The International Auschwitz Council
The International Council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was established in 1990 under a ruling by the minister of culture and art. The minister nominated world-renowned authorities on the concentration camps and the Holocaust as members of the Council.
The chairman was Professor Władysław Bartoszewski, former Auschwitz prisoner, co-founder of the clandestine Zegota organization set up to aid the Jews in Poland during the Second World War, historian, writer, and, at the time, Polish ambassador in Vienna. The role of the council was advisory and promotional, and the Council aided the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in its various activities.
The Council examined specific issues connected with the functioning of the Museum and evaluated exhibitions, publications, films, guidebooks, and all other modes of presenting the former camp. The Council also discussed preservation tasks and played a role in fund-raising, especially among the European states that appropriated funds for specific projects at the site of the concentration camp.
In January 2000, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland announced the establishment of a new Auschwitz Council, which assumed the responsibilities of the existing body. Under the new arrangement, the Council advises the President of the Council of Ministers in regard to the preservation and functioning not only of the Auschwitz site, but of other Holocaust Memorials as well. Members serve terms of six years. The chairman of the Auschwitz Council is Senator Władysław Bartoszewski, who was chairman of the International Council of the Museum.
Premier Jerzy Buzek officially nominated the members of the International Auschwitz Council in the Collonade Hall of the Office of the President of the Council of Ministers on June 7, 2000. During the ceremony, Prime Minister Buzek said : "I believe that working together to prreserve for posterity the tragic heritage of the Nazi policy of the extermination of the Polish people and the Destruction of the Jewish people will serve the cause of reconciliation and mutual understanding, and that the ongoing cooperation among experts, researchers, and people who enjoy public esteem and trust will contribute to overcoming stereotypes and prejudices by bearing shared witness to the truth about those horrible times."