Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

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

Poland
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • 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 2021

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

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 2 (from 1998-2000)
Total amount approved : 30,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 24 January 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/31/documents addressing the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee at its 42nd session, as follows:

  • A Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the construction of the S1 expressway and the south ring road of Oświęcim was carried out in 2018. It was appended to the State Party’s report for review. The HIA and report concluded that the potential impact of the S1 expressway and south ring road on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the World Heritage property will be “negligible, subject to effective limitation by minimizing mechanisms”;
  • Several appeals against the decision by the Regional Director of Environmental Protection (Katowice Branch) on the environmental conditions for the construction of the S1 expressway and the south ring road of Oświęcim are pending. It is expected that the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways will announce a construction tender soon;
  • The State Party invited a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission to coincide with an expert group meeting in March 2020. The mission was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Extensive conservation work has been carried out in accordance with international conservation standards, including the use of various technologies. The project for the conservation of two prisoner brick barracks in section BI nears completion;
  • The main manager of the property, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim (PMAB), is involved in educational activities and awareness-raising about the property’s historic value and cultural context. For this purpose, the PMAB plans to open a new Visitor Service Centre outside the World Heritage property. Its construction is foreseen to start in 2020;
  • Several commemorative elements have been or are currently established in the silence zone and the protective zone, including the Park of Peace and Reconciliation and the “Avenue of the Trees of Memory”;
  • The Municipality of Oświęcim is implementing two road projects in the direct vicinity of the World Heritage property: a road to reduce traffic in the foreground of the property and the new access road to the Judenrampe and the potato warehouse; both projects to be completed in 2020.

On 17 May 2021, the State Party has submitted additional information to the World Heritage Centre on the S1 expressway and the south ring road of Oświęcim. This indicated that the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways had signed a contract for the south ring road to Oświęcim in July 2020, that the construction design has been submitted in May 2021 to the Małopolska Region Voivodeship Office in Kraków to obtain permission for the road construction, and that construction is foreseen to start in March 2022 and to be completed by December 2024.

On 19 May 2021, a preparatory online meeting for the proposed joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS International Advisory mission to the property took place.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The efforts by the State Party concerning educational activities are positively noted. In terms of visitor management, the State Party plans to construct a new Visitor Service Centre outside the boundaries of the property to manage the increasing number of visitors.

The different measures and efforts undertaken by the State Party to conserve the property and its setting are welcomed, especially efforts to preserve the original substance as much as possible and to ensure the authenticity of the setting. It is positively noted that two institutions are working to preserve the remains and buildings of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp complex – the “Auschwitz Birkenau Nearby Memorial Sites” Foundation (founded in 2013) and the Memorial Museum of the People of the Land of Oświęcim with its designated location at the former food warehouse (“Lagerhaus”). Under the care of the “Auschwitz Birkenau Nearby Memorial Sites” Foundation, the SS Kitchen/Canteen, the potato warehouse, the fermentation building, a historical bathhouse building, a lighthouse, and a former school building in Bor that served as a branch of the women’s concentration camp are being restored and prepared to receive visitors.

In relation to the proposed S1 expressway and the south ring road of Oświęcim, it is noted that several appeals against the decision of the Regional Director of Environmental Protection (Katowice Branch) have been lodged with the General Directorate of Environmental Protection, in terms of the environmental impacts of the road construction and these cases are pending.

Furthermore, it is noted that the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways signed a contract for the south ring road to Oświęcim in July 2020, that the construction design has been submitted in May 2021 to the Małopolska Region Voivodeship Office in Kraków to obtain permission for the road construction, and that work is foreseen to start in March 2022 and to be completed by December 2024.

An HIA for the proposed south ring road of Oświęcim was submitted by the State Party, but no overall detail on the 9km long road or its alignment and design accompanied the HIA. The HIA refers to the recommendations of the 2013 Expert Group and states that these have been considered but does not detail how they have been met, particularly in relation to access roads, the design of the 0.5km Vistula bridge, the outcome of visual and acoustic impact studies, or the conclusions of traffic studies that necessitate a 0.6km bridge over the Sola river. The HIA concludes that most of the negative impacts arising from the project can be effectively mitigated by design solutions, while the major impact on the protected area (the immediate setting of the property) arising from the elimination of parts of the relict landscape by the new road barrier will be ‘masked’ or ‘integrated’. No detail, however, has been provided as to how exactly the project will be modified to address all of these impacts.

The State Party should be requested to submit details of the southern bypass route, together with modifications made following the mitigation measures recommended in the HIA, and await the review by the Advisory Bodies before taking any decisions or entering into any contractual agreements for the construction of the road that cannot be reversed.

The Terms of Reference of the postponed joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission that was requested by the World Heritage Committee in Decision 42 COM 7B.27, include the development of an educational and social awareness-raising programme, the development of the management plan and its adoption by all stakeholders, the possible establishment of a buffer zone for the property to offer greater protection to its immediate setting, as requested by the Committee, and the south ring road of Oświęcim in relation to the recommendations of the 2013 Expert Group meeting.

It is recommended that the Committee requests the State Party to carry out the planned on-site World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission in conjunction with the expert meeting as soon as the sanitary circumstances allow in order to, amongst others, develop ways to enhance the dialogue initiated with the authorities and the local communities to explain the historical value of the cultural context surrounding the 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.

It is recommended that the Committee reiterates its request to the State Party to focus on the preparation of a comprehensive management plan for the property and its surroundings, as recommended also by the 2013 expert group.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.52
Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945) (Poland) (C 31)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7B.115, 40 COM 7B.55 and 42 COM 7B.27, adopted respectively during its 33rd (Seville, 2009), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions,
  3. Congratulates the State Party for its efforts to conserve numerous remains of the wider setting of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp complex through the Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau and the recently created The Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents;
  4. Notes the information provided by the State Party on progress with the planning and design of the south ring road of Oświęcim, including the requested Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) Report, but regrets that the HIA was not accompanied by full design details and alignment of the proposed ring road, or by background visual and acoustic assessments, with the result that it currently remains unclear how the project respects the recommendations of the 2013 Expert Group, therefore invites the State Party to provide full HIA documentation for review by experts ahead of an on-site mission;
  5. Requests the State Party to:
    1. Submit full details of the Oświęcim southern ring road project, including how it responds to the recommendations of the 2013 Expert Group and to the conclusions of the HIA, to allow a review of the project by the Advisory Bodies ahead of an on-site mission,
    2. Await the reviews by the Advisory Bodies of the proposed south ring road project before taking any decisions or entering into any contractual agreements for the construction of the road that cannot be reversed;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to continue its efforts to complete the management plan and its adoption by all the stakeholders;
  7. Welcomes that an online meeting on the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission took place in May 2021 and also requests the State Party to organize the planned on-site World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission and expert meeting as soon as the global health situation allows it;
  8. Urges the State Party to continue implementing the recommendations of the 2013 expert group;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.52

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7B.115, 40 COM 7B.55 and 42 COM 7B.27, adopted respectively during its 33rd (Seville, 2009), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions,
  3. Congratulates the State Party for its efforts to conserve numerous remains of the wider setting of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp complex through the “Auschwitz Birkenau Nearby Memorial Sites” Foundation and the recently created Memorial Museum of the People of the Land of Oświęcim;
  4. Notes the information provided by the State Party on progress with the planning and design of the south ring road of Oświęcim, including the requested Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), but regrets that the HIA was not accompanied by full design details and alignment of the proposed ring road, or by background visual and acoustic assessments, with the result that it currently remains unclear how the project respects the recommendations of the 2013 Expert Group;
  5. Requests the State Party to:
    1. Submit full details of the Oświęcim southern ring road project, including how it responds to the recommendations of the 2013 Expert Group and to the conclusions of the HIA, to allow a review of the project by the Advisory Bodies,
    2. Keep the World Heritage Centre informed about the pending decision in regard to the issued appeals against the Regional Director of Environmental Protection concerning the environmental impacts,
    3. Await the reviews by the Advisory Bodies of the proposed south ring road project before taking any decisions or entering into any contractual agreements for the construction of the road that cannot be reversed;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to continue its efforts to complete the management plan and its adoption by all the stakeholders;
  7. Welcomes that a preparatory online meeting on the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission took place in May 2021 and also requests the State Party to organize the planned on-site World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission and expert meeting as soon as the global health situation allows it;
  8. Urges the State Party to continue implementing the recommendations of the 2013 expert group;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session in 2023.
Report year: 2021
Poland
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2020) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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.


top