Auschwitz renovation uncovers objects hidden by prisoners

Renovation works at Auschwitz have turned up spoons, forks, cobbler’s tools and other objects hidden beneath a chimney flue — some that might have been used to plan escapes.

The objects, which also include knives, hooks, scissors, pieces of leather and parts of shoes, were found last month in block 17 of the main camp, Austria’s National Fund for Victims of National Socialism said. The fund commissioned the renovation and restoration works in the block at the former concentration camp in Poland in preparation for an exhibition.

“These utensils, kept out of sight of the SS guards, were perhaps used by shoemakers, or to prepare an escape or simply to be able to eat,” fund secretary general Hannah Lessing told AFP on Tuesday. The items were likely hidden in the chimney because block 17 was used to house manual workers.

“It is no coincidence that a chimney was used as a hiding place in the very building where chimney sweeps were accommodated,” the fund’s structural consultant Johannes Hofmeister said, according to a press release from the fund.

The objects are not expected to be on display at the exhibition, due to open in 2021, but instead have been handed over to the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum for conservation.

One million European Jews died at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which Nazi Germany set up in occupied Poland in 1940 and which became Europe’s biggest death camp. More than 100,000 others including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi resistance fighters also died there.

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Statements

EJC President calls on the Portuguese Parliament not to harm the Sephardi citizenship law

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor has written to the President of the Portuguese Parliament calling on him to ensure that a law passed in 2013 which provides Sephardi Jews with the possibility to apply for Portuguese citizenship is not harmed by recent attempts to pass amendments which would damage the applicability, intention and spirit of the original law.

Antisemitic chants at anti-racist march in Paris shows how worthy cause is being hijacked to spread hate

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor called on anti-racist marchers and organisers to ensure that antisemitism is not being adopted by some within their ranks, after large groups of marchers at a rally in Paris's Place de la République shouted antisemitic slogans like “dirty Jew”.

Kantor Center Antisemitism Worldwide Report 2019 – The Coronavirus Crisis is Reviving ‘Blood Libels’ Against Jews

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said that already in the first few months since the global breakout of the coronavirus, there has been a rise in antisemitic manifestations relating to the spread of the disease and the economic recession triggered by the pandemic at the release of the Antisemitism Worldwide Report 2019. The total number of major violent incidents monitored in 2019 was 456, an 18% rise from 2018.

Message from Moshe Kantor

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor announced a series of important measures to provide support and assistance to Jewish communities and other people in need to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis.