An agreement was signed at the Jewish Historical Institute to create a permanent exhibition at the Treblinka Museum. The exhibition will be located in the pavilion currently under construction. The facility will be ready in two years.
The agreement was signed at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw by its director, Monika Krawczyk, and Edward Kopówka, director of the Treblinka Museum.
– Thanks to this agreement, our institutions will join forces to create a permanent exhibition in the newly constructed building at the Treblinka Museum, the substantive concept of which will be prepared by JHI researchers. This team will be led by Professor Andrzej Żbikowski – said Monika Krawczyk during the conference.
– These are the best experts who have knowledge and invaluable materials from our collections. Their involvement is a guarantee that the new exhibition at the Treblinka Museum will be substantive, based on authentic documents and accounts, and moving for visitors. Dissemination of knowledge is a very important element of our mission, added Krawczyk.
Cooperation of the Jewish Historical Institute and the Treblinka Museum
The Jewish Historical Institute and the Treblinka Museum have years of cooperation. – We have been organizing celebrations together for a long time, including: in organizing ceremonies commemorating subsequent anniversaries of the revolt of prisoners of the Treblinka II extermination camp on August 2, 1943 – recalled the director of the Jewish Historical Institute.
The Museum also hosts meetings of the Summer and Winter Academies organized by the Jewish Historical Institute; exhibitions and artistic installations were also presented. Last year, the ŻIH Publishing House published accounts of Treblinka prisoners.
– A new museum pavilion is being built outside the camp, approximately 500 meters away. The Treblinka II Death Camp Memorial Site is one of the most expressive commemorations of the Holocaust in the world. This is a kind of sacred sphere. Nothing can be disturbed there and everything in the camp is subject to the supervision of the Rabbinical Commission, said Edward Kopówka, director of the Treblinka Museum.
– When the memorial was created, considered one of the world’s greatest commemorations of the victims of concentration camps, by Adam Haupt, Franciszek Duszeńko and Franciszek Strynkiewicz, the memory of the war and its victims was painfully alive, and there was no thought of a museum at that time. But decades have passed and for new generations, a museum history lesson is necessary, Kopówka emphasized.
He also recalled that Samuel Willenberg, a former prisoner of the Extermination Camp, had been trying to build it for many years, and after his death in 2016, this mission was continued by his widow, Ada-Krystyna.
Construction costs almost doubled
The permanent exhibition in the newly constructed museum pavilion is to have an area of approximately 500 square meters. The construction of the museum building is scheduled to be completed in 2026. The cost of the investment (building), which was estimated at PLN 23.5 million three years ago, is currently approximately PLN 45 million due to inflation.
The project will be financed in half from the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and from the funds of the local government of the Masovian Voivodeship.
The exhibition part will include permanent and temporary exhibitions and a room presenting sculptures by Samuel Willenberg, a participant in the prisoners’ revolt of August 2, 1943.
The Treblinka II Extermination Camp was built by the Germans in 1942. The first transport of prisoners to the camp left Warsaw on July 22, 1942, and included Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. On this day the so-called the great liquidation of the ghetto, which the Jewish Historical Institute commemorates every year with a March of Remembrance. The Germans liquidated the Treblinka extermination camp in November 1943. All buildings were demolished, the entire area was plowed and sown with lupine. The exact number of victims is unknown, but it is estimated that between the summer of 1942 and the fall of 1943, approximately 900,000 people died here at the hands of the Nazis. In addition to the area of the former Treblinka II Death Camp, the Museum takes care of the site of the former railway station in the village of Treblinka, where all transports with deportees stopped; areas of the Treblinka I Labor Camp and the so-called Place of Death.
Main photo source: Marshal’s Office of the Masovian Voivodeship