Meeting XI: 21 February 2006
Polish prime minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz attended the final session during the present term of office of the International Auschwitz Council on February 27, 2006. The meeting covered ongoing affairs at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and a summing-up of the Council’s six-year tenure. Marcinkiewicz thanked the current members and presented them with diplomas to mark their membership.“I am convinced that all the issues that are important for the International Council will continue to be handled in a way that prompts remembrance on the one hand, and that looks to the future on the other. Remembrance has tremendous significance in building a good future,” said the Prime Minister.
The Museum directorate presented its report on the year 2005. Matters discussed included the national pavilions, including the new Jewish pavilion. Plans for the erection of the Remembrance and Reconciliation Mound were also discussed, as was the upcoming pilgrimage to Poland by Pope Benedict XVI. Professor Władysław Bartoszewski received the Arnold Mostowicz honorary statuette in recognition of his services in combating xenophobia, promoting humanistic values, defending Poland’s image in the international arena, and fostering coexistence between the Polish and Jewish peoples. The statuette is awarded by the Association of Jewish World War II Veterans and Victims.
Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz thanked the Council members for their years of hard work, the efforts they had undertaken, and the results they had achieved. “I am convinced that the Council will function equally well in the next term,” he said. “The government has tried, and will continue trying, to do everything possible so that the matters proper to the Council will be pursued in a way that is good not only for remembrance and history, but also for the present and the future.” He also spoke about the necessity of creating conditions that enable the International Center for Teaching about Auschwitz and the Holocaust to function in an appropriate way. “This is a task for my government. I am convinced that it can be accomplished with the help of the International Auschwitz Council.”
The Council, a body that advises the chairman of the Polish council of ministers, has 25 members from countries in Europe and elsewhere who serve a 6-year term. During the term now ending, they have played a key role in defusing conflicts involving the Auschwitz site, creating the International Center for Teaching about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, updating practices at the Museum, increasing the number of restoration projects, clarifying for UNESCO the disputes over the surroundings of the site, and scheduling the events that marked the 60th anniversary of liberation.