The Region of Madrid, Canal de Isabel II and Musealia have extended the dates of the exhibition ‘Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.’ The exhibition, at the Arte Canal Exhibition Centre, Madrid, will now run until 3 February 2019, and has welcomed more than 450,000 visitors since opening in December 2017, making it one of Madrid’s most popular exhibitions this year.
This date cannot be extended further as, after Madrid, the exhibition will leave Europe and visit countries around the world for several years, providing people with a unique opportunity to see more than 600 original objects from the largest German Nazi concentration and extermination camp.
During this additional period, Auschwitz will include a number of new items from the Anne Frank House, in Amsterdam, and will provide a further 25,000 free places for school visits.
A new feature of the exhibition during its final months in Madrid is the inclusion of a number of items from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, dedicated to the memory of the Jewish girl whose “The Diary of a Young Girl” has been translated into about 70 languages and has become one of the most widely read books about the persecution of the jews during the Holocaust.
This will be the first time these objects, including some of Anne’s personal possessions from her time living in hiding from the Nazis, have been shown to the public outside the Netherlands.
With average daily visitor numbers of 1,550 and peaks of up to 2,600, this exhibition has been one of the most popular exhibitions this year in Madrid, the only Spanish city where it can be seen.
“Last year, a little over 100,000 people from Spain visited the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Everything indicates that the exhibition in Madrid will be visited by more than 5 times that number, which is extremely encouraging for us”, mentioned Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum’s Director, Piotr Cywiński. “This shows that nowadays we feel strongly how much we need to return in our thinking to the tragic experiences from 70 years ago”, he added.
The excellent reception of ‘Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.’ also by schools meant that the 85,000 free tickets for educational establishments were quickly taken up, and the exhibition organizers have therefore decided to make a further 25,000 free tickets available to schools.
Considering this extension, it is expected that about 110,000 schoolchildren will visit the exhibition for free. “This is a unique opportunity to understand how the Holocaust came to happen and, therefore, to strengthen the mechanisms to identify and prevent future atrocities and internalize the civic values of human rights, respect for diversity, plurality, courage and the supreme value of human life” explained the Director of Musealia and the exhibition, Luis Ferreiro.
As a result, school groups troughout Spain that were unable to visit the exhibition during the previous academic year will now be able to expand their knowledge of history and their understanding of the importance of defending human rights and respecting global diversity, thanks to this offer by Canal de Isabel II and Musealia.
‘Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away’ is housed in a 2500 square metre exhibition space and displays a wide range of previously unpublished photographic and audiovisual material and more than 600 original items from Auschwitz, the majority of which are being shown in public for the first time after undergoing an exhaustive conservation process.
Items include prisoners’ uniforms, the personal effects of both the victims and the executioners of the Holocaust, architectural elements from the camp, such as concrete posts, a barrack hut and an original train wagon similar to the ones used to transport most of than 1.3 million people to this German Nazi concentration and extermination camp.
Most of these objects belong to the collections of the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum, co-producer of the exhibition in partnership with the Spanish company, Musealia, that preserves all the authentic remains of the former camp, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This educational reflection on the complex reality of the Holocaust and the nature of human beings was conceived and designed by the Spanish company, Musealia, and a multi-disciplinary team of experts. It was led by the historian Dr Robert Jan van Pelt, with a team of curators, conservators, archivists and researchers from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
The exhibition also draws on the support of more than 20 museums, institutions and private collections, including Yad Vashem (Jerusalem) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington D.C.).
The aim of this moving but carefully documented journey through one of the darkest chapters of human history is to stir the world’s conscience and to serve as a universal warning of the dangers that derive from hatred and intolerance. Following its world opening in Madrid, the exhibition will travel outside Europe and will continue to perform its educational mission in a further 6 cities in Europe and 6 in North America, with the host cities to be announced nearer the time.