The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Auschwitz Blueprints Go on Display in Israel
A journalist is seen during a presentation to the media before the opening of an exhibition, showing the blueprints of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. The neat lines and rectangular sketchings appear to look like any other typical architectural design. But the handwritten initials H.H., penned by the infamous Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler, indicate what the seemingly innocuous drawings represent: wooden barracks, gas chambers and crematoria. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

By: Aaron Heller, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP).- The neat lines and red rectangular sketches look like any typical architectural design. But the handwritten initials H.H. — belonging to the infamous Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler — indicate what the drawings represent: wooden barracks, gas chambers and crematoria.

Just ahead of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem is displaying the blueprints of the notorious camp in Nazi-occupied Poland that has become a symbol of the Nazi genocide of European Jewry. It is the first time the plans will be on display for a wide audience.

Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi camps where millions of Jews and other minorities were forced to work as slaves. Many died of starvation or exposure. Also, many Jews were herded on arrival into gas chambers, the bodies burned in crematoria and their ashes buried in pits. In all, about six million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was expected to attend the exhibition's opening Monday shortly before flying to Poland to participate in the official commemorations at Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jews were murdered in just over three years.

The Associated Press was allowed to see the collection ahead of the opening.

The camp's name has become synonymous with the Holocaust because it reflected the meticulous German effort to rid Europe of its Jews — a plan dubbed the "Final Solution."

The blueprints illustrate the cold planning behind the plot. They include designs of the iconic watchtower entrance to the adjacent Birkenau camp, where trains transported Jews to their deaths, as well as pathway where the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign was placed.

The sign, whose cynical Nazi slogan means "Work Sets You Free," was stolen last month and returned last week. The offices of Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hess and doctor Josef Mengele are seen in the blueprints.

"It is one thing to kill someone when you are angry, but to sit down and make plans for the biggest extermination camp that the world has ever known and to plan it as if they were planning a parliament or a school or something is just mind-boggling," said Martha Weiss, a 77-year-old Auschwitz survivor who was among a small group of survivors invited to see the display ahead of its opening.

"Sometimes when I listen to myself I think, 'My God, this couldn't have happened. I must have dreamt it.' But unfortunately, it is all true and I lived though it and I was lucky to survive."

The administrative documents at Auschwitz were kept in an archive next to the main camp. The Nazis burned the archive shortly before the camp's liberation in an attempt to cover up their crimes. But some documents, kept in a separate building, survived and fell into Soviet hands, where they remained until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 2008, a set of documents, including 15 original plans of the camp, were found in an abandoned Berlin apartment. It is unclear how they arrived there. The German newspaper Bild obtained the blueprints and published them last year after authenticating them with Germany's federal archive.

Bild presented the blueprints to Netanyahu in Berlin last August and they were to go on display at Yad Vashem Monday.

"The original plans detailing the construction of Auschwitz, constitute a graphic illustration of the Germans' systematic effort to carry out the Final Solution," said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.

Shalev said the publication of the blueprints would help combat Holocaust denial and make sure that the lessons of the Holocaust remain fresh.

The blueprints include general plans for the original Auschwitz camp and its expansion to Birkenau camp, where most of the killings took place.

The exhibit also includes aerial photos of Auschwitz taken by the British air force during the war, a report written by two Jews who escaped and quotes from SS men and Jewish prisoners about the facility. Some of the photos captured smoke billowing from the camp's six crematoria.

A traveling version of the exhibition will open at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

Last September, Netanyahu waved the blueprints, sketched on yellowing parchment, at the U.N. General Assembly podium in an emphatic rebuke of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his repeated questioning of the Holocaust.

Daniel Uziel, the historical adviser to the exhibition, said the blueprints did not add much to what is already known about the camps but they provide "a great illustration of the process of turning Auschwitz from a small Polish concentration camp to the center of the Holocaust."

An old World War I barrack for the Austro-Hungarian army, Auschwitz opened as a concentration camp in the summer of 1940. It was originally designed as a Soviet POW camp and its first prisoners were Polish. But because of its central location and its close access to natural resources, Himmler deemed it the perfect spot to implement the "Final Solution." In late 1941, it swiftly evolved into a highly efficient death camp.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Auschwitz | Daniel Uziel | Avner Shalev | Auschwitz Blueprints |

Today's News

January 26, 2010

Prado Museum Honors Members of Committee that Safeguarded Spanish Treasures

Sprüth Magers in Berlin to Show Family Portraits by George Condo

Woman Taking Class at the Met Has Accident Involving Picasso's "The Actor"

"Newspeak" Painter Ryan Mosleys First Major Solo Exhibition at Alison Jacques Gallery

Amon Carter Museum Acquires Rediscovered Indian Series Painting by George de Forest Brush

James Danziger Gallery Shows Exhibition "The Year in Pictures"

Titanic Bidding for Sunken Bugatti at Bonhams Retromobile Sale

New Visitor Center and Reopened Rooms Give New Life to Legendary Texas Estate

New Works Produced by Art & Language Open at Lisson Gallery

The Bowes Museum Displays Intriguing Painting that was Part of Altarpiece

Auschwitz Blueprints Go on Display in Israel

Museum Presents Installations by Two Contemporary Artists

'Sphinx Alley' Gives Egypt Large Open-Air Museum

Royal Collection Announces Exhibition of Dutch Landscapes

Crockwell Painting of Finch Workers Now on Display at The Hyde

Bellevue Arts Museum Announces Selected Artists for BAM Biennial

Abelardo Morell to Give Lecture at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

New Performance of Yves Klein's Monotone Symphony Announced

Angel Frieze Returns to Davenport Museum

National Archives to Ban Photography in Exhibit

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Israel donates money for preservation of Auschwitz

Polish Court Sentences Swede to Nearly Three Years in Prison Over Auschwitz Theft

Polish Court Sentences Swede over Auschwitz Theft

Germany Announced It will Give $80 Million in the Next Year to Fix Auschwitz Memorial

Documents Concerning Auschwitz Guards Found at a Nearby House

Polish Court Convicts Three Men in Theft of Auschwitz Sign

Stolen Auschwitz Sign Returns to Museum

Suspect Likely Visited Auschwitz Site Before Theft

Poland Earmarks More Money for Auschwitz Security

Polish Police Say Foreigner Behind Auschwitz Sign Theft

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful