The exhibition “Young women in KL Ravensbrück” is devoted to 74 young Polish women, who in the German concentration camp were subjected to pseudo medical experiments. They were made on Lublin and Warsaw female political prisoners by German doctors. 70 girls went through the heavy prison in the Castle, and 4 through the Pawiak prison. As the prisoners from Lublin mentioned, their fate was decided already in Lublin, in the Gestapo detention house “Under the Clock”, where they were brutally interrogated.
The exhibition presents two worlds – of youthful freedom and hell in the camp. The joy in the first part is illustrated by rich iconography depicting girls during the pre-war times. The second section consists of original camp letters written with sympathetic ink (urine) by prisoners who were operated on. Due to the secret letters, visitors learn not only about the pseudo medical experiments, but also about the situation in the camp. The other very important testimony is provided by photographs of prisoners showing the operated legs. To complete the section, shocking iconography of the wounded legs of the Polish young women is displayed. This documentation was made after World War II by the Polish commission researching the German crimes. One can also study a list of the victims with their short biographical notes, camp numbers and the types of operation. Moreover, biographies of German doctors conducting the surgeries are shown.
The young women, to disconnect from the camp reality, tried to be faithful to their previous pledges. They helped each other at work, organised food, medicines, collected information about the camp and passed them to the prisoners writing secret letters. The girls conducted sabotage activities and were involved in the cultural life of the camp. In the time intended for rest, they studied. Small sculptures made of toothbrushes or other gained material were widely created. In KL Ravensbrűck, the prisoners also wrote poetry.
In the late 1950s, due to the involvement of the American politicians, including the ones of the Polish origin, a trip of former prisoners for medical treatment to the USA was organised, as well as small compensations from Germany were obtained. The women visited the White House and the United Nations.
Today, knowledge about the German concentration camp Ravensbrűck, and in particular about the operated young women, is limited, not only among Poles.
The exhibition shows a small segment of the camp’s functioning. Its aim is not to show the German cruelty, but to strengthen the hope that these tragic events are is never repeated.