The first Honorary Consuls of the Auschwitz Museum Diplomacy of Remembrance network appointed
On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, two first Auschwitz Memorial Honorary Consuls were appointed. Maria Zalewska from the United States and Enrique de Villamor y Soraluce from Spain will act on behalf of the Diplomacy of Remembrance network developed by the Museum.
“All over the world, there are many people ready to support us. They only need a little subject-related assistance. We are thus developing our own network of cultural diplomacy, named by us the Diplomacy of Remembrance. We appoint individuals representing us in some countries in order to make it easier for teachers or activists to carry out projects related to Auschwitz and our mission. A few months ago, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Institute was established for this purpose, with its aim to build the network”, said Piotr Cywiński, Museum Director.
Maria Zalewska, Ph.D., will be the Auschwitz Memorial Honorary Consul in the United States. She is a researcher involved in the subject of the media and Holocaust remembrance. She acts as interim director of the American Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation and holds a doctorate in pedagogic studies at the Division of Cinema and Media Studies of the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts.
“I believe that we are the individuals that construct bridges between the past and the present. We are educators, historians, we organize communities, trying to share with new generations the history of the Holocaust”, said Maria Zalewska.
Álvaro Enrique de Villamor y Soraluce obtained the title of Honorary Consul of the Auschwitz-Birkenau in Spain. He is the founder of the Association for European Culture and Tradition (APTCE) with the mission of promoting and supporting the cooperation in favour of developing European values and common identity. For several years he has been organizing study trips to Poland and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial.
“It is a great honour and distinction for me to take part in the new Diplomacy of Remembrance project. We share one mission. Education about tragic past of the war, Auschwitz and the Holocaust enables us on one hand to understand the meaning of this catastrophe as well as to arouse in people the need to reflect on our current life and responsibility, on the meaning of peace and democracy in our common Europe and the world”, he said.
According to Maria Ossolińska, Head of the Diplomacy of Remembrance, Auschwitz should in the modern world serve as a huge warning: “This is the warning against antisemitism, racism, xenophobia, all forms of dehumanization and organized hatred. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, the universal dimension of human history goes beyond the borders of authentic post-camp space”.
“For this reason, this subject needs to be present in education and public debate all over the world, for the sake of remembrance, but also to shape the attitudes of responsibility and involvement in healing the world. Honorary ambassadors and consuls are going to support us in this”, she added.