Auschwitz travelling exhibition wins Grand Prix of European Heritage Award
A travelling exhibition about Auschwitz has received the most prestigious European award in the heritage field, highlighting the importance of continuing to educate people in Europe and beyond about one of the darkest episodes in 20th Century history.
Seventy-five years after the end of World War II, “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away” traces the development of Nazi ideology and shows how the German Nazis transformed the town of Oświęcim, in southern Poland, into the largest concentration camp and extermination centre.
The exhibition, which was first presented in Madrid and is now displayed at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, was prepared jointly by Spanish company Musealia, a producer of large-scale exhibitions, and the Auschwitz Memorial, which is located at the site of the former camp in Oświęcim.
The one in New York features over 700 original objects that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz.
Now the exhibition has received the Grand Prix of European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award, which was launched by the European Commission in 2002 and promotes best practices in heritage conservation, research, management, volunteering, education and communication.
It also came second in the Public Choice Award.
The jury noted how the exhibition communicates its important topic in a “direct and accessible way” and how social media was used to reach a young audience.
Despite being a travelling exhibition, it “succeeded in recreating the emotional experience of visiting the real site,” it added.
Auschwitz Museum’s director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński said: “The award is an important signal.
“The exhibition has been very well received by the visitors as well as by schools and the media.
“It is a very good, modern, extensive exhibition about the history of the camp and its victims.
“But today, for me, it is extremely important that the history of dehumanization of the victims touches the very heart of our postwar identity.”
He also referred to the global health situation, adding that: “Regardless of the development of the epidemic situation in the world, every step in creating a safer, more friendly world that respects human rights is a step against all ideologies of hatred, racism, antisemitism or xenophobia.”
The awards were presented in an online ceremony on 10 November.