33rd Session of the International Auschwitz Council

Mateusz Szczepaniak, 17th November 2017
The 33rd session of the International Auschwitz Council, chaired by Professor Barbara Engelking, was held on 13th November in the Offices of the Prime Minister in Warsaw. Members of the Council who took part in the session included Director of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Professor Dariusz Stola and Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Jarosław Sellin. During the session, the Council passed two resolutions.

Subjects raised during the Session included events connected with the 70th anniversary of the opening of the State Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum on the site of Auschwitz, the former Nazi German comcentration and extermination camp, a summary of the Council's six-year term activities and an analysis of the future challenges facing memorial sites located in Poland.

In response to growing racist moods, Council members made this appeal to European governments::

With immense anxiety, the International Auschwitz Council has observed the revival of racist and antisemitic attitudes and the rush of hate speech and aggressive nationalism into the public space. Knowing the tragic history of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Council is in no doubt as to where this can lead. We therefore appeal to the governments of Europe to respond with determined and effective counter-activity.

In relation to the attacks on Władysław Bartoszewski, the Council's first Chairman, the Council declared:

The International Auschwitz Council strongly protests, to the Prime Minister of Poland, against the defamatory attacks directed at the good name of the late Władysław Bartoszewski, the chief architect and long-term Chairman of our Council. Misrepresenting and mocking the suffering of a prisoner is a disgraceful attack on the memory of all victims of the German Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. With regard to Oświęcim, every lie strikes at the post-war, moral order of the world.

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The Internation Auschwitz Council was established in January 2000 to replace the International Council of the State Auschwitz-Birkenau Council which began activity in 1990. It is a consultative-advisory body to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland on the protection, not only of the former German Nazi Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, but also on other memorial sites. The Council's first Chairman was the late Władysław Bartoszewski - a prisoner of Auschwitz, a Home Army (AK) soldier, a member of the Council to Aid Jews "Żegota” and a Righteous Among the Nations.

Read Władysław Bartoszewski's story