The Primer. Children in Majdanek camp
About the exhibition
“The Primer. Children in Majdanek Camp” exhibition is presented in a barrack No. 53 in the State Museum at Majdanek.
The history of the Second World War is also the history of children. Thousands of them were tortured to death and murdered in concentration camps. One of those places was Majdanek. It is here where the fate of Jewish, Belarusian and Polish children intersected. On September 1st, 1939, many of them were supposed to start their school year with a primer in their school bags.
A primer instructs us how to organize and describe the world around us. It contains the simplest social categories which are the very base for the relationship between man and the surrounding world. The distinctive feature of every primer is that the world presented in it, is free of cruelty and evil. The children imprisoned in the camp were violently pulled out of the simple and naive world of “The Primer”. The camp reality was a complete contradiction of the world presented in their text books. From then on, life was to bring death and evil on a daily basis.
The exhibition is situated in the barracks, and is divided into two parts separated by a partition wall “The Primer World” (Childhood and School Years) and “The Camp World”. Family pictures, a lullaby and primers illustrate the time of happy childhood and school education. The world of war and concentration camps is symbolized by a boxcar and wells which, from which one can hear relations of prisoners saved from extermination.
The exhibition tells the stories of four children imprisoned in Majdanek. They are Jewish: Halina Birenbaum and Henryk Żytomirski, Belorussian: Piotr Kiriszczenko and Polish: Janina Buczek-Różańska. One of them died in the camp. It was Henio Żytomirski.
Visit the exhibition
The exhibition is open from April 1st to October 31st, from 9.00 am to 5 pm (Mondays and some of holidays excluded).
The admission only after prior notification at the Visitors Service Center of State Museum at Majdanek.