President meets officials attending Auschwitz liberation anniversary observances
Polish President Andrzej Duda and UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay met in Oświęcim, southern Poland, on Monday ahead of the main observances marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau liberation.
Their talks were planned to focus on the protection over the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum.
"Since Poland is a member of the UNESCO Executive Board in the years 2019-2023, the talks will concern the work of the organisation in the field of protection of material and non-material heritage in the world, especially in the face of armed conflicts and unrest in various parts of the world. The former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp is on the UNESCO Heritage List," PAP was told by the Polish president's chief aide, Krzysztof Szczerski.
Later in the day, President Duda will meet with his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Both meetings will be followed by statements for the press.
The Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940, initially for the imprisonment of Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was opened two years later and became the main site for the mass extermination of Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the complex. The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz, mainly Jews, but also Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.
It was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945. In 1947, the camp site was declared a national memorial site. Main observances marking the 75th anniversary of the camp liberation are taking place at its site on Monday.