IAC :: Remember the past, be responsible for the future

Stauffenbergstraße 13/14
10785 Berlin

fon: ++ 49 (030) 26 39 26 81
Telefax: ++ 49 (030) 26 39 26 83

URI: https://www.auschwitz.info/

Service navigation:
language navigation:
language navigation:

Press Information published by the International Auschwitz Committee


“We want to do things better”: in Auschwitz / Oswiecim young people from Germany and Poland commemorate the anniversary of the invasion of Poland

IAC logo




A week ago, trainees from Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Emden and Osnabrück, and Polish vocational college students from Bielsko Biala, started working together on a Memorial Project organized by the International Auschwitz Committee at the Auschwitz Memorial. They are involved in conservation work at the former concentration camp and extermination centre in efforts to preserve the traces of the Jewish people who were murdered there.

Today, the young people from Germany and Poland will be taking part in the official remembrance ceremony in the city of Oswiecim/Auschwitz marking the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Poland. They will be laying a “German-Polish wreath” at the ceremony alongside the city’s mayor Janusz Chwierut and members of the general public.

Christoph Heubner, the Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, who is looking after the group, said:

“The city of Oswiecim and its people suffered terribly during that war. In addition to the general suffering caused by the war that the Germans unleashed on Poland, the situation in Oswiecim was made worse when many of the Polish citizens were forcibly removed to make way for the emerging concentration camp. The camp was initially used to imprison Polish people in inhuman conditions for attempting to resist the Nazi occupiers. The Jewish citizens from the town were later murdered in the gas chambers once the extermination centre had been built. To this day each and every citizen in Oswiecim is constantly brought face-to-face with these memories and family experiences through the existence of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial which is visited by more than two million people from around the globe each year.” 

Ines Doberanzke-Milnikel, the representative from Volkwagen responsible for the Memorial Project, said:

“Over the past few days the young people have talked a lot about the memories from that first day of September, and the suffering and consequences of the Second World War within their families. As a result of the stories told by their Polish colleagues about their families, the young Germans have understood the sheer scale of humiliation and destruction the Germans were determined to inflict on the Polish nation, and how brutally this war affected every family in Poland. But the young Germans have also been telling their Polish colleagues about their family memories and the sorrows and losses that resulted from the war.”

And Christoph Heubner added:

“It was for this reason in particular that the young people from Germany and Poland felt it so important to commemorate the dead, to remember the horrors of that war together with the citizens of Oswiecim, and to stand firmly side by side for friendship between Germans and Polish people in Europe. ‘We want to do things better’ was something the young people constantly repeated, and something they take very seriously as a result of their mutual experiences and exchanges inside the Memorial.”


For further Information

Christoph Heubner

Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee
Phone ++ 49 (0)30 26 39 26 81