‘If Not for Those Ten...’ – Awards for Volunteers of the Memorial


On the 67th anniversary of establishing The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the ‘If Not for Those Ten...’ awards were handed out. This honourable mention by the Director of the Museum was awarded to volunteers and representatives of the institutions supporting the voluntary work in the Memorial.

During the ceremony, Andrzej Kacorzyk, director of The International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, thanked all volunteers for their considerable contribution to preserving the remembrance about Auschwitz. “67 years ago, Polish Parliament decided to establish the Museum on the site of former German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp. The Museum was established on the initiative of the former prisoners who acknowledged that the remembrance of this place needs to be sustained. This task is handed down from generation to generation. This is the reason for the essential role of the young volunteers, who, in fact, are the link in the chain of remembrance. I am glad that you are with us,” he said.

Last year nearly 300 volunteers and trainees were helping in the Museum. They worked at various parts of the Museum, such as the conservation laboratories, the Centre for Education or Publications. The volunteers also support the Memorial by completing tasks such as translation and proofreading.

“Some of them continue long-term programmes; for example, students of Volkswagen Group Academies, schools from the Hanover area that take part in the project “Spotkania oświęcimskie” (Oświęcim meetings), as well as high schools and secondary schools in Oświęcim. There is also a group of volunteers who, on their own, have decided to commit their time and skills to helping in various ways,” said Katarzyna Marcak, Head of the Volunteers Bureau.

“Last year in the Museum we had volunteers from Poland, Germany, the USA, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Canada and Italy,” added Marcak.

The ‘If Not for Those Ten…’ award given by the Director of The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is awarded once a year on the anniversary of establishing the Museum on 2 July 1947. This is a token of gratitude towards those who contribute to preserving the remembrance of Auschwitz with their work and activity. The award is given to volunteers and co-ordinators of voluntary jobs that have stood out with their exemplary work. The reward is in the form of a glass statuette with an official letter attached to it. On the obverse of the statuette there is an inscription in Polish and English: If not for those ten...

Winners of the ‘If Not for Those Ten…’ Director’s Award in 2014:

Grzegorz Chwierut:

helped inter alia with preparing the opening of the newest Jewish exhibition, as well as with organising the meeting of the International Auschwitz Committee in June. Additionally, he co-operated with exhibitors and the press office.

Damian Daszkiewicz:

for over half a year he has been volunteering during exhibitions. He participated inter alia in preparation of temporary exhibitions, and prepared photographic documentation of two national exhibitions. He also helped with the exhibition of works in Block 7, as well as with preparations for the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Kinga Głozak-Zeman:

since 2010, she has been the co-ordinator of the historic voluntary service in Zespół Szkół No. 1 in Oświęcim. Together with her students, she has participated several times in anniversaries of the liberation, and assisted in organisation of those events. The pupils of the junior high school who came as volunteers have very good historical knowledge, and – despite their young age – behave responsibly and are truly engaged in the tasks they perform.

Piotr Kolasiński:

during his time at the conservation laboratory he assisted, inter alia, in digitalisation of archive materials, translations, and field works. He also helped with photographic and descriptive documentation. Additionally, his knowledge was helpful for the Collections department during the consultation period for the description of items in the inventory.

Monika Pastuszka-Nędza:

volunteer since December 2012. Permanently working in the Research Centre, but always eager to engage in various works for the Museum. She provided assistance during the organisation of the liberation of Auschwitz anniversaries, during which she took care of a group of former prisoners.

Kamilla Przysiecki:

in 2012 a trainee; in 2013 a volunteer at the Memorial. During the International Summer School, she interpreted the majority of workshops for educational projects of the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust into German. Additionally, she prepared materials for the participants. Even now Kamila often proofreads some of the German texts, and she is still helping at the Centre for Education.

Joanna Rodziewicz:

volunteer at the Memorial between April and September 2013. She helped, among others, with works at the library, archives, secretary’s office, conservation laboratory, and the volunteers’ bureau. She performed translations and took care of a group of students from Cologne and volunteers from the USA. She helped organise the meeting of International Auschwitz Council in June 2013.

Claus Dieter Schütte:

co-ordinator of arrivals of youth groups from Hanover. The young people that are taken care of by Mr. Schütte are students of vocational schools from Germany and Oświęcim; they help inter alia in the conservation laboratory. The students who take part in the project are usually young people considered to show some difficulties, who are problematic in terms of behaviour and have educational issues. Working at the Memorial is of great importance for them, and, often enough, it changes their behaviour.

Małgorzata Seńków:

volunteer at the Museum in the years 2006 – 2011. During that time, she was deeply involved in the educational project entitled ‘Spoken History’, during which she recorded interviews with former prisoners, as well as transcribed them. Furthermore, she monitored the media for information about the Memorial.

Dominika Wójcik:

her tasks included transcription and working on interviews with former prisoners, as well as translating the texts. She also assisted in preparations for the celebration of the 65th and 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, as well as during the meetings of International Auschwitz Council. Additionally, she helped develop the database for nine volumes of ‘Memorial Books’. She participated in sessions and educational conferences, as well as taking care of and assisting with temporary exhibitions.