Debates, book promotions and educational projects. More than a dozen events aimed at, among others, people with passion for history, academics, students and teachers will be held in the State Museum at Majdanek in 2016. In the centre of the events there is an international conference on the project for building a museum and new commemoration on the grounds of the former death camp in Sobibór.
Interest in the State Museum at Majdanek has increased among visitors. In 2015, the institution noted a record-breaking attendance – 207 893 people took advantage of the Museum’s offer. It is the highest rate since 1990.
Appointed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage for the 2011–2015 term of office, a new Museum Council of the State Museum at Majdanek was constituted. Its main tasks include assessment of the Museum activities and acknowledgement of its plans.
The State Museum at Majdanek attempts to broaden the circle of its educational offer recipients. The newest museum publication “Zur Pädagogik der Erinnerung. Bedingungen, Ziele und Methoden historischer Bildung in Gedenkstätten“ [Pedagogy of remembrance. Determinants, aims and methods of historical education in memorial sites], ed. Tomasz Kranz, is intended for museologists, teachers and other persons involved in social and political education.
The discovery of the foundations of the building that had housed gas chambers in the former German death camp in Sobibór prompted significant public interest both in Poland and abroad. This discovery was unanimously understood to be an important historical event.
It is with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of Thomas "Toivi" Blatt – one of the latest survivors of the Sobibór death camp. He died in Santa Barbara (USA) on October 31, 2015.
Starting from November 1, opening hours of the State Museum at Majdanek and Museum of the Former Death Camp in Sobibór are changed. In the winter season, part of the museum exhibition is also closed.
From October 29 to November 29, 2015, exhibitions will be presented in Volkshochschule in Bielefeld devoted to the history of the German death camp in Sobibór and the course of “Aktion Reinhardt” – mass extermination of European Jews.
The newest articles on educational activities and exhibitions of the Museum at Majdanek can be downloaded from its website. The study by Wiesław Wysok is the description of the education in authentic historical sites, as exemplified by the pedagogy of remembrance– a concept developed by the Museum at Majdanek. The article by Krzysztof Banach is an analysis of the exhibtions presented by the Museum in 70 years of its activities. It was issued in print in the 26th volume of "Zeszyty Majdanka."
On July 1, the Sejm National and Ethnic Minorities Committee held at Majdanek its session on education at memorial sites. MPs’ debate was devoted mainly to education on the grounds of the former German concentration camps. The session was preceded with visiting the museum exhibition.
On June 24, 2015, the last museum lesson before holidays was held as part of the “Accessible Culture” – a programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
The State Museum at Majdanek participates in the programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage “Accessible Culture” and performs a series of free museum lessons for pupils of middle and high schools. The main goal of this programme is to increase the participation of various social groups, including young people from small towns, in cultural life.
The State Museum at Majdanek and the Provincial Police Headquarters in Lublin established long-term cooperation which aims at organisation of historical and educational seminars for police officers of the Lublin garrison. The seminars will be devoted to the perpetrators of the Second World War.
Director of the Museum at Majdanek Ph.D. Tomasz Kranz and rector of the Catholic University of Lublin Rev. Prof. Antoni Dębiński signed a cooperation agreement. The institutions represented by these two pledged themselves to run educational projects together and to initiate actions that aim at deepening the knowlegde about the Lublin region.
The Museum issued a German-French version of the catalogue documenting the temporary exhibition “They Arrived at the Ghetto... And Went into the Unknown...” It describes the most important events and places related to the killing action resulting in death of about two million people. The texts are supplemented with numerous archival photos, documents, announcements and maps.
On April 28, 2015, the State Museum at Majdanek was visited by the pupils from the 1st junior high school in Lublin, who participated in this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day and listened to a lecture on the ghetto in Warsaw and its relationship with the KL Lublin camp. The goal of the educational visit was to broaden their knowledge about the topic through acknowledging them with the biography of Halina Birenbaum, one of the few survivors among those deported from the ghetto in Warsaw to the concentration camp at Majdanek.
On 28 April, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Jakub Karfik, PhD, met with Danuta Olesiuk, the Deputy Director of PMM. After the conversation concerning, i.e. the international theatrical project “Lustig Train – Freedom Train 2015”, the ambassador visited the museum archive where he looked into the Death Book of 1942 and then he visited the museum exhibitions and historical buildings.
The State Museum at Majdanek has become the partner of the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising in Banská Bystrica at executing the international project "Haviva Reick – Return to European Remembrance," which is supported by the European programme "Europe for Citizens."
On 27 April, the State Museum at Majdanek hosted the Ambassador of Israel, Anna Azari. After the meeting with Tomasz Kranz, the Museum Director, the Ambassador visited the multimedia historical exhibition “The Prisoners of Majdanek” and historical buildings.
The State Museum at Majdanek actively supports the new educational programme for trainees from different German companies who are sent to Polish institutions and organizations cooperating with the Association Action Reconciliation/Service for Peace. Its goal is to enable young people trained in German companies to broaden intellectual horizons, gain some experience abroad and acquire additional knowledge of the contemporary history of Germany.
On April 20, at the Museum – Memorial Site in Bełżec,the next edition of the workcamp was carried out in cooperation with the Volunteer Centre Association in Zamość.
On 21 April Toshiko Ito, the representative of the Japanese organization IPIL-IPIL NO KAI, visited the State Museum at Majdanek. In 2004, during the 60th anniversary of the liquidation of the concentration camp at Majdanek, she and a group of volunteers planted the Japanese cherry on the Museum grounds.
The Museum issued a catalogue accompanying the historical exhibition "Prisoners of Majdanek". It is primarily a practical guide of the exhibition and also a record of the camp reality seen through the eyes of people who were detained in KL Lublin.