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Russian exhibition at Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is popular with visitors

January 14, 2014, 17:55 UTC+3 WARSAW
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WARSAW, January 14. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum located on the site of the former Nazi death camp in Poland is very popular with visitors, according to Teresa Zbrzeska, the director of the Museum’s Exhibitions Department .

“Like all other new exhibitions, the Russian one has been attracting many visitors after its opening. It is often chosen as the venue for various events. Organized tours also come here,” Zbrzeska told Itar-Tass earlier this week.

“We cannot say exactly how many people visited the Russian exhibition last year. A total of 6,600 Russians have visited the museum,” Zbrzeska said, adding that the figure was preliminary because it did not include visitors from other countries.

She noted that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum developed close cooperation with the Moscow Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War that had made a big contribution to preparing the Russian exposition. Its authors are planning to conduct intensive educational activities. A Russian-language exposition telling about the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is to travel to Moscow in 2015.

A refurbished Russian exposition titled “Tragedy, Courage and Liberation” opened at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum on January 27 last year and was timed to coincide with the 68th anniversary of the camp’s liberation by the Red Army. It occupies a huge space in the two-storied museum’s block No.14. Thematically, it is divided in three sections. The first one tells about the tragedy of thousands of Soviet prisoners of war, their fates and death in gas chambers. The second section is devoted to the suffering of civilians, hard physical labor, the absence of food and medicaments. It also features the life of Russian and Jewish villages. The third section tells the story of the camp’s liberation, featuring documents, photographs and eye-witness accounts of how survivors were saved and criminals were punished.

Russia has made a $1 million one-off contribution to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.

The foundation was established by Poland's government in 2009 with participating countries extending from Europe to Asia and Latin America.

Funds will contribute to restoration and maintenance of objects and exhibitions at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

More than a million Jews, Polish intellectuals and Soviet prisoners of war were killed in the gas chambers or burnt in the crematoriums of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. According to various estimates, between 1.5 -2 million inmates of various nationalities, including about 15,000 Soviet citizens, died in the camp during WWII.

The Red Army liberated the camp on January 27, 1945. More than 200 Soviet soldiers and officers died in battles for the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the neighboring town of Oswiecim.

The fist museum exposition on the site of the former death camp opened in 1947. In 2012, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum had a record number of visitors - 1.43 million people. Their number decreased slightly to 1.33 million in 2013 but has been on the rise since then. More people are showing interest in the museum’s website.

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