1.         Auschwitz Birkenau
German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945) (Poland) (C 31)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/31/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 30,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/31/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO/ICOMOS mission from 1 to 2 July 2001 led by the Chairperson of the Committee

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Lack of a Management Plan

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/31/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

The State Party submitted the state of conservation report to the World Heritage Centre on 4 February 2005, in which the implementation of the second stage of the Governmental Strategic Programme for the Oświęcim Area for the years 2002-2006 was outlined.  Within the framework of this Strategic Programme, a number of roads and routes of historical significance have been upgraded, improving access to the properties and objects of historical significance, and traffic flow in and around the World Heritage property.  These infrastructural works have been visually beneficial to the town of Oświęcim. 

Following the expert meeting (12-16 May 2004, Krakow, Poland), organised in response to the decisions of the Committee at its 25th and 26th sessions, a Polish expert visited the Documentation Centre at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel from 8 to 13 January 2005.  This visit was hosted by the National Commission of Israel for UNESCO and resulted in a set of recommendations concerning a conservation strategy for the property. 

The State Party also informed the World Heritage Centre by letter of 7 April 2005 of progress made in the preparation of a Management Plan for the property.  In conformity with the recommendation of the afore-mentioned expert meeting in May 2004, this task is assumed by a combination of the Steering Committee that oversees the overall operation of the preparation of the Management Plan in Poland, the Planning Team who ensure the participation of all relevant stakeholders in the process and help prepare and implement the plan, and the International Auschwitz Committee, that provide expertise from outside the country.  Representatives of local governments are members of both the Steering Committee and the Planning Team and represent the interests of the local community who will also have to agree to the Management Plan through local government councils. 

The draft Management Plan is expected to be completed by January 2006.  A document detailing the scope of this exercise was submitted to the World Heritage Centre as an attachment to the letter of 31 January 2005, and includes the evaluation of the present state of conservation within and outside the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the existing property planning documentation and its current legal status, conservation priorities for all related components of the property, and the evaluation of tourism management and educational activities. 

The International Centre for Education on Auschwitz and the Holocaust, which was initiated in 2003, was formally inaugurated on 27 January 2005.  The aim of this Centre is to transform the former extermination camps into places of historical reflection and education in the spirit of democracy and tolerance.  Despite the lack of financial and logistical means, a number of educational programmes have been initiated by the Centre in 2004 and 2005 targeting teachers, vocational groups, foreign visitors and secondary school students.

In highlighting the ceremony which took place on 27 January 2005 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau, the National Commission of Poland for UNESCO, in their letter to the World Heritage Centre of 31 January 2004, emphasised that the Management Plan for this World Heritage property must be prepared with the utmost caution given its special characteristics.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.68

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.93, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Notes with solemnity that the year 2005 is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau;

4. Welcomes the establishment of the Steering Committee and the Planning Team for the preparation of the management plan; but nevertheless

5. Strongly encourages the State Party of Poland to continue its efforts in the preparation of the management plan for the deadline of January 2006, and to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of the progress during its preparation;

6. Requests the State Party to provide by 1 February 2006 the World Heritage Centre with a state of conservation report, including progress on the preparation of the management plan, for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).