The Auschwitz Jewish Center (AJC), an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Oświęcim, Poland, honors the memory of Oświęcim’s Jewish community, and educates about local Jewish history and confronting all forms of hatred. With the rise of xenophobia and discrimination in Poland and around the world, the AJC’s mission remains even more important than when it first opened in 2000.
On January 10, 2021, the Jewish cemetery in Oświęcim was desecrated with Nazi symbols spray-painted on the wall. This act offends the memory of those buried in the cemetery and the many former Jewish inhabitants of Oświęcim who were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau, located just 3 km from the town.
This is the second antisemitic attack on the cemetery in one year.
The Jewish cemetery, built in the late 1800s, was devastated by the Nazis during World War II, its tombstones used as construction material. After the war ended, the cemetery was rebuilt by a handful of Holocaust survivors.
Today, the cemetery is maintained by the AJC and serves as a memorial to the destroyed Jewish community. Current residents of Oświęcim participate in its care and maintenance.
We appreciate the immediate response from local officials and law enforcement to paint over the graffiti and identify and arrest the perpetrators. Mayor Janusz Chwierut of Oświęcim issued a statement condemning these acts and reiterating the town’s commitment to remembering the Jewish community of Oświęcim and victims of the Holocaust.
Local law enforcement and educators regularly attend anti-discrimination and diversity trainings by the AJC on topics including antisemitism, xenophobia, and hate speech. The impact of AJC programming is evident in the community’s heightened sensitivity to this attack. We are grateful for the strong and ongoing partnership we have with the local government and community, and for their continued support over the past 20 years.
Please consider making a donation to ensure that AJC remains a beacon of education for generations to come.