VII.54 Auschwitz Concentration Camp (Poland)
At its twentieth session, the Bureau commended the Government of Poland on halting the construction works in the immediate vicinity of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It urged the authorities to devise a plan for the preservation of the site and its immediate surroundings, and keep the Committee informed on this matter.
The Secretariat informed the Committee that since then, and although additional assurance had been given by the Polish authorities that construction works had stopped, it had received information that a cigarette company had announced its intention to go ahead with the construction of a cigarette factory adjacent to the site.
The Secretariat immediately informed the Polish Permanent Delegation of this event, and asked the Polish authorities "to take all the necessary action in order to ensure that the integrity of Auschwitz-Birkenau is respected".
After having taken note of the concern of the Bureau regarding projects of the Phillip Morris Company, the Committee listened to an intervention by the Observer of Poland, who indicated that the project was not a new construction but the transfer of ownership of a tobacco factory which has been functioning for eighty years, under State monopoly, and situated 300 metres from the former camp. He furthermore indicated that a report on this subject would be provided by the Polish authorities before the next Bureau session.
The Committee expressed its strong concern with regard to this new threat which, immediately following the building project of a supermarket, threatens once again the symbolic character of this property, inscribed under cultural criterion (vi).