Auschwitz name change postponed

UNESCO has postponed a decision on a Polish request to change the official name of the Auschwitz concentration camp after members of the World Heritage Committee could not agree on the issue, a UN official said Wednesday. The Polish government wants to change the official name of the notorious death camp where an estimated 1.5 million people were killed during World War II from "Auschwitz Concentration Camp" to the "Former Nazi German Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau." The Poles say the change is necessary to show future generations that Poland had no role in establishing or running the camp. Members of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee discussed the request Wednesday, but could not reach a unanimous decision, a UN official said. The 21-member committee asked the Polish government to hold talks with countries that objected to the name change so that the issue could be taken up at next year's meeting, the official said. "It seemed a good idea to discuss this with other state parties that had reservations," the official said, adding he did not know which members opposed the Polish request. The death camp at Auschwitz was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization committee was meeting in Vilnius for its 30th session. The weeklong conference ends Sunday.