National Day of Remembrance for Victims of the Nazi Concentration and Death Camps
The National Day of Remembrance for Victims of the Nazi Concentration Camps is celebrated on 14 June. On that day, the Polish Association of Former Political Prisoners of Nazi Prisons and Concentration Camps marks its 70th anniversary. The meeting will be an opportunity to recall the activities of the Association for the inhabitants of Lublin who were repressed by the Germans during World War II.
The Polish Association of Former Political Prisoners of Nazi Prisons and Concentration Camps [PZBWPHWiOK] was formed in 1946. From the beginning, the Association has been closely cooperating with the Museum at Majdanek. During the first years after the war, the cooperation was based on raising awareness of Majdanek and collecting funds for the activities of the Museum.
Former prisoners co-organised events important to the history of the institution. They are the initiators of the Week of Majdanek, which has been held since 1945. Current forms of commemoration, including two memorial tablets, “Shrine” art installation and monuments from 1969, are also credited to them.
Owing to the fact that former prisoners donate their secret messages from Majdanek, post-camp documents and written accounts to the Museum, fill in surveys, complete questionnaires and give interviews in which they talk about their lives, the Archives of the State Museum have a remarkable collection. The Museum Collections are also enriched by artifacts connected with Majdanek. This material is priceless, as it is a source of knowledge concerning the reality of the camp and the extermination of prisoners.
Some of these artifacts and accounts by former prisoners are shared with the wider public both during exhibitions organised by the Museum and in exhibition catalogues. The memoirs are issued as monographs or fragments of collective publications.
It would also be hard to imagine the educational activities of the Museum without the cooperation with former prisoners. Especially valuable experience for the youth visiting a historical site is meeting a witness to history. Video recordings and publications, in which the prisoners of Majdanek share their experiences and observations, provide a basis for lessons organised at the Museum.
Opinions and voices of former prisoners are valued by the Museum staff. To this day, they are represented in the Museum Council. Since 2015 their representative has been Zdzisław Badio – the President of PZBWPHWiOK in Lublin.
We, the witnesses, still keep our pledge to them: we shall not forget. We give you their figures, faces, glances frozen in the frames. We ask you: remember, they had their families, dreams, but their future was destroyed by the hatred. We ask you: memorize five, ten glances because each of them is history now.
Message by D. Brzosko-Mędryk, a former prisoner of Majdanek, delivered during the 70th anniversary of the Majdanek camp liquidation in 2014