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In the shadow of war. Bydgoszcz and its residents during World War Two

The exhibition was prepared on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two falling this year, based on the museum’s own collections and external. The exhibition is a historical travel around occupied Bydgoszcz, divided into three stages.

In the first part of the exhibition (room on the ground floor) visitors are introduced into the atmosphere of the everyday life in the 1930’s, through presentation of common, often from one generation to the next, existence of Poles and Germans. Starting from the year 1933, there was a gradual exacerbation of Polish-German relations, broken up completely with the outbreak of the war on September 1, 1939. The seizure of the city by the Nazis on September 5, 1939 was preceded by mutual aggression obtained at the price of casualties of both fighting parties. The beginning of the Nazi occupation was a time of accusations, destructions and terror initiated by the new authorities:  roundups, arrests, executions, internments, displacements.

The second part of the exhibition (staircase) present the first days of the war, when bombing raids started in Bydgoszcz. Many residents of the city decided to evacuate. The forced migration and movement of the people is presented symbolically in the form of human silhouettes on the walls, whereas changes in the architectural images of the city on the Brda River are shown in the form of photographs and a multimedia presentation.

The last part of the exhibition starts with orders informing about introduction of German administration. Reality of the everyday life of Bydgoszcz at that time is shown through the eyes of Germans – the occupiers and Polish people – the occupied. Photographs in the central part of the exhibition room document destruction of the architectural tissue, both planned and being the result of unforeseen warfare. The wandering of Bydgoszcz residents is depicted by exhibits connected with people fighting in the front lines of World War Two, sent to concentration, labour and forced labour camps. The culminating point of the historical travel is the liberation of Bydgoszcz in January of the year 1945.


Designed: Jimpenny / Programmed: FreshData