On display will be original architectural blueprints of Auschwitz-Birkenau, given to Yad Vashem for safekeeping last summer by the German newspaper Bild, published by Axel-Springer.
“The original plans detailing the construction of Auschwitz, constitute graphic illustration of the Germans’ systematic effort to carry out the ‘Final Solution’,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem. “We have chosen to display them to the public to illustrate how seemingly conventional activities of ordinary people brought about the construction of the largest murder site of European Jewry.”
Marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, the opening will take place as part of a special symposium in the presence of dozens of members of the diplomatic corps – representing some 80 countries – and Auschwitz survivors, and with the participation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Also displayed for the first time will be the photo album of Auschwitz’s construction. Other items include an aerial photo of Auschwitz from the RAF, the Vrba-Wetzler Report (authored by two Jewish Auschwitz escapees in 1944), quotes from SS men and Jewish prisoners describing the site and its murderous purposes, and a copy of the poem “Death Fugue” by Paul Celan.
The exhibit was curated by Museums Division director Yehudit Inbar. A traveling version of the exhibit will open at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, January 26. Attending that opening will be Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev, American Society for Yad Vashem chairman Eli Zbrowoski, and the exhibit curator Yehudit Inbar.
Bernie’s work is dedicated to the 1.5 million Jewish soldiers, ghetto fighters, partisans and soldiers of the Allied forces who fought against Nazi Germany.Six oblong, hexagonal blocks of granite are arranged in two groups of three. A Star of David – Magen David – is created between the hexagons, sliced down the middle by a stainless steel sword. The blocks represent the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, the Star of David symbolizes the Jewish People, and the sword, the fight against the Nazis.
The Star of David and a sword is usually associated with the Israeli Defense Forces; the symbolism connects Allied Jewish soldiers and today’s Israeli soldiers.
An annual ceremony is held on May 9 at the memorial, marking the victory of the Allied forces over Nazi Germany.
For more information, view the Yad Vashem site.