Auschwitz, the German Nazi concentration camp and extermination centre, has become an international symbol. The anniversary of its liberation, 27 January, was established by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Citizens of almost all German-occupied European countries, most of them Jews, were imprisoned and murdered at Auschwitz. More than 1.1 million people did not survive to see freedom. They perished in the largest of the Nazi death factories.
On the eve of the commemoration, on 26 January 2023, the opening of the exhibition “The image of Treblinka in the eyes of Samuel Willenberg” took place at the New Members’ House of the Polish Sejm.
Samuel Willenberg’s 15 sculptures depict everyday life in the camp hell. While the artist gives voice to individual victims, he also immortalises collective scenes in sculpture, such as the revolt in the camp or the escape of a handful of surviving prisoners. Samuel Willenberg, a prisoner and participant in the mutiny of 2 August 1943 at the German death camp in Treblinka, was one of the few survivors.
Commemorations of Holocaust victims are taking place throughout Poland. They also will take place at the monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw and at the site of the former German concentration camp Auschwitz II – Birkenau, where the main commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
In Bydgoszcz, the names of the Bydgoszcz victims of the Holocaust will be solemnly read out at the site where the Bydgoszcz synagogue was erected. In Toruń, during the symposium ‘Faces of Reconciliation’ to be held at the Academy of Social and Media Culture, Prof. Mirosław Golon, deputy director of the Branch of the Institute of National Remembrance in Gdańsk, will deliver a paper ‘Toruń initiatives (Polish Yad Vashem) in fostering reconciliation between the Polish and Israeli peoples’.
A panel discussion ‘Patriots – Soldiers – Jews’ will be held at the State Archive in Olsztyn, while a lecture for schoolchildren by Dr Michał Siekierka ‘The Holocaust in the occupied Poland’ will be held at the IPN premises in Wrocław.