The Renew Europe group in the European Committee of the Regions nominates Alain Chouraqui, the President of the Camp des Milles Memorial Foundation for Remembrance and Education in Aix en Provence for the 2023 Pawel Adamowicz award.
Camp des Milles is the only large internment and holocaust deportation camp in France still intact and open to the public, and it is thanks to Alain Chouraqui, as founding president of the Foundation in the 1990s, that the site was preserved and transformed into a memorial museum, research centre, and educational site.
Designed primarily for young people – more than 600,000 young people have already visited the Camp, where they are given a new perspective and the opportunity to reflect on the process that lead to genocide, how to recognize it and what risk they face today through social media- it is not only a place of remembrance and preservation of heritage, but also a “museum of ideas”, an innovative lab providing multidisciplinary references and facts to help understand the origins of genocide and to help us remain alert to identity-based extremism.
Under Alain Chouraqui’s guidance, Camp des Milles has really evolved from a place of remembrance to a place of “remembrance for tomorrow”, moving from “Never again!” to “How do we ensure never again?”, appealing to the individual responsibility of all people to recognise and oppose identity-based, nationalistic and religious extremism, and its resulting exclusion and violence. It is also interesting that it was Chouraqui and other local players, including former deportees, who fought to preserve this site and turn it into this place of remembrance. Without his intervention and unshakeable dedication, what is today a site of historical European significance would have totally disappeared. For this, the Renew Europe group in the European Committee of the Regions nominates him for the Pawel Adamowicz award.
Partners for the preservation of the Camp des Milles site include the Municipality of Aix-en-Provence, the French state, the regional government, the Department of Bouches-du-Rhone, the Shoah Memorial Foundation, the French Council of Jewish Institutions.
The Pawel Adamowicz award for courage and excellence in the promotion of freedom, solidarity and equality is a partnership between the City of Gdańsk, the European Committee of the Regions, which Mr Adamowicz was a member of, and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN). The establishment of this Award is an homage to and recognition of everyone who works with courage and integrity against intolerance, radicalisation, hate-speech, oppression and xenophobia. Those who promote equal opportunities, social integration and fundamental rights. Those who are inspired by and carry on the legacy of Paweł Adamowicz. The prize is awarded every year since 2020.