“Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. traces the development of Nazi ideology and tells the transformation of Auschwitz from an ordinary Polish town known as Oświęcim to the most significant Nazi site of the Holocaust—at which approximately 1 million Jews, and tens of thousands of others, were murdered. Victims included Polish political prisoners, Sinti and Roma, Soviet POWs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and those the Nazis deemed “homosexual,” “disabled,” “criminal,” “inferior,” or adversarial in countless other ways. In addition, the exhibition contains artifacts that depict the world of the perpetrators—SS men who created and operated the largest of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camps,” was written on New York Museum website. 

 

The exhibition was prepared in cooperation with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim. It brings together exhibits collected from more than 20 institutions and museums around the world, including personal items belonging to some of the victims, documents, unpublished audiovisual material, and structural elements from the camp.

 

Not only are there mementoes of murdered and surviving prisoners, including striped uniforms, suitcases, glasses or shoes, but also a lithograph of a prisoner by Picasso. Items belonging to the torturers were collected, such as the desk of Rudolf Hoess, the first and longest-serving commandant of Auschwitz, Heinrich Himmler's helmet and his annotated copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf, as well as a gas mask used by the SS. There are fragments of a barrack and a German freight car, which were used to deport Jews to ghettos and death camps in occupied Poland. Most of the exhibits are being shown in the US for the first time.

 

The exhibition opened in New York City on May 29, 2019. Previously, it was seen by more than 600,000 visitors in Spain at Madrid's Arte Canal Exhibition Centre. From the Museum of Jewish Heritage, it will go to Union Station in Kansas City.