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Light of Remembrance and gratitude for years of work


The Light of Remembrance award for outstanding contribution in the education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust was awarded to Krystyna Oleksy, the outgoing deput director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in charge of education and head of the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. The statuette, a new award established by the director of the Museum, was presented during a ceremonial farewell which finalised her 37 years of work at the Memorial Site.

“For all the years of your work, you put the memory of the victims of the camp, respect for former prisoners and the good name of the Museum before all else. Thanks to your commitment, knowledge, experience and courage, the Museum today is an institution recognised and open to the world,” said Antoni Stańczyk on behalf of the employees of the Centre for Education. “The ICEAH, which was created a few years ago, is the culmination of your nearly 40 years of work. I am positive that it will continue to evolve,” said Stańczyk.

Speaking of conservation and education as two strong pillars of the Memorial, deputy director of the Museum, Rafał Pióro, stressed the importance of education in this special place. “The preservation of this place is closely linked with education. A great many people representing various scientific fields have here a very clear mission to fulfil: to preserve this place and educate young people. In order that history will never again repeat itself,” stressed Pióro.

“During your term in office, we began cooperation with Memorial Sites from around the world, and today we are participants in discussions concerning the Holocaust and Auschwitz,” said Dorota Kuczyńska on behalf of the guides. “This place, so tragically marked by suffering and death, was represented by you with dignity and respect. With great wisdom, you informed the world of what happened in Auschwitz,” a guide spoke in appreciation.

Thanking Krystyna Oleksy for cooperation, the director of the Museum, Piotr M.A. Cywiński, Ph.D. said: “Of all the fruits of your labour at the Memorial Site, certainly the most important are: organisation of work for guides and guided tours for visitors, making the area of the Memorial Site more comprehensible and creation of the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust,” emphasised Cywiński. “Education in this particular place is more than just the carrying of memory. It escapes into the future and is like a flame, which, once lit, illuminates our reality,” said director Cywiński as he handed Krystyna Oleksy the Light of Remembrance.

Light of Remembrance

The Light of Remembrance is a new award established and awarded by the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum for outstanding contribution to education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. It is a tribute to those involved in maintaining and transferring the memory of the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz.

Krystyna Oleksy

Graduate of Polish philology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and post-graduate Museology Study. Professionally associated with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum for 37 years. Initially she worked in the scientific-educational department and later in publication department. From 1990, deputy director of the Museum. She initiated the creation of the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust (ICEAH) at the Museum, which she led since its inception in 2005. Deputy director of the Museum in charge of education.

Initiator of the establishment of permanent cooperation with the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem for the training of Polish teachers and educators in Israel and Israelis in Poland. So far, these exchanges have been attended by over one thousand teachers and guides.

Co-author of the scenario of the permanent exhibition in the building of the so-called central sauna in Birkenau, presenting the world of European Jews before the Holocaust, and co-author of the album Before They Left ... Photographs discovered in Auschwitz, which is the catalogue of the exhibition.

Member of the International Scientific Council of the Fritz Bauer Institute in Frankfurt am Main, International Advisory Board of Memorial Sites within the Topography of Terror in Berlin, International Commission of Experts of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site and the Museum in Żabikowo.

Krystyna Oleksy awarded with the Light of Remembrance. Photo: Tomasz Pielesz
Krystyna Oleksy...
Krystyna Oleksy was professionally associated with the Auschwitz Museum for 37 years. Photo: Paweł Sawicki
Krystyna Oleksy was...
Krystyna Oleksy. Photo Paweł Sawicki
Krystyna Oleksy....