Big news this morning from our friends at Union Station. They just announced the June 2021 opening of Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away—the most comprehensive Holocaust exhibition about Auschwitz ever exhibited in North America. To date, it’s only the second and last U.S. programmed stop on this tour.
With more than 700 original artifacts, 400 photographs and unpublished memoirs, many of the items on display have never been seen by the public. The story will unfold across nearly 20,000 square feet of exhibition space with visitors able to view a myriad of objects and survivor testimony through 20 thematic galleries.
The Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away exhibit took more than five years to compile and explores the dual identity of the camp as a physical location—the largest documented mass murder site in human history—and as a symbol of the borderless manifestation of hatred and human barbarity.
“Auschwitz did not start with gas chambers. Hatred does not happen overnight; it builds up slowly among people. It does so with words and thoughts, with small everyday acts, with prejudices,” says Luis Ferreiro, director of the international exhibition. “When we had the vision to create the exhibition, we conceived its narrative as an opportunity to better understand how such a place could come to exist, and as a warning of where hatred can take us to. Therefore, it is of vital importance to remember the road that led to Auschwitz and the consequences it had.”
The exhibition will allow visitors to experience artifacts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum including hundreds of personal items—such as suitcases, eyeglasses, and shoes—that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz. Other artifacts include concrete posts that were part of the fence of the Auschwitz camp; fragments of an original barrack for prisoners from the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp; a desk and other possessions of the first and the longest serving Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; a gas mask used by the SS; Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner; and an original German-made Model 2 freight wagon used for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland.
“Union Station has earned a stellar international reputation for presenting culturally important and historically significant content,” says Ramón Murguía, Union Station board chairman. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we are deeply honored to be a part of this international exhibition of unprecedented importance. I encourage everyone to make plans to attend.”