Int'l Auschwitz Council debates modernizing camp

The International Auschwitz Council began debating on Tuesday whether to modernize a 51-year-old exhibition at the site of the Nazi death camp _ a proposal opposed by some Holocaust survivors who fear changes will destroy the authenticity of the site. The council - an advisory committee that includes Holocaust survivors, scholars and religious leaders - is considering a proposal by the new director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum to renovate an aging exhibition dating back to the early years of communist rule in Poland. The director, Piotr Cywinski, argues that the exhibition - housed in austere barracks at the sprawling complex in southern Poland - has become old-fashioned compared to modern museums like Yad Vashem in Israel and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The Auschwitz complex houses "the oldest exhibition about the Shoah (Holocaust) in the world," Cywinski said on the sidelines of a daylong council meeting in Warsaw. "We really must change."