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World’s acclaimed exhibition rehumanising Holocaust horrors launches in SA

Described as the most comprehensive exhibition ever dedicated to the unfathomable horrors of the Holocaust and essentially the role Auschwitz played during this pivotal moment in history, 'Seeing Auschwitz' officially launches in South Africa, Johannesburg following a successful run in the UK, US and France.

  • World acclaimed travelling exhibition Seeing Auschwitz officially opens in Joburg, South Africa until March 2023
  • Produced by Musealia, in collaboration with Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in Poland, it features rare photographs taken during the Holocaust by victims, survivors & perpetrators themselves
  • It forms part of UNESCO’s ongoing efforts in Holocaust education and the prevention of genocide
  • For a selection of top stories hand-picked by our editorial team, visit the NOWinSA/Editors Pick front page!

Described as the most comprehensive exhibition ever dedicated to the unfathomable horrors of the Holocaust and essentially the historic role played by Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi concentration and death camps, ‘Seeing Auschwitz’ has officially launched in South Africa, Johannesburg following a successful run in the UK, US and France.

Coming at the time when antisemitism sadly appears to be rising again around the world, the award-winning exhibition opened Sunday (November 13) at the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre and will travel to Durban and Cape Town over the coming year.

Seeing Auschwitz” was developed by one of the world’s leading experts on the Holocaust, Paul Salmons, who co-founded the Center for Holocaust Education at University College London.

Launching for the first time in SA off the back of a successful run in the UK, London where it commanded a R300 entry fee, it will be free to attend in South Africa.

Produced by Spanish company Musealia, in collaboration with the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum in Poland as part on UNESCO’s ongoing efforts in Holocaust education and the prevention of genocide, the exhibition presents more than 100 scarce images of victims and perpetrators as well as audiovisual testimony of survivors. It’s on show in Joburg until end March 2023 from, with doors opening from 9am to 4.30pm – Monday to Sunday.

Crowds of people fearfully clutching their children are among countless ‘images of horror’ forming of this world acclaimed travelling exhibition. Image: Musealia

Seeing Auschwitz; lessons to take home

As antisemitism, racism and xenophobia are on the rise globally, the exhibition is a powerful reminder that we cannot look away and remain indifferent in face of discrimination and violence

Audrey Azoulay, director general of UNESCO

The exhibition is designed to highlight the horrors of what happened at Auschwitz as well as the humanity of the people who perished there.

Confronting headon, the atrocities that saw over a million people – mainly Jews – perished at the hands of Nazi Germany (between 1940 and 1945), the images range from the arrival of deportees through to their incineration, including portraits of prisoners and scenes from the everyday life of the camp officials.

“These portraits and scenes—largely taken by the perpetrators themselves, the SS—are incontrovertible evidence of the crimes committed at Auschwitz,” reads in part, a statement from the exhibition official website. “However, they also present a major challenge to viewers, who are unconsciously seeing history from the perspective of the photographers, in other words, through a Nazi lens”.

For the purpose of this exhibition, some details / images have been enlarged to “rehumanise” the targets of Nazis’ dehumanisation; i.e. a woman has linked arms with a boy next to her; a child stares straight into the camera lens.

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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