27/01/2020 Monday
Auschwitz State Museum

Royals, world leaders to attend Auschwitz liberation anniversary

The museum's spokesperson, Bartosz Bartyzel stressed that former Auschwitz inmates "will be the most important guests," and added that "some 200 are expected to arrive from all over the world." Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Observances marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration camp on Jan. 27, 2020 will be attended by representatives of royal families, as well as heads of state and government, the Auschwitz State Museum announced on Friday.

"We expect several dozen state delegations and representatives of international institutions. Many of them will be led by top-level officials. (...) Talks are still under way with some embassies. (...) The list will be gradually supplemented," the museum's spokesperson, Bartosz Bartyzel, said.

King of Spain Philip VI, King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, as well as Dutch PM Mark Rutte have already confirmed their participation. Sweden will be represented by Crown Princess Victoria, PM Stefan Loefven and Parliament head Andreas Norlen.

The presidents of Finland - Sauli Niinistoe, Israel - Reuven Rivlin, Malta – George William Vella, Germany – Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Switzerland - Ueli Maurer and Poland - Andrzej Duda have also confirmed their presence. The Greek delegation will be led by PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Estonian delegation by Minister for Population Riina Solman.

Bartyzel stressed that former Auschwitz inmates "will be the most important guests," and added that "some 200 are expected to arrive from all over the world."

Planned is a live TV broadcast of the observances, to be held under the honorary patronage of the Polish president.

The Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940, initially for the imprisonment of Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later. It became the site of 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.

The camp was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945. In 1947, the camp site was declared a national memorial site.