WHC clarifies reports over name change of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

The World Heritage Committee (WHC) clarified Wednesday media reports on its decision regarding the request by Poland to rename the site of Auschwita Concentration Camp.

"The Committee decided that before changing the name of the site, further international consultations should be conducted together with UNESCO's World Heritage Center," said Chairperson of the WHC's 30th session Ian Marciulionyte at a news conference.

"These consultations should enable us to ensure that if a new name is decided at the next session of the World heritage Committee it will do justice to the outstanding universal value of the site," she explained.

She said the WHC took note of the fact that "the criterion for the inscription of Auschwitz relates to events of outstanding universal significance that not only depict an evil period of history but also serve as a beacon of warning to uphold the human values and ideals of peace and tolerance that underpin UNESCO's Constitution adopted in the aftermath of World War II".

In view of these complex criteria, the WHC will discuss at its next session the name of the Auschwitz Consentration Camp on the World Heritage List, she said.

Polish media reports said earlier Wednesday that UNESCO's WHC approved in Vilnius a new name, "the Former Nazi German Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau" to replace the current name.

The notorious Auschwitz Concentration camp, established by Nazi Germany during the Second World War, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979.

At the camp, as many as 1.5 million people, mostly European Jews, died during the 1940s.

The reports said the move followed a request by Poland, which had grown increasingly uncomfortable with media reports describing the death camp as being "Polish" due to it being located in the country.

Poland had asked UNESCO in April to rename the site, saying it was necessary to show future generations that Poles had no role in establishing or running the prison.

Source: Xinhua

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