Scientific Research at SUM Focuses on the Conservation of Auschwitz-Birkenau Artifacts

    Researchers from the Silesian University of Medical Sciences (SUM) are conducting studies on the conservation of exhibits to preserve the memory of the victims of the Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The 79th anniversary of the camp’s liberation occurred on January 27.

    The university emphasizes the obligation of future generations to protect cultural heritage. The research aims to safeguard documents, drawings, and clothing collected at the camp.

    Dr. Dorota Rybitwa, a SUM doctoral student and a researcher at the conservation workshops of the State Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in Oświęcim, successfully defended her dissertation on the preservation of historical objects. Her work explored the potential use of laser radiation for disinfecting museum objects.

    “In the dissertation, analyses were conducted regarding the use of laser radiation for the disinfection of museum objects,” noted Prof. Sławomir Wilczyński, Head of the Department of Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Sosnowiec, who has collaborated extensively with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.

    Dr. Rybitwa’s research also examined the application of penicillin and streptomycin to combat bacteria on historical materials.

    “Laser irradiation is performed on objects indicated by conservators, assessing their state of damage or colonization by bacteria,” added Prof. Wilczyński.

    The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum houses a vast collection of movable objects, including shoes, suitcases, pots, prosthetics, camp clothing, artworks, and extensive archival documents. The new research laboratory at the Conservation Workshops aims to document, assess, and preserve the historical substance of artifacts.

    The collaboration between SUM and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum focuses on preserving the truth embedded in every object, ensuring its durability through modern scientific methods.

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