WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A new Polish foundation has been created that will distribute grants globally to groups that come up with novel ways to fight indifference to hatred and discrimination.
The Auschwitz Pledge Foundation was announced on Wednesday, on the eve of the 77th anniversary of the liberation, by Soviet forces in 1945, of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in German-occupied Poland. January 27 is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The goal of the Warsaw-based group is to support innovative projects that fight indifference to hatred in societies, based on the idea that it can lead to violence and even genocide.
The foundation plans to start by issuing grants of 30,000 euros ($34,000) each to three projects and hopes to expand the program in coming years. The funds were donated by the BNP Paribas bank.
The foundation’s general director, Jacek Kastelaniec, told The Associated Press that Auschwitz survivors have often said one of the worst experiences they had was the indifference of bystanders.
“It’s what allows horrible things to happen,” he said. “Our goal is to find a ways to influence attitudes.”
The site of Auschwitz is now a memorial site and museum. Poland was the site of mass executions of Polish Jews and Christians, and is where the Nazi forces carried out much of their genocide of Jews from across Europe, transporting many to Auschwitz to be murdered in gas chambers. Today the Polish state is the guardian of Auschwitz and several other former German-run death camps.
This version corrects that the Auschwitz Pledge Foundation was not launched by the Auschwitz museum, but is a separate initiative.