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

Total amount provided to the property: USD 10,000 from Israel

Previous monitoring missions

July 2001: Reactive Monitoring mission Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee / World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS; December 2006: World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS site visit during the management seminar 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of management plan;

b) Consultation with local communities.

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

As requested by the World Heritage Committee (31 COM 7B.101) the State Party submitted on 1 February 2008 a state of conservation report on the property including a report on progress since its last report of April 2007.

The State Party notes that the work on the management plan is progressing since the draft management plan was sent to the World Heritage Centre in April 2007 and that is being further discussed and developed in particular with efforts aimed at building confidence with the local community. The State Party organized an Expert Workshop from 10 to 13 May 2008 to review the status of the management plan and discuss a strategy for the World Heritage property. The international consultation meeting on “AUSCHWITZ BIRKENAU. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945) UNESCO World Heritage site”, which was held in Kraków and Oświęcim, 10-13 May 2008, was crucial to continue the consultation process following the preparation of the management plan with stakeholders to ensure its implementation. The establishment of the National Heritage Board as a focal point for World Heritage matters in Poland was a positive development as is the work carried out to inventory and register structures relevant to the Holocaust but outside the two camps.

However, the management plan, although formally adopted by the Ministry for Culture in May 2007 does not have the full support of all stakeholders. The consultation meeting had therefore also a public meeting with relevant stakeholders on 12 May 2008 to discuss the issues. The consultation meeting reviewed the implementation of the 2006 recommendations and came up with a series of suggestions and recommendations, including on tourism management, infrastructure development such as roads and registering additional buildings. The meeting was particularly concerned by proposals for the S1 Expressway and the link road to Oswiecim.  The full report is available at http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2008/ which has been transmitted to the authorities for consideration.

The Minister for Culture and National Heritage took the decision that the National Heritage Board of Poland is responsible for supervising the work of the management plan. A Steering Committee was already appointed in 2006, which held its last meeting in October 2007. During the meeting the Representatives of the City of Oswiecim expressed their negative attitude to all works carried out outside the protective zone. A conservation strategy based on the draft management plan is now being prepared to specify principles and guidelines. The final version of the strategy framework was ready for national consultation by March 2008; however the need for close cooperation with International experts was identified. The report details other issues including the visitor traffic to the site with an increased number of visitors with an average of 3,300 per day (2007:1,2 million people), the construction of a car park with access to the Birkenau site and the reorganization of the Museum display.

Concerning the protection of the property and its surroundings the report notes the strict legal protect under a number of legal provisions. It details that new documents are being studied and research work undertaken. Intensive work is being carried out on the surroundings to enter selected buildings and sites into the register of monuments, as proposed by the 2006 workshop. In addition, the Director of the Auschwitz Museum provided a copy of the 2007 report which details a great number of education and awareness activities.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.102

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 30 COM 7B.88, and 31 COM 7B.101, adopted at its 30th (Vilnius, 2006) and 31st (Christchurch, 2007) sessions respectively,

3. Notes the progress made following the submission of the draft management plan for the property in April 2007, the preparation of a strategy and consultations undertaken with international experts in May 2008 as well as work on entering relevant buildings in the surroundings of the property on the register of monuments;

4. Also notes the understandably slow progress with stakeholder consultations which delays the finalization of the management plan and the associated strategy and encourages the State Party to intensify efforts to ensure involvement of local communities;

5. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a detailed report on the status of the management plan, the strategy and implementation frameworks, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.