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Sculptural model of gas chamber and crematorium #2 at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Object

White, plaster of Paris, 1:15 sculptural model of Crematorium II and a gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau (Auschwitz II) killing center, commissioned by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and created between 1989 and 1992 by Mieczyslaw Stobierski. “Model crematorium II – Birkenau” illustrates the entire process that killed 1.1 million people at the Auschwitz camp complex. While the model is technically accurate in the architectural construction, Stobierski employed more creative interpretation with the figures. This sculpture is one of three replicas of a model he originally made in 1948, for the museum at Auschwitz (the other replicas are at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, and the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem). On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded and occupied the western half of Poland. The Soviet Union occupied the other half of Poland, until they too were invaded by Germany in June 1941. A non-Jew, Stobierski stayed in his hometown of Śladów, Poland, during the Nazi occupation and was involved in underground activities, illustrating publications, and copying and processing illegal documents. In October 1941, imprisoned forced-labors began construction of Auschwitz II, and the SS moved the killing operations there in early 1942. Four large crematoria were built between March and June 1943, and each included a disrobing area, a gas chamber, and crematory ovens. The killing operations continued until November 1944, and the SS dismantled the facilities in advance of the arrival of Soviet forces in January 1945. On June 14, 1947, a museum was opened on the site of the former Auschwitz camp and Stobierski was contracted to create a series of sculptures that illustrated the killing and mistreatment of camp prisoners. Prior to creating each sculpture, he studied documents, consulted former prisoners, listened to interrogations, and examined artifacts owned by the museum. Though constructed with a high level of accuracy, Stobierski’s primary goal was to focus on the emotional experiences of the prisoners and to provoke an emotional response, leaving a shocked impression on the viewer.

Alternate Title
ModeI krematorium II – Brzezinka
Model crematorium II – Birkenau
Date
creation:  after 1989 June 07-before 1992 December 20
Geography
depiction: Birkenau (Concentration camp); Oświęcim (Poland)
creation: Krakow (Poland)
Classification
Architectural Elements
Object Type
Scale models (aat)
Genre/Form
Sculptures.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
 
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:24:12
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn15575