Meeting XXVI Session: 10-11 June 2014
The 26th session of the International Auschwitz Council was held 10-11 June 2014 in Oświęcim under the chairmanship of Władysław Bartoszewski.
Members of the Council listened to the report of the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum from the previous months following the last session. Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński pointed out, among others, a worrying downward trend in terms of trips from Polish schools, also recorded in other Memorial Sites at former concentration and extermination camps.
As regards the activity of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, declarations on the part of donors, mainly the different countries of the world amounted to 101 million euros; of which nearly 70 million has already been credited to the Foundation's bank accounts. Director Cywiński further presented the state of preparation for the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Members of the Council decided that the management of the Museum and the IAC will handle invitations, at the same time emphasizing the international nature of the event. The Council also agreed that besides the welcome speech and honorary patronage of the President of Poland as the host, there shall be no political speeches, as the focus must be on former prisoners. Members of the IAC also stressed that the celebration should strongly emphasize the responsibility of future generations to the memory of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Holocaust.
During the session, the Director of the Museum in Majdanek, Tomasz Kranz and Dariusz Pawłos from the Foundation for Polish-German Reconciliation discussed the state of work on the project of new memorial at Sobibor while Dr. Anna Ziółkowska presented information on the progress of work at the Memorial Site in Chełmno on the Ner River (Kulmhof).
The Council unanimously adopted two resolutions. The first concerns the resurgence of extremist ideology in Europe:
Barely 70 years after the liberation of the last prisoners of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau camp extremist ideologies are being revived in many countries both in the West and East Europe. The International Auschwitz Council, holding its meeting in a place that symbolizes the crimes of xenophobia, racial hatred, genocide and the Holocaust - observes with an extraordinary concern the intensification of ideologies alluding to racist slogans, anti-Semitic and anti-Roma and in essence anti-human. The Council appeals to societies and governments - especially in countries where extremists have achieved success in recent elections to the European Parliament - to unequivocally condemn and effectively counteract these alarming trends.
The second resolution concerns the drastic drop in the number of visits of Polish school groups to the Memorial Sites:
The International Auschwitz Council, having acquainted themselves with the drastic drop in the number of visits of Polish school groups in all Memorials Sites: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Gross-Rosen, Kulmhof, Majdanek, Sobibor, Stutthof i Treblinka; and aware of the negative impact of changes to the history curriculum in Polish schools; points with concern to the fact that Poland is one of very few big nations in Europe that does not have any system of financing trips for the youth to Memorial Sites; and expects that the Polish Prime Minister, Mr. Donald Tusk, will order the Ministry of Education - in consultation with the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage - to urgently and seriously analyse the problem and create a permanent mechanism for organizing trips to the Memorial Sites, which will revert the Polish youth to actively become familiar with the most dreadful crime of World War II.