An initiative to promote Holocaust education, UNESCO World Heritage sites of memory and documentary heritage is afoot in South Eastern Europe. At an international meeting in Sarajevo on 5 December, experts on Holocaust education and museum development from the region will discuss the creation of a permanent regional exhibition in the renovated ex-Yugoslav pavilion in the World Heritage site of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945) .
Part of the UNESCO initiative “Culture: a Bridge to Development”, which seeks to promote creativity and cultural heritage as a powerful tool for sustainable development, the project reflects UNESCO’s overall mission to promote holocaust education, as well as the role of museums as tools for intercultural understanding, research and dialogue.
This event follows a first meeting in June 2012 in Belgrade to build on 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 exhibition space of Pavilion 17, closed in 2009, and instead to prepare a joint permanent exhibition.
Participants at this second meeting will address the practical side of the renovation and define common approaches for the concept, themes, documentation and design of the joint exhibition. Experts from participating countries and institutions such as the 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) will participate.
It is hoped that the renovated pavilion can influence and inspire similar initiatives in South Eastern Europe and beyond.