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Events

09.03.2021 | 19.00 Uhr

Architecture as Evidence – The Case of Auschwitz

Online lecture by Robert Jan van Pelt

The event will take place online via the platform “Zoom”. Please register here.


“Architecture as Evidence” discusses the conception, construction and reception of “The Evidence Room” (TER), a 50 sqm large installation first presented at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. This room goes back to a libel trial held twenty years ago in London that pitted a British Holocaust denier, as the plaintiff, against an American historian and her publisher. As the plaintiff had embraced Holocaust denial based on a sloppy forensic investigation done in the ruins of the Auschwitz crematoria by an American engineer specialized in maintaining execution equipment, the defense needed to do its own forensic investigation. The defense investigated both, the engineer’s work, and the evidence provided by the crematoria ruins as well as the substantial archival documentation that survived in Polish and Russian archives. Canadian architectural historian Robert Jan van Pelt served as the defense’s expert witness on matters concerning Auschwitz. His expert report, published in 2002 in a modified form as “The Case for Auschwitz”, provided the scholarly basis for the exhibition develope by himself, architects Anne Bordeleau and Donald McKay, independent art consultant Sascha Hastings, and a group of University of Waterloo architecture students. TER questions our relation to truth and certainty, to time and to history. As material witnesses, these objects on display and the room as a whole grant the possibility to feel what we think and yet could never quite fathom.


Robert Jan van Pelt is an architectural historian, author of numerous books and an internationally recognized authority on the history of Auschwitz. He taught at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture since 1987, and held appointments at many institutions of higher education worldwide.



Venue Platform “Zoom“

Registration at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PT73QwQHTd2RVKzL3m9z9Q

Admission free

Organiser Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism




Photo: Interior perspective of “The Evidence Room.” | © Fred Hunsberger, University of Waterloo School of Architecture

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