Posted on 20/09/2016
Staff and students look through the Book of Names in Yad Vashem's 'Shoah' exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
From 16 - 18 May 2016, a group of students on the MA Holocaust Studies course took an excursion to southern Poland, to advance their knowledge about the history of the Holocaust in the region.
Accompanied by Professors Dan Stone and Robert Eaglestone, and doctoral researcher Imogen Dalziel, the group stayed in the small Polish town of Oświęcim - better known by its Germanised name, Auschwitz - where they visited the Auschwitz Jewish Centre and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. The latter consisted of an all-day intensive study tour, guided by Paweł Sawicki, Press Officer and spokesperson for the Museum. Students were shown the permanent exhibition, primarily formed of possessions of victims found after the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp; the barracks in which prisoners lived; the remains of the gas chambers and crematoria; the Field of Ashes, where the remains of victims were unceremoniously strewn; and other sites of significance.
On the final day, the group travelled to Krakow and visited the Galicia Jewish Museum. The tour was conducted by Professor Jonathan Webber, lecturer at Jagiellonian University and co-founder of the Museum, who explained the many "paradoxes and contradictions" in the Jewish history of Galicia. The Museum presents this history in a series of photographs and does not include any artefacts or objects connected to Judaism, in order to challenge the visitor about both the absence and presence of Jewish life in the area.
This trip was made possible by a grant from Santander. The Holocaust Research Centre would like to extend their thanks to Santander for allowing such a thought-provoking, successful trip to happen, as well as to Paweł Sawicki and Professor Jonathan Webber. It is very much hoped that similar trips will take place again in the future.