of one and would like to provide it on loan for the exhibition? By doing so, you would be making a valuable contribution towards the documentation of Austrians in Auschwitz.
Mr. Hannes Sulzenbacher (Curator – Head of Project)