On 20 June at the Warsaw headquarters of KPMG, which has supported the Foundation’s activities from the start, the 19th session of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Council took place.

The meeting was opened by the Council's Chairman Marek Zając, and attendees were welcomed by Andrzej Marczak, Head of Tax Advisory in Central and Eastern Europe at KPMG, and Łukasz Ziąbkowski, a key auditor at KPMG:

‘Charity is in our DNA and our values. Our pro bono activities have an educational dimension. We are very pleased that we can support the Foundation's activities with our professional knowledge,’ said Andrzej Marczak.

‘We strive to make our audits of the highest quality. We are happy with such long-term cooperation and hope it will continue,’ added Łukasz Ziąbkowski.

Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, President of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, in his presentation highlighted: ‘In 2023, the Foundation contributed 27 million PLN to the Museum for conservation works. This is a record since the Endowment Fund began supporting the Museum’s activities in preserving the Memorial in 2012.’

‘We have achieved stability and created a special protective umbrella over the Museum. The Foundation carries the huge machinery of financing conservation on its shoulders,’ he added.

The Director also emphasized how important the Foundation's current activities and the development of the "Auschwitz in Front of Your Eyes" online live visits project are for educating about the history of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz.

‘We promised ourselves that once the Endowment Fund was established, we would also start supporting the Museum's educational mission. During the COVID pandemic, it was clear that we neededto move part of the narrative online. We started working with AppsFlyer to create a new type of tour. This led to the creation of a special platform for online visits, which we launched in January this year,’ said the Director, who also emphasized that the development of this project and its funding is secured for the future.

One of the key elements of the presentation was the upcoming 80th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, for which preparations began already in 2023.

‘We successfully resolved the tender for building the entire infrastructure. Both for the main tent, where the commemoration event will be held, and for the auxiliary tents and press tent. We also plan to set up a television studio, which will broadcast a special program for several hours before and after the event, which we will provide for free both via satellite and on the Internet. Previous anniversaries, the 70th and 75th, were watched by 500-700 million people worldwide,’ said Piotr Cywiński.

Director Cywiński also mentioned plans to create a new, immersive exhibition of camp art, which will be set up in the kitchen building of the former Auschwitz I camp.

Wojciech Soczewica, the General Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, said in his speech: ‘Most of the Foundation's diverse activities are being continued. We have been able to maintain the scholarship program for Ukrainian conservators, which was initially funded by the Foundation, then supported by the German government, and this year is supported by Taiwan.’

‘We are very grateful for the support related to the online visiting project that we received from Google and Orange. In connection with the development of educational projects supported by the Foundation, including online visiting, we plan to launch a special training program for Museum educators. We have also developed a new educational strategy for the Museum, which was financed by the Norwegian government,’ said Soczewica.

It should be emphasized that the funds for educational activities carried out by the Foundation do not come from the profits of the Endowment Fund, which exclusively supports conservation work.

The Endowment Fund created and managed by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation has been supported by nearly 40 countries. Its current value is over 180 million euros. Profits from the invested Fund are allocated for the conservation of the Auschwitz Memorial. At the beginning of this year, the Foundation's support for conservation work at the Memorial Site already exceeded 100 million PLN.

Jolanta Banaś-Maciaszczyk, head of Conservation at the Museum, presented current information in her presentation about the conservation of personal items belonging to Auschwitz victims – including children's shoes, as well as many works conducted on the site of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp: securing the ruins of gas chambers and crematoria, historic brick and wooden buildings – primarily prisoner barracks, conservation of archives and items belonging to victims, conservation of metal from the so-called Canada warehouses, conservation of paint layers, and conservation of greenery.

During the meeting, the substantive report of the Foundation's work for 2023 was approved, as well as annual action plans and financial plans. Members of the Foundation Council also approved the financial statement for 2023, which according to an independent audit conducted by KPMG again raised no objections and presented a fair and transparent picture of expenditure and cash flow. The financial statements are fully compliant with all legal requirements.