On the occasion of the 80th anniversary commemorating the outbreak of the uprising in the Białystok ghetto, the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, announced U.S. support for the development of a virtual online tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial.
– “The United States will always be your partner in keeping this history alive," said Secretary Blinken. "We’re taking another step in that effort, by working with our Congress to invest $1 million to help create a virtual tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau, so that more people who can’t visit can experience the indelible impact of seeing that site," he announced.
– The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, from the very beginning of its existence, was focused on preserving the Memorial for future generations. Today, however, Foundation is also more and more involved in educational projects. Creating a special platform, thanks to which people from all over the world, will be able to visit online the grounds of the Museum, with additional support from the US, will be crucial for the development of this unique and innovative concept – said the president of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and the Director of the Auschwitz Museum, Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
– None of the educational activities at the Museum, supported by the foundation, is financed from the endowment fund, which was created specifically to preserve the Memorial – added Cywiński.
The innovative "Auschwitz in Front of Your Eyes" application, through which millions of people will gain access to education directly from the authentic Memorial Site, will be used by people from all over the world to visit the site of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau with an online guide. The narration will be conducted live, and the educator will also use multimedia materials, archival photographs, artistic works, documents, and testimonies of survivors.
U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski said, “The United States’ contribution demonstrates our commitment to action in ensuring Never Again means Never Again. US Mission Poland is anti-Antisemitism. We are honored to partner with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and Memorial on this critical and innovative educational effort which will reach people across the globe.”
– The development of this technology and the use of the platform for educational purposes will allow us to jointly preserve the tragic experiences of the victims and Survivors of Auschwitz and disseminate them on a global scale. I hope other countries will soon join the United States, Monaco, and Malta in contributing to this effort. In the era of polarization and growing social tensions, the use of instruments that will allow us to reach an increasingly wider audience seems to be a necessity. The excellent cooperation of the Foundation, the Museum, and global technological leaders on the platform contributes to the implementation of our mission – said Wojciech Soczewica, General Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.
The design of this special platform, dedicated to the Memorial, was created in cooperation with the Museum, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, Israeli companies AppsFlyer and Diskin, and thanks to the support of specialist companies, such as Orange, which provided stable and fast wireless Internet access throughout the Memorial, and thanks to the involvement of many private donors and foundations.