Dignitaries from around the world assembled in Israel to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Prayers for the martyrs were recited and the survivors were acknowledged for their heroism – responding to death with life, teaching all of humankind never to lose hope.Truth be told, the long-term memory of the Holocaust faces serious challenges. With each passing year, fewer survivors remain. The time is not far off when there will be no living witnesses to share their part in this story, to say: Yes, this happened, and this is how. Tragically, evidence of the atrocities of the Holocaust is being co-opted by other groups for other purposes. That is why Jews the world over were appalled when, in 1984, Carmelite nuns took over an Auschwitz building that had once stored the Zyklon B gas that Nazis used to murder Jews. With the full support of Polish Cardinal Franciszek Marcharski, local authorities granted the nuns a 99-year lease to convert the building into a convent where the nuns sought to pray for the souls of the murdered.Around this time another affront took place, this time at Birkenau – also called Auschwitz II – when the local Catholic community established a functioning church in what was once the Nazi commandant headquarters. Birkenau was the actual “theater of death” where 1.1 million Jews were murdered, constituting 95% of its victims.The Birkenau Church is in violation of a 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Culture and Natural Heritage. Auschwitz is on that heritage list.The church is also in violation of a solemn agreement signed in 1987 by European cardinals and European Jewish leaders that “there will be no permanent Catholic place of worship on the site of the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps.”The Birkenau Church, with its inescapable Christian presence, represents one of today’s most imminent threats to the integrity of Holocaust memory. With the camps decaying, within a few decades all that will remain at that site – the most notorious of the death camps – will be the Birkenau Church with its cross casting a shadow over the entire camp.The world will then believe that the Holocaust was an attempt at Christian genocide, and that the Vatican systematically engaged in protecting Jews during the Holocaust, when in fact the opposite is painfully true. While there were “righteous gentiles” who at great risk saved Jewish lives, the Vatican was nowhere to be found.Back in 1989, I joined a group of seven activists protesting the Carmelite convent. We climbed over the fence surrounding the convent and peacefully assembled. Polish workers inside the convent poured a bucket of water mixed with urine on us as nuns watched from the windows. In 1993, Pope John Paul II himself ordered the nuns to leave, and the convent was shut down.Pope Francis can do the same today by ordering the Birkenau Church to be moved. The Polish government, too, has it within its power to insist that the church relocate.Indeed, we aren’t suggesting that the people living in the village of Brzezinka be deprived of their parish church. A church should be built for them in the village, away from the camp.The building should become a museum, specific to Birkenau, showing how the Nazis carried out their atrocities there. The large crosses in front of and on top of the building should be removed. The memory of the Jews murdered there – murdered because they were Jews – must be recognized with historical accuracy.As a rabbi, I have deep respect for all places of worship, but a church does not belong at the largest Jewish cemetery in the world.And so, we will be traveling to Auschwitz for the commemoration. There, we’re hopeful that survivors will join us as we stand in front of the Birkenau Church and raise a voice of moral conscience, of Jewish conscience, for those who cannot speak for themselves.The writer is founding rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Bronx, NY. He is national president of AMCHA-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns, and a longtime activist for Jewish causes, human rights and defending Holocaust memory. A version of this appeared at JTA.