Auschwitz liberation anniversary to be attended by 31 state delegations
Thirty-one state delegations have confirmed they will attend observances marking the 75 anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi German death camp, to be held on the site of the former camp, in southern Poland, on January 27.
The Auschwitz Museum announced on Wednesday that among the guests who had confirmed their attendance recently were French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, and New Zealand Ambassador Mary Thurston.
Polish President Andrzej Duda will host the ceremonies, and is also honorary patron of the event. The Vatican City will be represented by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski.
International delegations include King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, King of Spain Philip VI with his wife Leticia, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Haakon Crown Prince of Norway, while Sweden will be represented by Crown Princess Victoria.
Among other guests who have confirmed their presence are President of Israel Reuven Rivlin, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier as well as Greek and Czech Prime Ministers Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Andrej Babis. Russia will be represented by Russian Ambassador to Poland Sergei Andreev.
Attendance was also confirmed by the state delegations of: Albania, Australia, Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Georgia, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Hungary and the United Kingdom.
Spokesperson for the Auschwitz Museum Bartosz Bartyzel said that the most important guests will be around 200 former Auschwitz prisoners.
The Auschwitz concentration camp was built by the Germans in 1940 as an incarceration site for Poles, but soon began to receive transports of Jewish descendants from all over Europe. Enlarged by its Birkenau section in 1942, Auschwitz became the main site of the Holocaust. Nazi Germany killed at least 1.1 million people in the camp, including hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens, mainly of Jewish descent.