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Committee Decisions

CONF 204 VIII.34

Auschwitz Concentration Camp (Poland)

VIII.34 Auschwitz Concentration Camp (Poland)

The Committee examined the state of conservation of the site and noted the information provided by the Secretariat and by the Under-Secretary of State of Poland, responsible for the implementation of the Strategic Governmental Programme for Oswiecim.

The Committee recalled that, at its twenty-third session (Kyoto, 1998), it confirmed its support for the principles laid out in the Declaration of March 1997; this process should continue in a consensual manner among all parties involved. It expressed the belief that no steps should be taken unless consensus had been reached.

The Committee expressed its concern regarding the delay in implementing the Strategic Governmental Programme for Oswiecim and the work of the international group of experts. It urged the Polish authorities to address these issues without further delay.

Concerning the construction projects within the zones related physically or symbolically to the Concentration Camp, the Committee requested the State Party to avoid any action that could compromise reaching consensus between the authorities, institutions and organizations involved and to ensure that the sacred nature of the site and its environment are preserved giving special attention to their integrity.

The Committee reiterated its request to the State Party, previously made during its twenty-fourth session, to submit a progress report on the implementation of the Strategic Governmental Programme for Oswiecim, and requested the State Party to submit this detailed report by 15 April 2001, at the latest, for examination by the twentyfifth session of the Bureau.

Furthermore, the Committee requested the Secretariat to maintain close contacts with the State Party and other parties involved in order to support planning actions and the process for establishing a consensus as indicated in the decision adopted by the Committee at its twenty-third session.

In conclusion, the Committee reiterated the need for the establishment of a buffer zone to be created around the site, as well as a plan for the implementation of development control mechanisms within this newly identified area. It urged the Polish authorities to pay particular attention to this matter and to submit a report on the progress made in the identification of a buffer zone and control mechanism for examination by the twenty-fifth session of theBureau.

The Observer of Israel underlined that the two former Concentration Camps -Auschwitz and Birkenau - approximately 3 kms from each other, are located in two different municipalities - Oswiecim and Birkenau - are managed under different jurisdictions, and that before the creation of a buffer zone, the two locations should be unified. He stressed that the Strategic Governmental Programme for Oswiecim was not the management plan but a plan developed by the town of Oswiecim and that this should be clarified. Furthemore, he declared that he had taken note of the comments from Zimbabwe, Finland and Greece (included in the Report of the Rapporteur). Finally, he underlined that coordination between the International Group of Experts, the State Party and ICOMOS was essential and should be reinforced. In addition, due to the high sensitivity linked to this site, the Observer of Israel specified that representatives of the State Party and of the Jewish community should be involved in the work undertaken by the International Group of Experts.