Since 2000, the "International Auschwitz Council" has been based at the seat of the Polish Prime Minister. Its 25 members are international experts on the history of Auschwitz and the Holocaust and are appointed by the Polish Prime Minister for six years at a time. For many years of its existence, the committee was shaped by its chairman, Prof. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, who, together with other survivors of the camp, was able to bring the views of former Jewish and non-Jewish prisoners and international experts to bear in helping and resolving many current conflicts. In 2014, Prof. Bartoszewski handed over the leadership of the panel to Prof. Barbara Engelking. After the end of the third appointment period in 2018, the Polish government decided not to reappoint the internationally renowned panel, which had included Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, Avner Shalev as Director of Yad Vashem, Sara Bloomfield of the Washington Holocaust Memorial and Auschwitz survivor Roman Kent, as President of the International Auschwitz Committee, and dismissed the members of the panel without further information regarding its continued existence. From Germany, Romani Rose, President of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, and Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, had been members of the International Auschwitz Council.
In recent months, when conflicts between Israel and Poland over remembrance culture have escalated massively, the International Auschwitz Committee has repeatedly pointed out that the re-establishment of the International Auschwitz Council is urgently necessary in the interest of the Auschwitz memorial, Polish-Jewish relations and the international impulses that have emanated from this body in the past for memorials in many countries, in order to be able to moderate and defuse existing conflicts in advance, as has happened in the past the presidents of the IAC, Roman Kent sel. A. and Marian Turski made this clear in a letter to the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in May 2021 and asked him to reinstate the committee.
Commenting on the Polish government's reappointment of the 4th International Auschwitz Council and the meeting with Prime Minister Morawiecki, Marian Turski, Auschwitz survivor and President of the International Auschwitz Committee, said in Warsaw: "Together with other survivors, I am very grateful for the reestablishment of the International Auschwitz Council and yesterday's meeting with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who handed over the Polish government's appointment documents to us. This is an important new beginning in complicated times. The existence of this body will be an important part of the future work of the Auschwitz Memorial, expanding its internationality and, in particular, accompanying the links between the Jewish and Polish worlds and acting as a moderator and advisor in the event of conflicts."
And Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice-President of the International Auschwitz Committee, added: "Especially in the current situation, in which numerous memorials in Europe are targets of right-wing extremist vituperation and attacks, it is important that the Polish government creates space for international dialogue, which will benefit not only the Auschwitz memorial but above all dialogue and remembrance work with young people. I am grateful that I am able to represent Germany in this important body together with Romani Rose from the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. "
For the International Auschwitz Committee, Hannah Lessing from Austria has also been appointed to the International Auschwitz Council, in addition to Auschwitz survivor Marian Turski. The committee includes representatives from Israel, the USA, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. The Polish historian Prof. Grzegorz Behrendt and Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Board of the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, were elected as chairpersons.