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 https://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 https://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: 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; October 2021: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2023

A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission took place on 12-14 October 2021. Its main purpose was to assess the progress made in the establishment of a dialogue between the authorities and other key stakeholders as regards the immediate setting of the property and in view of the development of the Management Plan, as well as to assess the overall state of conservation of the property and factors that could potentially impact its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The report of the mission is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/31/documents/.

On 9 December 2022, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report available at the above-mentioned link, outlining the following:

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

The efforts by the State Party to develop the design of the Oświęcim southern ring road in the context of the recommendations made by the Expert Group in 2013, the 2015 Conservation Strategy and the HIA, are appreciated, as is the State Party’s effort to await the recommendations of the 2021 Advisory mission before starting the construction of the road.

However, as the southern part of the road cuts through the protected zone to the south of the property, the project highlights the urgent need for a formal buffer zone or formal protection of the immediate setting to support the OUV of the property. It is therefore recommended that the Committee invite the State Party to consider establishing a buffer zone, encompassing both the silence zone and the wider protection zone, or relevant spatial planning policies in order to offer greater protection to the property’s immediate setting.

The State Party’s efforts and progress made in establishing a closer dialogue between the national and local authorities, other key stakeholders and local communities are commendable and should be further encouraged in order to achieve an inclusive approach to the safeguarding and management of the property. This dialogue is essential for the management of a property that involves multiple stakeholders and poses challenges related to the enforceability of building protection measures, including mechanisms to prevent blight and deterioration.

The establishment of a team to monitor the preparation of Management Plans for World Heritage properties in Poland is positively noted. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to establish a comprehensive Management Plan for the property as a matter of priority, in line with the recommendations of the 2021 Advisory mission and the 2013 Expert Group. In view of the growing number of visitors to the property, a comprehensive tourism management and interpretation Plan for the entire property and its setting should be included as parts of the Management Plan. The Management Plan would also benefit from outlining the decision-making process on appropriate uses for the immediate surroundings of the property, through a process of continuous dialogue and discussion with local stakeholders. Progress has been made by the State Party in this regard, notably in the reuse of the former Lagerhaus, which has been restored and repurposed as the Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum invests significant efforts in actions aimed at conserving the property and making it accessible to the public. While various sources of funding support these actions, the State Party is encouraged to investigate innovative proposals in bringing public-private partnerships in support of projects in the immediate surroundings of the property and outside of the Museum’s purview. Such proposals could be included in the Management Plan.

The State Party should be encouraged to finalise the update of the Conservation Strategy for the property with the view to prioritising and hierarchising all the attributes of the property according to their contribution to the OUV while specifying how the elements of the property’s setting support the OUV in terms of historical significance and context. The State Party is progressively enriching and supporting educational and social awareness-raising activities linked to the historical structures within the property and in the protection zone.

Overall, steady progress has been made by the State Party in the implementation of the Committee’s Decision 44 COM 7B.52 with the notable exception of the elaboration of the Management Plan, which requires close dialogue and collaboration among different stakeholders. The adoption of the plan by all stakeholders will be a key element in the effective long-term management of the property.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 7B.193

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7B.52 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Welcomes the progress made by the State Party in establishing a closer dialogue between the national and local authorities, other key stakeholders and local communities, paving the way for the development of the Management Plan for the property and its subsequent adoption by all stakeholders and encourages these dialogue activities be continued;
  4. Further welcomes the establishment of a team to monitor the preparation of Management Plans for World Heritage properties in Poland, urges the State Party to develop a comprehensive Management Plan for the property, including a comprehensive tourism management and interpretation Plan for the whole property and its setting, as a matter of priority, in line with the recommendations of the 2021 Advisory mission and the 2013 Expert Group, and requests the State Party to submit the final draft of the Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre for its revision and comments by the Advisory Bodies, prior to its adoption; also encourages the State Party to finalise the update of the Conservation Strategy for the property;
  5. Invites the State Party to establish a buffer zone for the property, encompassing both the silence zone and the wider protection zone, or to develop appropriate spatial planning policies to provide greater protection to the immediate setting of the property;
  6. Notes with satisfaction the efforts made by the State Party in progressively enriching and supporting educational and social awareness-raising activities linked to the historical structures within the property and in the protection zone, and further encourages the State Party to pursue these efforts;
  7. Also notes the efforts of the State Party to put on hold the construction of the Oświęcim southern ring road until it had considered the recommendations of the 2021 Advisory mission to the property;
  8. Recommends to the State Party to implement the recommendations of the 2021 Advisory mission to the property;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2024, 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 47th session.