22 January 2010
Press Release
Note No. 6242

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

Yad Vashem to Open Exhibit on Auschwitz Blueprints

at United Nations Headquarters, 26 January


A new exhibition of the recently uncovered blueprints of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Second World War death camps will open in the Main Gallery of the Visitors Lobby at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 26 January, as part of a week-long series of Holocaust remembrance activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

This year’s observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust will be held on 27 January under the theme “Holocaust Remembrance: The Legacy of Survival”.

The Yad Vashem exhibition, “Architecture of Murder -- the Auschwitz-Birkenau Blueprints”, displays the blueprints prepared by the Nazis as they planned the construction of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in preparation for their “Final Solution”.  The Nazis produced hundreds of technical sketches of various building sites, including detailed sketches of the gas chambers and crematoriums.  Those plans led to the construction of the largest centre for the extermination of European Jewry.

In 2008, 29 yellowing original drawings were found in an abandoned apartment in Berlin, including 15 original plans of the Auschwitz complex.  They were acquired by the Axel Springer publishing house in Germany and presented last August to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for safekeeping at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will deliver remarks at the opening ceremony for Tuesday’s exhibition.  Others expected to make statements are Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Minister for Information and Diaspora of Israel; Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations; Eli Zborowski, Chairman of the American and International Societies for Yad Vashem; and Yehudit Inbar, exhibit curator and Director of the Museums Division of Yad Vashem (Israel).

This travelling exhibition is presented at the United Nations by Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, and made possible through the generosity of Michaela and Leon Constantiner, with the support of the United Nations and International Organizations Division of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the country’s Office of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora.  The reception is hosted by the American and International Societies for Yad Vashem.

Holocaust remembrance activities at the United Nations are led by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme of the Department of Public Information.  Established by General Assembly resolution 60/7, the programme aims to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education in order to help prevent future acts of genocide.

For more information, please contact Kimberly Mann at mann@un.org and visit www.un.org/holocaustremembrance.

For more information on United Nations exhibitions, contact Jan Arnesen at +1 212 963 8531, email: arnesen@un.org; or Liza Wichmann at +1 212 963 0089, e‑mail: wichmann@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record