NEW YORK (Sep. 11)
Representatives of the World Jewish Congress on Thursday brought the controversy of the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz to the table of a United Nations body.
They were able to convince the director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization that the convent is a violation of the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and National Heritage, according to WJC Vice President Kalman Sultanik, who participated in the meeting in Paris.
The convention, adopted by UNESCO in 1972, was established to protect and preserve international sites of cultural or natural importance, which were placed on a list of protected places, the World Heritage List.
Poland ratified that convention in 1976. Auschwitz was added to the World Heritage List in 1979 by a proposal of both the World Jewish Congress and Poland.
Sultanik reported that UNESCO Director General Federico Mayor Zaragoza agreed with WJC’s complaint and transmitted it to the organization’s World Heritage Committee, composed of the signatories to the convention.
The committee will now investigate the matter and report back to UNESCO.
Accompanying Sultanik at the meeting were Serge Cwajgenbaum, director of WJC’s European branch, and Jean Kahn, president of CRIF, the French umbrella body of Jewish organizations.