Germany allocated EUR 180 thousand to the financing of a special scholarship programme for Ukrainian conservators carried out by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and the Auschwitz Museum. On 1 December, the agreement concerning the project was signed at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Warsaw by the Ambassador of Germany to Poland Dr Thomas Bagger, Director General of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Wojciech Soczewica and its Financial Director Elwir Świętochowski.
In the period when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens were fleeing to Poland as a result of the Russian aggression, the Foundation and the Museum decided to undertake urgent support activities directed at Ukrainian conservators. The scholarship programme was inaugurated already in the early March 2022.
According to Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, Director of the Auschwitz Museum, this undertaking constitutes concrete support for persons with the experience in the area of conservation as well as a signal coming from this unique place on the map of the world.
'Russian invasion on the independent and sovereign state of Ukraine requires democratic world to take appropriate actions. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Foundation, within the framework of their competencies and statutes, launched a scholarship programme in order not only to support the conservators from Ukraine, but also to provide them with the opportunity of professional development. I was personally moved by the picture of those young women, arriving with their little children and the necessary minimum of personal luggage. It reminded me of the times when my family was forced to leave People’s Republic of Poland and find refuge in Switzerland. I remember very well the support we received from the Swiss at that difficult time. Today, here in Poland, we need to and want to step up and support the families of Ukrainians fighting for the independence of their country', Director Cywiński said.
Within the framework of the project, scholarship members from Ukraine take part in the conservation of items connected with the history of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz. Financing the preservation of the authenticity of the Auschwitz Memorial constitutes the main task of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.
'The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation has been cooperating with the Museum in the field of conservation and preservation of the Memorial for years by collecting and investing the funds aimed at rescuing the remnants of KL Auschwitz', Wojciech Soczewica stated.
'Activities suggested by the Foundation and the Museum immediately after the Russian aggression on Ukraine support conservators from Ukraine. Together with the Museum we were able to offer them security, professional development and cooperation within the framework of one of the most important conservation projects in the world. I am deeply convinced that the fruit of this cooperation will contribute to the success of Ukrainian conservators working on important projects in their country', he added.
In October this year, during the session of the International Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Committee, the Ambassador of Germany declared his willingness to support this special project.
'On behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany I had today the pleasure to sign the agreement on the German support in the amount of EUR 180 thousand dedicated to the scholarship programme of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and Museum addressed to Ukrainian conservators forced by the war to live in their country. The funds shall be intended among others for conservation and language trainings, scholarships for interns, recognition of their diplomas and the purchase of equipment and materials necessary for project implementation by Auschwitz-Birkenau. What is more, the programme represents for us a very important humanitarian dimension concerning providing its beneficiaries with accommodation and medical insurance and introducing them into the Polish labour market,' said Ambassador, Dr Thomas Bagger.
Eight conservators from Ukraine have so far taken part in the scholarship programme.