A historic delegation of 100 survivors of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz will head to Poland in the coming days to participate in the bservance of the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. The survivors' group is being organized by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the USC Shoah Foundation and each survivor will attend the event with a child or grandchild.
Ronald S. Lauder, president of the WJC, who will be joining the survivors in Poland, and will be one of the keynote speakers at the ceremony in Auschwitz-Birkenau where several thousand guests are expected. Lauder has been involved in the restoration and preservation of Auschwitz-Birkenau for more than 20 years and has helped to raise $40 million from 19 countries to ensure that the camp forever be preserved for future generations. He also financed the creation of the conservation laboratory at the Auschwitz Memorial, which preserves every shoe, every document, and every building that remained at the site.
“The World Jewish Congress is humbled and honored that so many of these aging survivors will travel with us to Auschwitz,” said Robert Singer, CEO of the WJC. “This may be the last major anniversary we will be able to remember with those who experienced the Holocaust firsthand. From this historic event, their voices will echo across the generations.”
More than 100 Auschwitz survivors from 19 countries will travel to Poland as part of the World Jewish Congress delegation to the official event, which will be organized by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the International Auschwitz Council.
The ceremony will host state leaders from Poland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Croatia, and other countries. Other notable guests will include film director Steven Spielberg, founding chair of the USC Shoah Foundation; Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban; and other members of the Auschwitz 70th Anniversary Committee.