The previous name, “Auschwitz Concentration Camp,” has been changed to “'Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945).”
The new name, proposed jointly by Poland and Israel, was approved unanimously. Tomasz Merta, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and General Monuments Preservation Officer, took part in the session, as did Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Director Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
The History of the Nomenclature of the Grounds of the Former Nazi German Concentration Camp, Auschwitz
The camp as a Museum and Memorial
By an act of the Polish sejm on July 2, 1947, “the grounds of the former Nazi concentration camp in Oświęcim together with all the buildings and equipment located there shall be preserved for all time as a Monument to the Martyrdom of the Polish Nation and other Nations.” On the strength of the same act, this Monument bore the name “Oświęcim-Brzezinka State Museum’ from 1947 to 1999.
On May 7, 1999, an Act on the preservation of the grounds of former Nazi death camps changed the existing name to “Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim.” This name remains in use today.
Auschwitz on the UNESCO World Heritage List
The former Nazi German Auschwitz camp was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List during a World Heritage Committee session in Egypt from October 22-26, 1979. While approving the entry, the committee also indicated that no further objects of this type would be added to the list in the future. The original entry, in force from 1979 to 2007, was “Auschwitz Concentration Camp.”
During its 31st session, in New Zealand on June 27, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee approved a change in the entry for the remains of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The previous name was changed to “'Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945).”
UNESCO Confirms Change of Name for Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp
Warszawa, June 27, 2007 (PAP) – The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, meeting in New Zealand, decided on Wednesday to change the name of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Following a proposal by the Polish government, the official name of the camp as of Wednesday will be “'Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945),” Ministry of Culture and National Heritage spokesman Jan Kasprzyk told PAP.
Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp, was the largest camp that the Germans established during the Second World War. It is the only death camp on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Polish government’s proposal for the change in the name of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, announced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, was a reaction to the increasingly frequent appearance in foreign media of falsehoods suggesting or even referring to the former Nazi camps as “Polish extermination camps.”
The new name approved by UNESCO on Wednesday “is intended to convey the historical truth about the real nature of the camp, and precisely associates this place with the Nazi regime in Germany.”
The new name is also intended to fill an educational role for the younger generation, especially abroad. The UNESCO decision was preceded by broad consultations and a diplomatic campaign by the Polish government. (PAP)