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Entering through the boundary wall the axial view is framed through the burial field toward the memorial wall. 3

The inlaid cast-iron relief, the Square, entrance of the burial field.

The Belzec Cemetery continues a powerful tradition of monuments that literally build upon the horror of past events. Instead of shying away from the scale of the atrocity - be it a killing field, a battlefield, the site of a massacre or in this case the site of a former Nazi death camp - such monuments reuse often vast areas of land in an attempt to freeze history, cast in stone the scale of lost life, and to make something strangely beautiful and moving from something that derives from absolute evil. Haunting and mysterious, such places use abstract expressionism to capture negative energy and transform it into something with new life. Avoiding conventional, religious or morbid symbolism, sculptors, fine artists, poets and architects trace lines of meaning within the landscape to plot their story through space.

Here in 1942, at Belzec, south west of Tomaszow Lubelski, a former Nazi work camp was turned into a six-hectare death camp. Almost unfathomably, during the 9-month period that year from March to December, over 600 000 people were murdered; Jews from the south Polish ghettos, Bohemia and Germany together with Poles accused of aiding the Jews were among the victims. Only two people ever escaped.

Following a design competition in 1997, sculptors Andrzej Solyga, Zdzislaw Pidek and Marcin Roszczyk set about transforming the six-hectare site in collaboration with architects from DDJM. Their developed competition-winning scheme comprised three elements: the monument, a museum building, and an exhibition.

The dominant form of the monument occupies most of the large rectangular site centring on an oblique crevice or path that dissects the monumental burial ground. The path cuts through the gently rising surface of the cemetery, a black ash burial field, within which mass graves are

[Architecture.Ebook] The Architectural Rl

1(2002-2005)

site plan (scale approx 1:2000)

db site plan (scale approx 1:2000)

north/south section through burial field plan of museum section through museum building

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