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Chancellor of Germany visits the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

6 December 2019

On Friday, 6 December, the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel will pay a historic visit to the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. It will be Angela Merkel’s first visit to the Memorial Site after her 14 years in office and the third visit of an incumbent head of government. German chancellor will be accompanied by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

The visit will mark the 10th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, established in 2009 to take care of the Memorial Site, that is the area and the remains of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, currently under the care of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim. The Republic of Poland is one of the custodians of the memory of the Holocaust and of millions of Jews murdered during the Second World War, as well as of Jewish historical and cultural heritage. In 2017-2018 alone, the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage spent EUR 67 million for this purpose.

Following the efforts of Polish diplomacy, in 2007, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee changed the official international name of the camp to “Auschwitz-Birkenau. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945).” Furthermore, in June 2017, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) called to stop using defective memory codes such as “Polish camps” or “Polish death camps” in publications and public discourse on the extermination of Jewish people by the Nazi Germany on occupied Polish lands during the Second Word War, pointing out that it constitutes a form of Holocaust distortion and denial.

Following the New Zealand visit of Director-General of the Foundation of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the New Zealand government contributed €50,000 in 2011 to support the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site. In 2013 it doubled that support.

ENDS

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