Auschwitz Museum awarded a Gold Medal of Honour for Contribution to the Małopolska Province
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was awarded a Gold Medal of Honour for Contribution to the Małopolska (Lesser Poland) Province. The decision was unanimously adopted by the councillors of the Małopolska Regional Council. The ceremonial presentation of the medal of honour was held on 16 June during a gala at the Słowacki Theatre in Cracow.
'I would like to dedicate this award to all persons, who work daily at the Museum to make it possible for visitors all across the globe to see and learn the history of this tragic place. The fact that we are considered one of the most important museums in the world, and the fact that last year the Memorial was visited by over 2 million people, does not come from nowhere. It is a credit to the hard work of the staff of nearly 700 people: from conservators through museologists, researchers and educator-guides, to all the security personnel, visitor service and technical staff,' said director Dr. Piotr M. A. ywiński, while receiving the award from the provincial governor Jacek Krupa.
'They are all very devoted to this place, and a majority of them come from Małopolska, which is important in the context of this honourable award. The fact that the Małopolska province has appreciated them now, in the year of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, is very nice and pleasing to me and the entire staff of the Memorial,' he stressed.
In the justification for awarding the Medal of Honour, we read: "The Museum is a living monument to the tragic period of human history. It is recognized all over the world, and is an inextricable part of the historical landscape of Małopolska. The main activities of the Museum include, the preservation of the former camp remains, commemoration of victims and organization of scientific and educational activities. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is a leading partner for many institutions around the world that deals with the history of the Holocaust and concentration camps. This year, it celebrates the 70th anniversary of its activities."
On 2 July 1947, subject to an act of the Polish Parliament the state Museum was created on the area of two preserved German Nazi concentration and extermination camps: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. In 1979, it was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The contemporary Memorial Site includes the Collections, Archives, as well as the research, conservation and publishing centres. In 2005, at the request of former prisoners, the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust was established at the Museum. Last year, the Auschwitz Memorial was visited by over 2 million people from all over the world.
Medals of Honour for services to the Małopolska Province have been awarded since 2011 by the regional council to persons and institutions that have particularly contributed to the development of Małopolska at various levels of activities, including Social, economic and cultural, among others. Until now, the gold medals have been awarded to the following: Card. Franciszek Macharski, Marek Nawara (first marshal of Małopolska Province - posthumously), Card. Stanisław Dziwisz, Wisława Szymborska, Krzysztof Penderecki, Jagiellonian University, Royal Wawel Cathedral - Metropolitan Chapter at Wawel, Marcin Pawlak (board member of the Małopolska province. and long-time mayor of Dobczyce - posthumously) and Andrzej Wajda.