Abiotic Determinants of the Historical Buildings Biodeterioration in the Former Auschwitz II - Birkenau Concentration and Extermination Camp


Piotrowska M, Otlewska A, Rajkowska K, Koziróg A, Hachułka M, Nowicka-Krawczyk P, Wolski GJ, Gutarowska B, Kunicka-Styczyńska A, Zydzik-Białek A.
PLoS One. 2014 Oct 3;9(10):e109402.


The paper presents the results of a study conducted at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Os´wie˛cim on the occurrence of biodeterioration. Visual assessment of the buildings revealed signs of deterioration of the buildings in the form of dampness, bulging and crumbling plaster, and wood fiber splitting. The external surfaces, and especially the concrete strips and ground immediately adjoining the buildings, were colonized by bryophytes, lichens, and algae. These organisms developed most intensively close to the ground on the northern sides of the buildings. Inside the buildings, molds and bacteria were not found to develop actively, while algae and wood-decaying fungi occurred locally. The factors conducive to biological corrosion in the studied buildings were excessive dampness of structural partitions close to the ground and a relative air humidity of above 70%, which was connected to ineffective moisture insulation. The influence of temperature was smaller, as it mostly affected the quantitative composition of the microorganisms and the qualitative composition of the algae. Also the impact of light was not very strong, but it was conducive to algae growth.