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10.04.2019

An academic conference ‘Lenses over the camps’

On April 9, we organized an academic conference entitled ‘Lenses over the camps’ - the first academic event concerning photographs taken during reconnaissance flights over concentration and death camps and other extermination sites.

Opening the meeting, the director of the State Museum at Majdanek Tomasz Kranz said: - There are only about 30 photos left from the functioning of the German concentration camp at Majdanek. However, we still hope that there are collections in the archives or in private houses, including aerial photographs that will be made public and will shed new light on the functioning of the camp. He also stressed that the conference was one of the events taking place as part of the 75th anniversary of the State Museum at Majdanek - the world's first institution commemorating the victims of World War II, which came into being in the course of this armed conflict.

The papers presented at the conference concerned, to a large extent, photos taken during aerial reconnaissance over concentration and extermination camps and other extermination sites, such as the German Auschwitz-Birkenau camps, Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor, Bełżec, Stutthof as well as the Majdan Tatarski ghetto in Lublin. Participants also learned how this type of material was created, how extensive it is and in which archives it is located, and above all - what research potential lies in it. What was also discussed was the Lublin occupation image that emerges from the aerial photography of the city.

Titles and authors of the presented papers:

Krzysztof Tarkowski (State Museum at Majdanek): History of aerial photography

Sebastian Różycki, Marek Michalski (Warsaw University of Technology): Collections of aerial photographs in the world

Krzysztof Tarkowski (State Museum at Majdanek): How to read aerial photos? An example of photographs from the Majdanek concentration camp

Wojciech Płosa (Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum): Air reconnaissance of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

Marek Duda (State Museum at Majdanek): German Luftwaffe over Lublin and the Lublin region in 1944

Marcin Owsiński (Stutthof Museum): Aerial photos taken at Stutthof and Gulf of Gdansk

Marek Michalski, Sebastian Różycki (Warsaw University of Technology): Air reconnaissance of the Treblinka extermination camp

Piotr Demczuk, Piotr Bartmiński, Marcin Siłuch (Marii Curie-Skłodowska University): Aerial photography and its influence on the mapping of the site of the former death camp in Sobibór

Krzysztof Banach (Jewish Historical Institute): The ghetto in Majdan Tatarski on aerial photography

Ewa Koper (Museum and Memorial Site in Bełżec): What can be seen when nothing is visible? Photos of the extermination camp in Bełżec

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