Representatives of the countries which have supported the Perpetual Capital of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation attended the 5th Meeting of the International Committee of the Foundation, which took place on October 13th in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister in Warsaw.
The main task of the committee is to provide Foundation donor states with full access to information regarding Foundation’s finances and activities. The role of the Committee is also to advise and express opinions. It is formed by the members recommended by subsequent states.
The meeting began with a minute of silence to commemorate Professor Władysław Bartoszewski, Founder and the first Chairman of the Foundation Council, who passed away on April 24th 2015.
'I would like to assure you that we will be continuing the activity of the Foundation according to the spirit and style of Professor Władysław Bartoszewski. Two elements underlie the works of the Foundation. On one hand it is a certain idea, and I think we are all aware of the grandeur of this idea. The second important element is constituted by credibility. That is why the style and mode of activities of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation are not going to change. Transparency and credibility of our activities are still of major importance for us', said Marek Zając, Chairman of the Foundation Council.
During the meeting, members of the committee familiarized themselves with the substantive report on the Foundation’s activity as well as with the financial statements for the year 2014. 'At present, financial declarations amount to ca. 113 million euros out of the 120 million euros that have been planned, while the balance of the Foundation’s bank accounts already amounts to ca. 90 million euros”, said Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, President and co-founder of the Foundation.
Jacek Kastelaniec, Director General of the Foundation, presented also the activities planned for the nearest future. The works of the Foundation are supposed to concentrate on the closing of the Perpetual Capital, mainly through winning more individual donors, Pillars of Memory. Kastelaniec, one of the co-founders of the Foundation, thanked also the members of the International Committee for their long-term cooperation and informed that his mission within the Foundation is coming to an end. Since November 1st 2015, Anna Miszewska will hold the position of Director General of the Foundation.
'I am very grateful for the trust of the Foundation Council and I would also like to thank Jacek Kastelaniec for the years we worked together and for all the things I have learnt from him', said Anna Miszewska. 'He leaves a very well-run institution, with a great and well-managed team. I am sure that we will cope with the challenges that are awaiting us and that the Foundation will be developing as it is has been so far', emphasized Miszewska.
During the meeting, the presentation summarizing the state of conservation works being performed at the Auschwitz Memorial within Master Plan for Preservation was shown. The Plan is a long-term program of conservation works at the Auschwitz Memorial financed from the funds of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. This year, the support is estimated at PLN 6.4 million.
Recently, the projects conducted within the Master Plan for Preservation were subject to detailed audit for the year 2014. It included the implementation of the provisions of the contract between the Foundation and the Museum, financial and accounting procedures, control procedures applied as well as the correctness of the eligibility of expenditure. The audit confirmed the correct realization of projects in the abovementioned areas (opinion from the audit).
At present, 7 big projects are being realized from the funds provided by the Foundation.
'These include among others the works in the first brick barracks within the historical premises of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau, unprecedented on the scale of global conservation experience, as well as the works connected with the regulation of hydrographic conditions in this area', said Rafał Pióro, Deputy Director of the Auschwitz Museum and Member of the Board of the Foundation.
Moreover, multi-dimensional research is being conducted in order to gather data necessary for preparing detailed conservation programs as well as the modernization of one of the Collections storage rooms, where items of former camp clothing are stored.
New representatives of donor states took part in the 5th Meeting of the International Committee: Gerard Keown, Ambassador of Ireland to Poland, Dušan Krištofík, Ambassador of Slovakia to Poland, and Alessandro De Pedys, Ambassador of Italy to Poland.