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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 20Making Holocaust Memory$
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Gabriel N. Finder, Natalia Aleksiun, and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113058

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113058.001.0001

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Auschwitz and the Politics of Martyrdom and Memory 1945–1947

Auschwitz and the Politics of Martyrdom and Memory 1945–1947

(p.149) Auschwitz and the Politics of Martyrdom and Memory 1945–1947
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 20

Jonathan Huener

Liverpool University Press

This chapter illustrates how a group of former Polish prisoners from Auschwitz took charge of a camp in the spring of 1946 after the provisional government initiated the establishment of a memorial site and museum in the area to commemorate Polish victims and victims from other countries. It talks about how the former prisoners forged an independent path in organizing the museum as they were inspired by Poland's martyrological culture that was rooted in Christian tradition and sensibilities. It also discusses how the organizers of the museum equated the Germans' treatment of Jews and Poles under Nazi occupation and in the most notorious of concentration camps. The chapter highlights the merging of the fate of Jews into the toll of victims from individual countries by the organizers of the museum. It emphasizes the reluctance of the former political prisoners to place special emphasis on Jewish suffering and death in Auschwitz.

Keywords:   Polish prisoners, memorial site, museum, Polish victims, concentration camps, Auschwitz

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