Since the beginning of October, a new exhibition at the Auschwitz concentration camp memorial in Poland has been commemorating Austria’s role in the murderous apparatus – both the victims and the perpetrators. One of the two scientific directors of the show is the Salzburg historian Albert Lichtblau.
“Auschwitz did not fall from the sky,” said Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen at the opening of the exhibition in Auschwitz at the beginning of October. Because there are many connections from Austria to the Nazi extermination camp – for example from House Bärengässchen 6 in Salzburg-Mülln.
“Five-year-olds were only brought there to murder them”
There was a children’s home in this house. In the pavement in front of the door, three stumbling blocks remind of children murdered by the Nazis. One of them was Ida Petermann, born on April 29, 1939. She is also told about her in the new Auschwitz exhibition – the fate of a “gypsy child” in the Nazi diction: “The girl – not even five years old – was brought from here to Auschwitz by a child welfare worker in January 1944”, says Historians light blue. “She died that same month. She was only brought there to be murdered. “
Photo gallery with 5 pictures
Ida Petermann’s fate is evidenced by an application for reimbursement of travel expenses from the youth welfare officer: “This is one of many documents about how banal these murder stories were under National Socialism and how terrible – children were simply killed.” The document – addressed to the State Criminal Police in Salzburg – is just one of many in the new Austria exhibition in Auschwitz.
A similar exhibition has not yet taken place in Austria
It was a long, sometimes exhausting process in which this form of exhibition and content got. Around 20,000 people from Austria were murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz. In the show, victims and perpetrators are documented, emphasizes Albert Lichtblau: “If Austria does an exhibition in Auschwitz-Birkenau – which Germany is not allowed to do up to now – then we have to – and this was also required in the advertisement – about the perpetrators speak. And Austria was actually very, very important for the construction of the two camps – because very important people were in the central construction management. “
Lichtblau is trying to create a show like the new exhibition in Auschwitz – with a documentation of Austria’s role in the Nazi murder regime – in Austria too. So far that has been in vain. But it is important, the historian is convinced: “What absolutely should be there is mindfulness of all developments. And dying is a little worrying in Europe right now. It can get worse. Therefore you have to give the containment area that people are excluded. “
Salzburg historian helped design the Auschwitz exhibition
The first reactions to the show in Auschwitz were positive
The first reactions to the Austrian exhibition in Auschwitz were, by the way, extremely positive – both from the locations of the memorial in Poland and from the first visitors. Among them was a school class from Salzburg.