Meeting XX: November 23, 2010
Four important resolutions resulted from the 20th session of the International Auschwitz Council, held at the Chancellery of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers in Warsaw on November 23. First, the members of the board heard a report by the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Dr. Piotr Cywiński, covering the period since the last session and including the issues of flood protection, the progress of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, and the increasing financial difficulties facing the Museum.
Director Cywiński also reported on the conservation work in preparation for the reassembly of the damaged Arbeit macht frei inscription. He added that expert analysis is tending towards the view that the reassembled inscription should be displayed indoors, while leaving the copy over the gate. Next, the International Auschwitz Council passed the first resolution of the day on protecting the grounds at the Birkenau site from the flooding of the Vistula by way of building new levees and installing a pumping station on the Pławianka. This project would significantly enhance flood protection for the site of the camps while also making it possible to maintain the height of the dykes along the Pławianka—known in the camp as the Koenigsgraben—at their historical height.
In their second resolution, the members of the IAC appealed to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Polish Republic for as prompt a response as possible to the suggestions made by the Chairman and Secretary of the IAC on changes to the system of financing museums at the sites of concentration camps and extermination centers. The extremely alarming financial predicament of such institutions should be altered no later than in the provisions of the budget for 2012, the resolution says.
Director Cywiński also outlined the largest capital investment projects at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum for the coming years. These include a new reception area on the former grounds of the bus garage, headquarters for the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust in the Old Theater building, the new main exhibition, the conservation of brick barracks at Birkenau, and a protective system for the grounds of the Stammlager and Birkenau.
During the session, the International Auschwitz Council also discussed the role and future of the former grounds of the Birkenau camp and listened to reports on the work and most pressing needs of the Stutthof Museum in Sztutowo and the State Museum at Majdanek.
The next session of the Council is scheduled for June 2011 in Oświęcim.