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British recognition for the director of the Auschwitz Memorial and a special appeal


Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz Museum and the president of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, has been names Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.


British recognition...
British recognition...
British recognition...

The official presentation took place on 25 October in Warsaw during a session of the International Committee of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.

Director Cywiński received the honor from Her Excellency Anna Clunes, the Ambassador of Great Britain to Poland, and Lord Eric Pickles, the Special Envoy of the United Kingdom for Post-Holocaust Issues, who sits on the International Committee of the Foundation.

In expressing his gratitude for the recognition, Director Cywiński emphasized that he wanted to use this special occasion to make a particular appeal: ‘On this day, I would like to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilian hostages held in Gaza. This must be the first step in building peace in the Middle East.’

Ambassador Anna Clunes mentioned that she first visited the Auschwitz Memorial in 1998 but still vividly remembers the experience of being at the authentic site: ‘When I returned to Poland in 2020 as an ambassador, I visited the Museum during the pandemic, when there were almost no visitors. It made a huge impression on me. I did not expect the impact to be so strong. I remember conversations with the director and the Museum team about the special role of a person who comes to this place every day, who dedicates their professional life to preserving the memory of what happened.’

‘Your work and that of your colleagues have greatly inspired me. It is important to convey this history, to understand why it should never happen again in today's world. I am truly proud that on behalf of the United Kingdom, we can appreciate how you run the Museum,’ she emphasized.

‘The Order of the British Empire is not awarded often. It is also a very rare form of recognition for individuals outside of the United Kingdom. It is granted not because people do their jobs, but because they do their jobs in an exceptional way. Poland is the curator of former German camps, and I believe that the Auschwitz Memorial fulfills a unique mission in providing an understanding of the past," said Lord Eric Pickles.

‘Every year, two students from each high school in the United Kingdom visit the Auschwitz Memorial as part of the Holocaust education program. The way the Museum welcomes these young people and the way it preserves the truth is truly exceptional. And we will need that truth when the last survivors are no longer with us.’

The Order of the British Empire is a British honor awarded for contributions in the fields of art and science, work in charitable organizations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on June 4, 1917, by King George V.

The United Kingdom is one of the donor countries to the Endowment Fund of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, which aims to preserve the authenticity of the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz. British support has amounted to 3.1 million pounds, and among the Foundation's donors is also London.