23.05.2012 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Holocaust education. Renewing the “Ex-Yugoslav” Pavilion in World Heritage Memorial site of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Copyright © Yad Vashem - Visitor in the Hall of Names

The Ministry of Culture, Media and Information Society of Serbia, with the support and participation of the UNESCO Venice Office, is hosting on 4 June in Belgrade at the Museum of Yugoslav History, an international meeting of experts on “Holocaust education and museum development in South-East Europe: renewing the “Ex-Yugoslav” Pavilion in Auschwitz-Birkenau” to discuss the establishment of a permanent regional exhibit space within the renovated ex-Yugoslav pavilion (nr. 17) in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and Memorial, a site placed on the World Heritage List in 1979 by UNESCO.

This initiative is organized within UNESCO’s framework initiative “Culture: a Bridge to Development”, which seeks to promote creativity and cultural heritage in all its forms as a powerful and unique tool for sustainable social, economic and human development. It addresses more particularly UNESCO’s overall mission to promote holocaust education, as well as the role of museums as tools for intercultural understanding, research and dialogue.

This first meeting is taking place further to the willingness expressed by all former Yugoslav Republics (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) not to divide the exhibit space of the Pavilion 17, closed in 2009, and to prepare a joint permanent exhibition, while establishing a regional working group.

This meeting will serve to discuss a work plan and strategy, for the renovation of the pavilion, the preparation of feasibility study, the concept design and the setting up of the permanent exhibit. It will bring together experts from participating countries and experts representing the following internationally recognized institutions: Holocaust Memorial Museum (USA), Mémorial de la Shoah (France), Topography of Terror Foundation (Germany), National Fund for Victims of National Socialism (Austria), and the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland).

The overall objective of this initiative is to promote Holocaust education, as well as the role of World heritage memory sites, documentary heritage and museums as tools for intercultural understanding, education, research and dialogue. This renovated pavilion could also serve to influence and inspire similar initiatives in South Eastern Europe and beyond. 

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