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17.07.2020

76th anniversary of the liquidation of the camp at Majdanek

July 22 marks 76 years since the liquidation of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Majdanek.

On the anniversary of this event, at 12:00, representatives of the Museum will commemorate the victims by laying flowers and lighting candles at the Mausoleum. For health safety reasons, no official commemorations are planned. All persons, offices, and institutions wishing to pay tribute to the victims will have such an opportunity that day, respecting the principles of social distancing and taking into account the regulations introduced at the Museum in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, at the Visitor Service Centre, we will open an exhibition “The gardener of field III,” dedicated to Jerzy Kwiatkowski (1894–1980), a former prisoner of Konzentrationslager Lublin. A doctor of law, military man, banker, and entrepreneur from Warsaw, he was lucky enough to survive being imprisoned behind the wires for almost a year and a half. Moreover, immediately after his liberation, he found the strength and skills to write down everything that he had experienced at Majdanek. The monographic exhibition presents the fate of a representative of the Polish intelligentsia from the Eastern Borderlands of the Second Republic of Poland, tells about his family home, and about the creation of one of the most important accounts for the history of the German camp in Lublin. The exhibition consists of archival materials and photographs from the collections of the State Museum at Majdanek and the Hoover Institution Library and Archives in the United States. The showcases will contain original documents, family photographs and memorabilia kept by Kwiatkowski in his last apartment in New York. The exhibition will be made available until the end of February 2021 as well as online.

We will also commemorate this event with online activities. Throughout the day, we will publish materials on social media in which former prisoners reminisce about the moment of the camp’s liquidation. We will also tell you about successful escapes from the last evacuation march.

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The evacuation of the camp at Majdanek began in April 1944. Until the last moments, the SS garrison would cover up the traces of the crimes: barracks were being dismantled, corpses and documents from the camp office were being burned. On July 22, at around 4 p.m., the prisoners were arranged in a marching column. Inmates from field V, peasants from Biłgoraj and Soviet prisoners of war were left in the camp. At the last moment, the Germans set fire to the crematorium in order to conceal the traces of the execution of prisoners from the Gestapo prison in the Lublin Castle. The column set off towards Zemborzyce around 6 p.m.

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