The Standards of Management and Commemoration of the former German Concentration and Extermination Camps (signed on 7th April 2017).


Those convened at the Council of Experts in Berlin-Wannsee on 7 April 2017

taking into consideration that it is the mission of UNESCO, expressed in the Preamble to its Constitution by the Organization’s founding countries in 1945, to "construct the defences of peace in the minds of men”, in order to prevent a reoccurrence of the tragic events of the Second World War,

recognizing the exceptional significance of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, established by Nazi Germany on the territory of occupied Poland, initially for Poles and Soviet prisoners, which in the years 1942-1944 became the primary and most important center for the extermination of European Jews,

recalling to mind the fundamental reason for the inclusion of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979, this being to symbolically encompass all other former extermination camps and centers from the Second World War established by the Third Reich,

being aware that the restriction of the inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List only to Auschwitz-Birkenau, recognized as a representative for other post-camp Memorials, does not exempt from reflection on preservation and methods of revealing the truth about the most terrifying crimes of the 20th century, particularly about the unique in the history of mankind crime of the Holocaust,

hereby recommend for other sites of that type, former concentration camps and extermination centres located beyond the borders of Poland, to accept the following standards of management:

  • emulation of practices developed by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, expressing extremely significant for UNESCO principles of authenticity, integrity of artefacts and archival collections, and international cooperation;
  • development of educational forms with respect for the truth and based on international dialogue and cooperation;
  • collecting artefacts that belonged to the Victims (name tags, shoes, suitcases etc.) and archival documentation (documents, photographs, films, maps) and storing in situ;
  • establishing preservation laboratories in situ;
  • conducting archaeological research on the basis of international cooperation and under rabbinical supervision;
  • functioning of an advisory and opinionative body patterned after the International Auschwitz Council;
  • performing solid research on the Victims as well as perpetrators;
  • the obligation to include – in the permanent exhibitions, information materials as well as on the internet websites clear information regarding the citizenship and nationality of the Victims.

Recognition of the abovementioned practices of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial as universal, fully reflects the symbolic significance of this site, which was emphasized by its entry in the World Heritage List. It is also a precondition for remembrance which should stand as a warning and a lesson for the future generations.

Participants at the Expert Meeting in Berlin Wannsee represented various international organizations such as: UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Yad Vashem, The Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, The Ministry of Culture in France, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Poland, The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland, The Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies, The House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Educational Site.

See also