Worth a look

Art and Heritage in Central Europe

“Unwanted Capital” – New Exhibition at the International Cultural Centre in Cracow

Art and Heritage in Central Europe

The International Cultural Centre has been interested in the problem of difficult heritage, including the legacy of the Third Reich, for several decades. Pioneering research was initiated in 1994 by the publication of Piotr Krakowski’s book “The Art of the Third Reich”. Later, we organised an international conference, “The Dissonant Heritage of the Third Reich in Poland” (2018), and published a book on the topic: “Dissonant Heritage? The architecture of the Third Reich in Poland” (2020). Their next step is an exhibition, which will be on display at the ICC Gallery from March 5 to June 5, 2022. The aim of the exhibition is not only to present attempts to rebuild Krakow during World War II to make it the Nuremberg of the East, but above all to encourage reflection on contemporary attitude to difficult heritage.

The exhibition showcases urban and infrastructural plans, including the most important architectural designs and their implementations, which were to change the pre-war Polish city into a model Stadt Krakau. Krakow was to become the easternmost bridgehead of the Thousand-Year Reich and, as the capital of the General Government, it was to receive a new urban design. Architecture was also used as a tool of brutal and bloody policies aimed at the city and its inhabitants. Polish elites, cultural and scientific institutions were crushed, and works of art were plundered. Monuments and Polish national symbols were destroyed, and the names of squares and streets were changed to German ones. The swastikas were omnipresent in the public space, and Nazi propaganda was streaming from the street loudspeakers.

The exhibition is accompanied by a large catalogue, a compendium of current knowledge about the heritage of the Third Reich in Krakow. The material collected here is the result of archival and field research conducted by the ICC research team under the supervision of prof. Jacek Purchla and experts from other institutions from Krakow, but also from Berlin, Munich, Warsaw, Vienna and Wrocław, among others.

The exhibition was organised in cooperation with the National Archives in Krakow, the National Digital Archives, the KL Plaszow Memorial Museum and Duke University (USA). The exhibits on display come from the collections of the Wawel Royal Castle, the National Museum in Krakow, the Krakow Museum, the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw and the Architekturzentrum Wien, Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität München and the Bundesarchiv.

Read more: https://mck.krakow.pl/71

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