ZAMEK Culture Centre

ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE \ RASSENHYGIENE \ exhibition


Dorota Nieznalska at ZAMEK Culture Centre: A Summing-Up of the Residency

Following the invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939, and the annexation of the western part of the country, the SS race and settlement experts directed their attention to the population of that territory and the Volksdeutsche who came there from Eastern Europe. As part of ethnic restructuring planned by Himmler and his associates, large-scale expulsion and resettlement of indigenous inhabitants were carried out, along with equally extensive racial studies. They encompassed several million people and had a decisive impact on the launch of the “final solution”. Nearly half a million Jews living in western Poland were murdered in Auschwitz or on location, in the mobile gas chambers in Chełmno nad Nerem, or in the extermination camps in the General Government. Still, the extermination of Jews was to be only a horrifying prelude to the “Germanization of territories incorporated into the Reich”. A considerable proportion of the Polish population were “liquidated”, “resettled”, or designated for slave labour.

Dorota Nieznalska’s project consisted in a comprehensive archival research (chiefly at the branches of the Institute of National Remembrance across Poland, the Institute for Western Affairs and the National Archives in Poznań) concerning the activities of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office and the Lebensborn e.V. association, focusing particularly on the studies conducted by these institutions in the so-called Land of the Warta River (Reichsgau Wartheland). The material evidence she discovered, such as racial surveys and photographs of children--which the research targeted in the main—provided a point of departure for the installation entitled Rassenhygiene.

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