With effect from 1 June 2022, Mr Christoph Heubner has resigned from the Board of the IYMC Foundation. It is impossible to see this date as anything other than the end of an era at the Youth Meeting Centre. Christoph Heubner had been connected to our institution since its inception, and actually even longer: he had been involved in the planning and negotiations of the construction of the IYMC in Oświęcim since 1980. Since the inception of the IYMC Foundation in 1995, he has been a member of the Board, serving as chair or vice-chair. He always carried out his work on the Board with care and concern for the good of the Centre and its employees, which was of particular importance for the work of the IYMC, especially in the last two years, marked by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Christoph Heubner's enormous commitment to the commemoration of the victims of Nazi crimes and to Polish-German reconciliation accompanied him throughout his adult life. After secondary school he refused military service, choosing instead to serve as a peacekeeper for the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ASF) in Oxford at a homeless shelter, later supervising the first ASF-groups at the Stutthof concentration camp memorial site. After studying German studies, history and politics in Marburg and Kassel, he joined ASF. Since 1985, he has worked with the International Auschwitz Committee, an organization that is one of the strategic partners of the Meeting Center, serving as its Executive Vice President.
Equally important for the work of the IYMC is Ch. Heubner's involvement, lasting since 1990, in taking care of the trainees of Volkswagen AG and the students of Polish vocational schools during their 14-day seminar stay at our Centre, as well as the conservatory work at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the process of Polish-German reconciliation and his contribution to building good neighbourly relations, Christoph Heubner received a number of the highest decorations in Poland and Germany, including Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (1998), Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2002), Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2005), Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2014), Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany 1st Class (2015), Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2021). He was also awarded the Medal of Honour of the City of Oswiecim (2014).
Christoph Heubner is an important meritorical partner for the International Youth Meeting Centre, for 36 years he has been a respected supervisor for the employees, but also for many of them, a good Friend. We hope that our cooperation, although in a slightly different form, will continue to be just as fruitful and intensive.