Conservation of artifacts from Sobibór
In November, artifacts from the area of the former German Nazi extermination camp in Sobibór returned to the museum from conservation workshops. Currently, the collection of the State Museum at Majdanek includes over 11 000 objects from Sobibór, found during archaeological research conducted in the years 2000–2017.
In Gdańsk, over 5000 relics from archaeological excavations were restored. These are mainly items belonging to the victims, but also elements of the extermination camp's equipment and infrastructure. Small aluminum containers, enamelled bowls and cups, fragments of cutlery and scissors were subjected to conservation.
Steel barbed wires, shell casings, hooks, nails, tools and fragments of railway tracks and sleepers used by the extermination camp crew as combustion grates to burn the bodies of people murdered in gas chambers were also secured. The objects, after being extracted from the ground, were pre-cleaned and inventoried. To protect them from progressive degradation processes, complicated conservation measures were needed to clean the objects from rust and earth deposits, as well as to prevent metal corrosion and deposition of various types of raids.
Warsaws' conservation workshop carried out a process of protecting tree trunks used before as elements of the camp fence. Preserved barbed wires and nails embedded in the bark are evidences that the extermination camp area was a closely guarded place. Among the wooden relics undergoing conservation, there was also a fragment of the barrack wall made of boards reinforced with battens. Before cleaning and protecting wood with preservatives, it was necessary to disinfect it in a fumigation chamber, eliminating the growth of microorganisms and insects.
All exhibits in the collections of the State Museum at Majdanek are subjected to appropriate conservation processes and ongoing inspections of the state of preservation. The stabilization of the materials from which the objects were made and the proper storage conditions in museum warehouses allow the protection of several thousand evidences of atrocity.