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Researchers from the Medical University of Silesia protect exhibits from Auschwitz-Birkenau

by Dignity News
Researchers from the Silesian Medical University are carrying out research into the protection of artefacts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim. They want to save documents, drawings and clothing collected from the camp from oblivion.

The research conducted by and under the supervision of scientists from the Silesian Medical University is of great importance for the preservation of memory. It is the duty of the next generations to protect the cultural heritage, to improve disinfection techniques, and to research historical materials to save the camp’s collected artefacts from oblivion.

The so-called movable objects in the Museum include about 110,000 shoes, about 3,800 suitcases, about 12,000 pots, 470 prostheses and orthoses, 350 pieces of camp clothing, 250 tallits, as well as 4,500 works of art. On the other hand, the museum’s archive contains almost 250 linear metres of documents, including 48 volumes of camp ‘Death Books’, 248 volumes of documents of the Central Waffen SS and Police Construction Board at Auschwitz, 64 volumes of documents of the SS Hygiene Institute, as well as 16 volumes of prisoner personnel files and 8,000 camp letters.

Methods of protecting historical buildings was the subject of a dissertation by a doctoral student Dorota Rybitwa. She is a researcher at the conservation laboratories of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Her work shows how to protect historical objects to prevent their degradation, as well as to ensure the safety of conservators and visitors.

As part of her PhD, she carried out analyses on the feasibility of using laser radiation to disinfect museum objects. These included the determination of the prerequisites for the interaction of laser radiation with museum objects, the effect of laser radiation on museum material, the optimisation of the lumen length of laser radiation in relation to the chromophores contained in museum materials, and the optimisation of energy density, pulse length and spot diameter depending on the chromophore content.

Arkadiusz Słomczyński

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