8th session of the International Committee of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation
Representatives of the donor countries supporting the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Endowment Fund met on 26 October in Warsaw for the 8th session of the International Committee. The meeting was held at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.
It was inaugurated by minister Michał Dworczyk, head of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery. The meeting was also attended by the members of the Management Board, Finance Committee as well as employees of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and representatives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Minister Michał Dworczyk thanked representatives of the donor countries. He emphasised that half of the Holocaust victims were Polish citizens of Jewish origin, and today, Poland as one of the main donors of the Foundation implements a project to care for the victims’ memory. – For anyone who visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, this experience will remain forever. The preservation of Memory about Auschwitz is our responsibility to the victims and future generations – said, Dworczyk.
During the meeting, the members of the Committee were presented with a report on the substantive activities of the Foundation, as well as the financial statements and audits for the year 2017.
During the meeting, the Deputy Director of the Museum and Vice President of the Foundation Rafał Pióro, as well as the head of the Master Plan for Preservation Agnieszka Tanistra-Różanowska summed up the status of restoration works conducted at the Auschwitz Memorial; financed by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. This year, the donation amount is estimated at 10 mln PLN.
Among the ongoing projects, the largest and most important is the conservation of brick barracks 7 and 8 located in the BIb section of the former Birkenau camp. – There, all earthworks have been completed, which aimed at restricting the effect of water on the foundations of the buildings. Currently, work is ongoing to reinforce the roof truss and bond the layers of paint. What’s more important is that the innovative technology developed by our team, for straightening brick walls with minimal interference to their original structure works well. Currently, we are at the point of bonding the layers of paint. Works at barrack no. 8 are to be completed in June next year – said, Agnieszka Tanistra.
Other projects financed by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation include, among others conservation of objects from the Museum Collections, regulation of water relations on the premises of the Birkenau camp and compilation of over 4 thousand excavation objects from the archaeological research of 1967.
– Documentation has already been prepared for works on four subsequent buildings at the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp: the bathhouse, the kitchen, one of the latrines and another prisoners’ barrack. We have also finalised tender proceedings for the conservation of the wooden barrack, works related to the ruins of the gas chamber and crematorium III changing rooms and construction of a technical road that will prevent conservation works from interfering with the movement of visitors at the Memorial – said Rafał Pióro, vice-president of the Foundation's Management Board and deputy director of the Auschwitz Museum responsible for conservation.
In turn, the president of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Piotr M.A. Cywiński, PhD appealed to the representatives of donor countries who symbolically joined the project to raise their contribution to the Endowment Fund.
Currently, the assets of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation amount to over 473 million PLN, and it is one of the largest in Poland. The financial declarations for the Endowment Fund amount to about 111 million of the planned 120 million Euro. Since 2012, the foundation has transferred approximately 27.5 million PLN for conservation works at the Memorial, derived from the profits of the Endowment Fund, which has so far been supported by a total of 39 countries and several individual donors.
– Our sincere gratitude to the authorities of the donor countries and the citizens for their commitment to the protection of the Memorial. Thank you for your support in fulfilling one of the most significant commitments that lie before us – -said Marek Zajac, chairperson of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Council. He emphasised that the yearly audit of the Foundation must operate with full transparency.
– Memory cannot exist without the truth. Every day, conservators strive to preserve the smallest fragments of Auschwitz remains. All this is possible thanks to the expertise of the Museum’s team of conservators, but this work begins with the commitment of your countries and governments. Today, we know that it is possible to preserve authenticity; that these traces will be saved thanks to you – he stressed.
The role of the International Committee of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is to ensure that the donor countries have full access to information on the activities and finances of the Foundation. The committee also serves as an advisory and consultative body. It is composed of persons recommended by individual countries.