For the JC April 2021
A new visitors’ centre — together with a hostel providing affordable accommodation for students and researchers — is to be built at the Auschwitz Memorial. The Polish Ministry of Culture has agreed to give just under £4 million to the project, which is set to open in 2023.
Dr Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz Museum, said that the centre would answer the continuing problem of how to run educational programming over several days, without adequate nearby accommodation. Up till now, visitors and volunteers have had little choice except to stay in expensive local hotels.
Private donations — including $5 million from the American Jewish philanthropist Ronald Lauder, and a further $500,000 from US supporters Joel and Ulrika Citron — have helped to make the project viable. Mr Lauder is chairman of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation, and president of the World Jewish Congress.
Andrzej Kacorzyk, director of the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, said: “We all believe that by the end of 2023, a difficult pandemic situation will be under control, and the number of visitors will come back to its average. Thanks to this project, we are prepared for these challenges. The accommodation area will make it possible for the participants of longer study visits, seminars, postgraduate students as well as conference participants to reduce the costs of taking part in educational programmes organised by us”.