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

Poland
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Slow process of consultation with local communities

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of Management Plan
  • Slow process of consultation with local communities
  • Ground transport infrastructure
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

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

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 2 (from 1998-2000)
Total amount approved : 30,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

July 2001: joint Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee/World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; December 2006: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS site visit during the management seminar; May 2007: site management meeting; May 2008 and October 2013: Expert Consultation Group Meetings 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 24 November 2017, the State Party submitted a report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/31/documents concerning the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee at its 40th session, as follows:

  • Following receipt of the ICOMOS technical analysis, the State Party confirms that the Conservation Strategy submitted in 2015 presents “protection and conservation approaches of the property and its setting in the documentation of the historical and memorial contexts of the property” and that it constitutes the basis for the future management plan of the property and its surroundings. Inventory work documenting the historical context has been conducted. The elements and structures identified have been inscribed on the national register or municipal inventory. Some of these significant historical elements located outside the property, such as the SS kitchen have been the subject of urgent conservation measures, while others, such as the ancient potato warehouse, housing the Memorial Museum of the Inhabitants of the Oświęcim Region, have been designated new functions linked to the interpretation of the property. The Conservation Strategy relating to the property and implemented by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum concentrates on the maintenance of the historical, physical and aesthetic asprcts, at the time of activity of the camp. With regard to the restoration of the two sheds (prisons), the State Party confirms their conservation and their restoration in accordance with international standards and regulations for this type of property;
  • Concerning the expressway S-1 and the south ring road of Oświęcim, an investment programme was adopted to continue these studies, including the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA). The State Party has made a decision, immediately applicable, on environmental conditions to be observed, for the construction of the infrastructures. For the south ring road of Oświęcim, adjacent to the property, the environmental conditions include the principles and directives for the mitigation of impacts on the important historical and cultural sites (visual impact, protection of the zone of silence and coherent landscape integration with local areas, archaeological surveillance relating to possible human remains). The HIA will be conducted 11 months after the identification of a contractor;
  • As regard visitor management, a numerus clausus of 1,000 persons/hour was established by a computerized pre-registration system. The Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau has as objective to organize thematic exhibitions on the satellite camps;
  • As concerns governance, the State Party recalls the complexity of the memorial context and the property and confirms the representativity of the different structures already existing responsible for the protection and the management of the property (Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Inspection of Monuments of the Malopolska region, International Council of Auschwitz) and recalls the creation at the local level, in 2013, of the Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau and, in August 2017, by the District Council, the Memorial Museum of the Inhabitants of the Oświęcim, an independent cultural institution. The Advisory Mission foreseen for 2018 could play a catalyst role in this respect.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

Communication problems with the Secretariat identified by the State Party between 2013 and 2016 have been fully resolved and it is appropriate to congratulate the State Party for its considerable efforts deployed to implement the recommendations of the Committee as well as those of the 2013 expert group.

With regard to the Conservation Strategy, the ICOMOS technical analysis indicates that it mainly concerns the surroundings of the property, namely the zones of silence and protection identified in 1979. The State Party has carried out important inventory work on the historical elements bearing witness to history, and supporting the value of the property beyond its boundaries. The memorandum of conservation principles and restoration of the memorial sites is of high quality, both for its objectives as for its ethics. However, the issue of the conservation of historical elements, notably the buildings, must take into consideration a policy of reallocating new functions, enabling their sustainability and integrating them into the social life of the local communities, as recommended by the 2013 expert group.

The adoption of the investment programme and the environmental commitments of the State Party relating to the expressway S-1 and the south ring road of Oświęcim are satisfactory; notably the commitments undertaken to limit the impacts integrated into the conception phase of the programme («study of the conservation approaches in the zone of the ancient Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp of Oświęcim »). The conception and planning of the studies are well and truly articulated. Flexibility is envisaged to maximise the limitation measures of the impacts, and the planning of formal solutions.

In comparison to 2016, the number of visitors has increased from 1.72 to 2.00 million. Concerning visitor management, the establishment of a computerised registration system is commendable but it remains important to distinguish the management of the numbers from the objectives of the visit to the property. Consequently, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party looks more closely at the experience of the visit to the property and its surroundings in relation to the significant universal message of the property and its outstanding universal value (OUV).

With regard to governance, the major challenge remains the adhesion of the local populations to the value of the property and the intention to legally extend the protection of the elements having a historial significance, through the conversion of the protection zone to a buffer zone. In this respect, the State Party has initiated a positive dialogue with the local authorities, embodied, among others, by the use of the potato warehouses for an exhibition on the Judenrampe and by the necessary mechanisms for a collegial governance regrouping all the local, national and international stakeholders; this governance must, however, be extended to cover the management of the property, namely the protection and silence zone. In this respect, the appropriate dissemination of the Retrospective Statement of the OUV already carried out by the State Party is to be noted. However, it would be useful to establish mediation tools of this value and its attributes to facilitate relationships with the local populations.

In conclusion, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue the implementation of the recommendations of the 2013 expert group and, in particular, efforts in the preparation of the management plan, based on that of 2007, paying particular attention to the complementarity between the management of the property and its surroundings, the historical context as well as the possible over-visitation of the site.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.27
Auschwitz Birkenau, German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945) (Poland) (C 31)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7B.115 and 40 COM 7B.55, adopted respectively during its 33rd (Seville, 2009) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions,
  3. Congratulates the State Party for the provision of the Conservation Strategy and implementation following the international standards and regulations for urgent conservation projects as requested by the Committee (Decision 40 COM 7B.55);
  4. Also congratulates the State Party for the decision taken regarding the environmental conditions limiting the visual, accoustic disturbance and archaeological impacts of the expressway S-1 and the south ring road of Oświęcim and the quality of the measures proposed, in particular concerning the possible human remains, and the general project planning integrating the HIA as requested by the Committee;
  5. Recommends the State Party to continue the dialogue initiated with the authorities and the local communitiues to explain the historical value of the cultural context surrounding the inscribed property, notably through mediation methods and appropriate educative material to enable the establishment of a buffer zone for the property, guaranteeing the appropriate use of the property and its surroundings;
  6. Requests the State Party to continue its efforts to complete the management plan and its adoption by all the stakeholders and also recommends in this respect to evoke the Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value recently adopted, and to reinforce and extend the governance mechanism to all the stakeholders, notably the authorities and local communities;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission to the property and further recommends the State Party to coincide the mission with an expert group meeting, notably to enable the development of an educative and social awareness-raising, explanatory and reconversion programme, on the historical structures of the protection zone;
  8. Recommends furthermore the State Party to continue the implementation of the recommendations of the 2013 expert group;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.27

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7B.115 and 40 COM 7B.55, adopted respectively during its 33rd (Seville, 2009) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions,
  3. Congratulates the State Party for the provision of the Conservation Strategy and implementation following the international standards and regulations for urgent conservation projects as requested by the Committee (Decision 40 COM 7B.55);
  4. Also congratulates the State Party for the decision taken regarding the environmental conditions limiting the visual, accoustic disturbance and archaeological impacts of the expressway S-1 and the south ring road of Oświęcim and the quality of the measures proposed, in particular concerning the possible human remains, and the general project planning integrating the HIA as requested by the Committee;
  5. Recommends the State Party to continue the dialogue initiated with the authorities and the local communitiues to explain the historical value of the cultural context surrounding the inscribed property, notably through mediation methods and appropriate educative material to enable the establishment of a buffer zone for the property, guaranteeing the appropriate use of the property and its surroundings;
  6. Requests the State Party to continue its efforts to complete the management plan and its adoption by all the stakeholders and also recommends in this respect to evoke the Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value recently adopted, and to reinforce and extend the governance mechanism to all the stakeholders, notably the authorities and local communities;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission to the property and further recommends the State Party to coincide the mission with an expert group meeting, notably to enable the development of an educative and social awareness-raising, explanatory and reconversion programme, on the historical structures of the protection zone;
  8. Recommends furthermore the State Party to continue the implementation of the recommendations of the 2013 expert group;  
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Report year: 2018
Poland
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2017) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
Exports

* : 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.


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