The unwanted Auschwitz

Title in Polish:

Niechciany Auschwitz


Rawecki, Marek


The heritage of Auschwitz from the local perspective of Oświęcim appears differently − personally. It is a stigma the town residents have to face every day when fulfilling their own needs and life aspirations, both in the semantic sense (a stigmatising name) and in the material sense (the remains of the camp in the city space). Comments, opinions and criticism concerning the city’s development are received from all over the world. The former camp conservation requirements impose development restrictions for the protection of the place which was created without the participation and consent of the local community. The question asked many times in Oświęcim: “Where does the former camp end and normal life begin?” may be incomprehensible from outside, but is painfully valid here. Highly publicised conflicts, unsolved for years, in which the local heritage becomes meaningless, are caused by the coexistence of the memorial place and urban space. The population of Oświęcim living “in the shadow of Auschwitz” become a social minority for the world, marginalised in the face of the atrocities of the genocide committed here. On the other hand – the moral dimension of Auschwitz either paralyses local initiatives or supports extreme attitudes. The worldwide debate about Auschwitz lacks the local perspective, whereas the local community lacks the historiosophical view and the understanding that today you can reach Oświęcim only through Auschwitz.


Auschwitz ; Oświęcim ; Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum ; cultural heritage ; memorial place ; death camp ; stigma





Resource Identifier:

„Dorobek” Database ; h


Zarządzanie w Kulturze 2016, 17, z. 1, s. 77–89




Faculty of Architecture. Silesian University of Technology


CC BY 3.0.