On 1 and 2 December 2023, the Natolin students and staff engaged in a two-day study visit to the Former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. This was the final element of the current edition of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Educational Project, organised annually by the College of Europe in Natolin in the framework of the overarching topic of "Borderlands."
The visit commenced on Friday, 1 December, with an Introduction to the History of KL Auschwitz, a dedicated, tailor-made guided tour of the former KL Auschwitz I, during which the students and staff of Natolin had a unique chance to enter the so-called "reserve" blocks, kept unchanged since the liberation of the camp and opened for selected study groups only.
The itinerary also encompassed a guided visit to the Collections Department, which is usually closed to visitors, during which the group got a first-hand experience of how the personal belongings of the victims and other authentic objects are preserved as a testimony for the generations to come using the most advanced technologies and knowledge of experts from across the globe. These two itinerary elements provided a unique opportunity to learn history by interacting with authentic objects and locations and observing the coulisses of dedicated specialists' efforts to keep them for the future.
Thereafter, the visit continued with a dedicated presentation by Mr Kamil BĘDKOWSKI from the Preservation Department of the Museum on the role of New Technologies in the Conservation Work and fascinating discoveries made by those in charge of it, as well as the challenges they face.
The second day of the trip featured a guided study visit to Auschwitz II-Birkenau and the trip ended with another tailor-made presentation and discussion on Media Policy Challenges conducted by Mr Paweł SAWICKI of the Museum's Press Office. The meeting provided expert insights into the functioning of the legacy of Auschwitz-Birkenau in today's mediasphere, the public imagination, and the collective memories of contemporary societies.
Images of the students' visit to Auschwitz are viewable via our Flickr account (linked below):