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A tale of two institutions: shaping Oświęcim-Auschwitz

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alison Stenning


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For the last sixty years, two institutions have shaped the destiny of the town of Oświe{ogonek}cim in southern Poland. One of these institutions is globally recognised, its history and development widely researched; the other is well known only amongst Polish industrialists, perhaps Polish economic geographers, and amongst the people of Oświe{ogonek}cim. These two institutions are the Auschwitz State Museum and the chemical firm Dwory SA. Both institutions have their roots in the German Occupation of Poland 1939-1945. This paper presents the tale of these two institutions in order not only to highlight the need to embed memorial sites in their wider contexts, but also to indicate the impact of such sites as political-economic institutions, with the influence to shape social and economic landscapes. In laying out the geographies of the town and its two major institutions, we draw attention to the ways in which Holocaust memorialisation and post-socialist transformation are articulated with each other, not only here in Oświe{ogonek}cim, and also with wider processes of social, economic, political and cultural change. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stenning AC, Charlesworth A, Guzik R, Paszkowski M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geoforum

Year: 2008

Volume: 39

Issue: 1

Pages: 401-413

ISSN (print): 0016-7185

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9398


DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.09.004


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