The Ambitions of the SS in the East: Visualizing the Built Environment of Auschwitz
Wed, March 20, 2013 • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM • GAR 1.102
A lecture by Paul Jaskot (DePaul University).
The Central Building Office at Auschwitz was for its time one of the largest architectural offices in Europe with over 150 architects and engineers employed as well as an equal number of forced-labor draftsmen. It was these architects that literally built the infrastructure of imperialist expansion in the East as well as the brutal complementary structures of genocide.
This talk analyzes the imperial ambitions of the SS as well as its ideological promotion of genocide as interrelated goals both revealed and concealed by the architecture of the camp. In addition, building off of his current work on digitally mapping the site (coauthored with Anne Kelly Knowles), Jaskot asks what is at stake for art history and an understanding of the Holocaust in a political history of architecture at Auschwitz and its 1000+ vernacular structures.
Paul Jaskot is Professor of Art History at DePaul University and the Director of the Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization at Northwestern University. He has published widely on modern German art and architecture, most recently in The Nazi Perpetrator: Postwar German Art and the Politics of the Right (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012). This talk draws on an earlier book, The Architecture of Oppression: The SS, Forced Labor and the Nazi Monumental Building Economy (London: Routledge, 2000).