Organisation and cooperating partners
The National Fund was supported and assisted throughout the renewal process by especially established committees and advisory boards. In addition to the financial support of the participating ministries and institutions, other cooperating partners made a key contribution to the success of the project.
Coordination Office at the National Fund
The National Fund was responsible for realising the project. The main priorities were the new exhibition in Block 17 and the renovation of the building. In order to accomplish these, an inter-departmental Coordination Office was established at the Fund, headed by Claire Fritsch.
The new exhibition was developed in close coordination with the ministries and institutions that provided the funding. The National Fund reached its decisions in consensus with the Steering Committee, which represented the financing institutions and providers of technical assistance. These were: the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, the National Fund, the Federal Changellery, Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the Concentration Camp Memorial Mauthausen (previously the Federal Ministry of the Interior), the federal provinces and the Austrian Castle and Fortress Authority. The Steering Committee decided on the project’s objectives, terms and distribution of resources.
Academic Advisory Board
The Board was composed of experts from the fields of contemporary history, Holocaust research, museum education and the culture of remembrance. The Advisory Board provided the project with academic support and submitted its advice during the development process for the new exhibition’s concept in the form of recommendations.
The Advisory Board convened in November 2009 and voted to appoint honorary professor Dr. Wolfgang Neugebauer, former Director of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance, as its Chairperson, and Dr. Brigitte Halbmayr, Institute for Conflict Research, as its Deputy Chairperson. From early 2014, Dr. Brigitte Halbmayr was Chairperson and Dr. Karin Liebhart, Institute for Political Sciences of the University of Vienna, its Deputy Chairperson.
Societal Advisory Board
The Societal Advisory Board was established in January 2010. It was composed of representatives from victims’ organisations, religious communities, affected interest groups, memorial services and parliamentary factions. This broad range of members was intended to ensure that the new exhibition was met with a broad social consensus. In particular, the interests and concerns of the vicitms’ groups found a voice through the work of the Societal Advisory Board.
Its Chairperson was university lecturer Dr. Herta Neiß, secretary of the Camp Community Auschwitz. She was supported by Deputy Chairperson Albert Dlabaja from the Concentration Camp Association, Federal Alliance of Austrian Resistance Fighters and Victims of Fascism. Until his death on 12 March 2016, Prof. Rudolf Sarközi, Head of the Cultural Association of Austrian Roma, also lent his support to Dr. Neiß in the position of Deputy Chairperson. Honorary chairpersonship was held by Auschwitz survivor Norbert Lopper until his death in April 2015.
State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
The State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau was established on the site of the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz in Oświęcim in 1947. It has been a UNSECO World Heritage Site since 1979. As the Austrian exhibition is displayed on the grounds of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, every step and all content had to be be agreed with the museum. The National Fund had to conclude agreements with the museum regarding the organisation of the exhibition and the renovation of Block 17. All substantive, design and structural work all had to be agreed with the museum before it could be carried out and it had to comply with museum guidelines. These tasks could only be executed once a consensus had been reached.
In addition to the financial support of the mentioned ministries and institutions, there were other cooperating partners that made key contributions to the project’s success. The following are particularly worthy of note:
The necessary procurement procedures for the exhibition renewal were undertaken in close cooperation with the Procurement Office of the Federal Chancellery.
Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
The Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs with its satellite offices in Poland was an important partner in the renewal process. The Austrian Embassy in Warsaw, the Honorary Consul in Krakow and experts from the Ministry in Vienna provided fundamental administrative and organisational assistance.
Federal Ministry of Defense and Sport
Successful cooperation with the Army Photographic and Film Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Defense and Sport enabled the photographic documentation of the 1978 exhibition.