Ministerial support will enable an investment that will develop education and volunteering at the Memorial
Thanks to the promise of the Polish Ministry of Culture, National Heritage, and Sport of almost 21,5 million zlotys it will be possible to erect the hostel together with its necessary infrastructure near the new Auschwitz Memorial Visitor Services Center, currently under construction.
In 2019 the Museum obtained half of the funds necessary for the project from private donors. The Ministry's decision will guarantee the completion of this crucial project intended to serve the education and the development of volunteering activities.
“Thorough analyses clearly state that the main factor hindering the development of educational sessions at the Memorial scheduled to last several days consists in the availability of affordable accommodation for the visitors in the immediate vicinity of the site. Similar limitations influence negatively also the volunteering work, as for many students willing to devote part of their free time to support our mission, hotel prices many times constituted the barrier impossible to overcome,” said Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Museum Director.
“Thanks to this decision of the Deputy Prime Minister Professor Piotr Gliński, representing utmost importance to us and concerning the securing of funds for the implementation of the project, it will be possible to create the necessary infrastructure crucial for conducting in-depth educational and volunteering projects within a long-term perspective”, he emphasized.
“The established accommodation base will make it possible for the participants of longer study visits, seminars, postgraduate students as well as conference participants to reduce the costs of taking part in educational programs organized by us,” said Andrzej Kacorzyk, Director of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.
“We all believe that by the end of 2023, a difficult pandemic situation will be under control, and the number of visitors will come back to its average. Thanks to the project which is now being inaugurated, we are prepared for these challenges not only from the subject-related perspective but also when it comes to the infrastructure,” he said.
Ronald S. Lauder, the Chairman of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation, the President of the World Jewish Congress, and a long-time donor and supporter of the Memorial, donated $5 million for the implementation of the project. “The only way we can prevent another Shoah is through education and ensuring that as many people as possible bear witness to this terrible place where the worst atrocities known to mankind occurred,” Ronald S. Lauder said.
Similarly, Joel and Ulrika Citron, who have supported the Museum’s preservation efforts for years, donated $500,000 to the project. Joel Citron, the vice-chairman of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation, stated: “This is being done so that we may speak loudly to honor those who perished and those who survived. This is being done so that we speak clearly today and in the future. This is being done so that we stand up firmly against antisemitism and bigotry.”
Each year, the Museum prepares a number of several-day educational projects. The accommodation base will allow for an essential reduction of the costs of organization of such programs and participation in them, thus ensuring better availability of educational programs for a broader range of their addressees. The hostel will also be ready to accommodate several hundred volunteers and interns at the Memorial Site.
“Facilities forming part of the project were designed by the Kozień Architekci design studio within the framework of the competition for developing the solution for the new visitor service centre. The tender for the general contractor is planned to be announced in mid-2021,” said Katarzyna Oboza-Ziarko who supervises the investment.
The project is supposed to be completed in 2023.