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Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, at the Auschwitz Memorial


On 22 January Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, visited the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum. The guest was welcomed by Andrzej Kacorzyk, Deputy Director of the Museum, Head of the International Center of Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.


Frans Timmermans visited an important fragment of the Museum exposition, among others Block 4 devoted to the extermination, where for example German photographs documenting the arrival of a transport of Jews from Hungary can be found, together with the model of gas chamber and crematorium II from Birkenau, Zyklon B tins as well as human hair cut from the victims’ heads. In Block 5 the guest had the opportunity to see personal belongings of the victims found in warehouses after the liberation of the camp. They include among others shoes, suitcases, glasses, brushes or kitchen utensils.

What is more, Vice-President of the European Commission visited Block 3, the conservation of which was possible thanks to European Union funds as well as the building of the first gas chamber and crematorium in Auschwitz I. The guest laid a wreath under the Death Wall in the yard of Block 11, where executions by shooting used to take place, thus paying homage to all victims of this German Nazi concentration and extermination camp. He also left his entry in the book of remembrance.

“The voices whisper wherever you walk in this place of horror: 'Here us. We lived, we loved, we laughed. Never forget us. Never forget to talk about us. We were like you.' This is what I hear and feel. This is where Europe visited the darkest places of hell. This is where Europe lost track of its basic values, its humanity. And this is the place upon which a new Europe was built. Based on fundamental values, human dignity."

Frans Timmermans devoted the second part of his visit to former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, where he saw among others the unloading and selection ramp, where the German used to perform the selection of Jews deported to the camp, as well as the ruins of gas chamber and crematorium II. He also lit a candle by the monument commemorating camp victims.

At present, two projects co-financed from the European Union funds are realized within the Auschwitz Museum: “Adaptation of the "Old Theatre” building for the activity of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust by Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim” as well as “Improving the access to cultural resources by extending the visit route of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum with post-camp space of Schlachthaus and Molkerei buildings together with the reconstruction of the cinema hall”.