Visitor from Auschwitz

October 13, 2010 Agencies
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Dr Piotr Cywinski, the Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, will be the keynote speaker at the Australian Jewish community’s Kristallnacht memorial services next month.

Dr Piotr Cywinski with his award for the development of Polish-Jewish dialogue

The Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Dr Piotr Cywinski, will be keynote speaker at the community’s Kristallnacht ceremony next month.

The annual Kristallnacht ceremony, organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, will be held at NCJW Council House on Tuesday November 9 .

The occasion will be used to launch a guide to the Holocaust which the Board of Deputies has been writing for the past 12 months, and which is being funded by the family of Professor Gus Lehrer.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said: “It is a major coup for the community to be addressed by Dr Piotr Cywinski. Given his deep involvement in Polish-Jewish and Christian-Jewish dialogue, and the fact that he sits at the site which was the epicentre of the Holocaust, he brings a unique perspective to the table.”

Cywinski, 38, was born in Warsaw. He was the secretary of the International Auschwitz Council between 2000 and 2006, when he was appointed the director of the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 2009 the late Polish President, Lech Kaczynski awarded Cywinski the Knight’s Cross of the Poland Reborn.

Alhadeff added: “We would like to thank AIJAC (the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council) for facilitating Dr Cywinski’s participation in this event.”

Cywinski has a busy schedule in Australia. In Sydney, he will also address students and academics from all universities at Shalom College and a meeting to be held jointly by the Council of Christians Jews and the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs.

In Melbourne, he will deliver the Shmuel and Betty Rosencrantz Oration at the Jewish Holocasut Museum and address a joint function hosted by the Polish Community Council of Victoria and the Council of Christians and Jews.

The Auschwitz director will also meet with politicians and senior officials in Canberra.


One Response to “Visitor from Auschwitz”
  1. Penny says:

    I felt the same as you do when there last summer with my two adult children. My husband was born in a DP camp near Stuttgart and I wanted to take them through their history. Their grandparents were from Lodz. The memorial needs to be more “experiential.” And offer a place to be silent where visitors can think about what the human being is capable of doing to another human being. It’s a message relevant to yesterday, today and tomorrow. It needs to have a lasting impact.
    Thank you for planning a change. I wish I could be part of it.

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