Volkswagen Human Resources Board Member Gunnar handed the two vehicles over to IAC Executive Vice President Christoph Heubner and Deputy Director of the Auschwitz Memorial Site Andrzej Kacorzyk, this afternoon at the German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin.
Kilian said: “Volkswagen and the International Auschwitz Committee have been joined together by unique cooperation for three decades. We want to ensure that remembrance of the atrocities and suffering never fades. This is why the Memorial Site at Auschwitz and the international youth meetings in Oświęcim are and will remain extremely important for us.“
Heubner thanked Volkswagen for its donation: “We will use these vehicles to collect people including Auschwitz survivors and international guests from the airport in Kraków and transport apprentices and other helpers from the Auschwitz/Oświęcim Youth Meeting Center to the Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Kacorzyk emphasized: “The vehicles will also be a great help for international seminars especially in view of the growing interest in visits to the Memorial Site among young people from throughout the world.”
The Multivans from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hanover each feature full equipment including seven seats, two sliding doors, automatic air conditioning and a tow bar and replace two older VW minibuses.
“Auschwitz – Remembrance and Responsibility”
The initiative started in December 1987 with a seminar for apprentices from Wolfsburg in Auschwitz. Over the past 30 years, 3,289 young Germans and Poles have taken part in youth meetings in Oświęcim (Poland). Together, the young women and men from the two countries help to preserve the Auschwitz Memorial Site. For instance, they clear weeds from pathways, repair barbed wire fences, restore the enamel tableware used by former inmates or preserve the shoes of the victims. Also they talk to eyewitnesses who survived Auschwitz concentration camp and the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Memorial Site is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The International Auschwitz Committee (IAC) was founded in 1952 by survivors to ensure that Auschwitz would not be forgotten. The committee includes organizations, foundations and Holocaust survivors from 19 countries. Information on the committee is available in English, French, German and Polish at www.auschwitz.info.
About 1.5 million people were murdered by the Nazi regime at Auschwitz concentration camp and the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Red Army liberated the few survivors on January 27, 1945.
Note: A report on Memorial Site work with interviews, images and films, and the latest photos from Berlin are available at www.volkswagen-newsroom.com.