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Auschwitz Birkenau
German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)

Factors affecting the property in 2002*
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Threat to the integrity of the property (tobacco factory project) (issue resolved)
  • Issue of the transfer of seven original paintings from the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum (issue resolved)
  • Lack of Planning and management of the surroundings of the Camps (e.g. opening of a discotheque outisde the site) 
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2002
Requests approved: 2 (from 1998-2000)
Total amount approved : 30,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2002**

July 2001 : mission of the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2002

A report was sent by the Polish Under Secretary of State on 22 February 2002 which provides information on the status of measures taken to implement the recommendations of the UNESCO mission to the site in 2001:

The Strategic Government Plan for Oświęcim which has been extended through to 2006, is a very important initiative which supports the protection of the area surrounding the World Heritage site and, at the same time, ensures appropriate development of its infrastructure. The Programme is financed by the State budget and supported by local government budgets.

At a meeting held in Krakow in January 2002, upon the initiative of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration and attended by all the key national and local authorities and institutions, issues relating to the physical development of the area surrounding the site were discussed. The participants of the meeting agreed and reaffirmed the need to decide rapidly upon a strategic solution to solve the physical development problems while respecting the interest of the local community and the unique nature of the site.

Buffer zone: In light of the Polish legislation, the only currently applicable protection zone around the Auschwitz Holocaust Memorial corresponds with the zone established subject to the Regulation of May 7, 1999 adopted by the Minister of the Interior and Administration. On 27 December 2001, a "draft proposal to change the local plan of physical development of the Zasole and Stare Stawy residential areas in Oświęcim, including the Holocaust Memorial in Oświęcim and its protection zone" were submitted to the Minister of the Interior and Administration. The Minister drew the attention of local authorities to the importance of the obligations under the World Heritage Convention. The consultation period was extended in order to enable experts, members of the International Group of Experts, to offer their opinions. Presently, the consultations are under way. For legal and administrative reasons it is not possible to develop a joint physical development plan for Oświęcim and Brzezinka. However, when a future plan for the village of Brzezinka is developed, it will be ensured that it is compatible with the plan of the city and commune of Oświęcim.


Related sites: The sites situated outside the World Heritage area, which are related to Auschwitz-Birkenau have recently become a focus of measures taken by the authorities with a view to ensuring their appropriate protection. The following sites, situated in Oświęcim and Brzezinka outside the area of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, have been entered into the Register of Historical Monuments:

-          the site of the former warehouses Effektenlaber 1, the so-called Canada 1 in Oświęcim,

-          potato bunkers, the so-called "ziemniaczarki," situated at ul.  Piwniczna in Brzezinka,

-          the red house (a ruin of the gas chamber) - extended scope of the decision to enter it in the Register of Historical Monuments of the Birkenau Camp,

-          the gravel storage site with the building of the old theatre - after the formal and legal issues are clarified by the Governor Office of the Małopolska province

-          possibly also a railway siding: Alte Judenrampe.


Discotheque: The building used as a discotheque, which gave rise to many protests, was examined by the Government and steps were taken which resulted in the final repeal of the decision on the utilization of the industrial hall as the "catering and entertainment center". The industrial hall isnot a historic building, but it is situated within the limits of the former tannery.


Utilization of buildings for educational purposes: In response to the UNESCO mission support to the plan to use some of the buildings of the former tobacco factory for educational purposes, formal steps have been taken to establish the Oświęcim Higher School of Humanities - a state higher vocational school. The school will offer courses in cultural studies, international relations and human rights. The city is looking for ways that will open it up to international collaboration. Poland's government intends - in consultation with the Polish National Commission for UNESCO - to turn the Oświęcim Higher School of Humanities into an institution of educational and scientific nature that will closely cooperate with UNESCO.

With a view to accelerate the work on full regulation of the protection-related issues (including the consultations on the proposed plans of physical development), the Polish National Commission for UNESCO has applied for international assistance to support the meeting of the International Group of Experts to study the special planning for the site for an amount of US$ 20,000. The Secretariat has also received several newspaper articles, published since March 2002, which inform about renewed discussions regarding the opening of a supermarket within the vicinity of the site. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2002
26 COM 21B.65
Auschwitz Concentration Camp (Poland)
The World Heritage Committee,

1. Takes note of the report provided on Auschwitz Concentration Camp and its surroundings and thanks the State Party for its commitment concerning this site;

2. Urges, however, the State Party to finalize the management plan for the site as well as to urgently address the social and commercial development problems in the vicinity of the sites;

3. Requests that an approved management plan and timetable for the implementation of the recommendations of the international mission be submitted by 1 February 2003 for examination at its 27th session in June/July 2003.

The Committee may wish to adopt the following recommendation.


“The Committee takes note of the report provided on Auschwitz Concentration Camp and its surroundings and thanks the State Party for its commitment concerning this site. The Committee, however, urges the State Party to finalize the management plan for the site as well as to urgently address the social and commercial development problems in the vicinity of the sites. Furthermore, it requests a report by 1 February 2003 on the progress of the management plan, the implementation of the recommendations and on the meeting of the International Group of Experts.” 

Report year: 2002
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 26COM (2002)

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.