On January 27, 2010, during a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day held at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, Polish President Lech Kaczyński awarded Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
During the ceremony, which marked this year 65 years since the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Army, speeches were delivered by the President and Prime Minister of Poland, the Prime Minister of Israel, international delegates and figures, and Holocaust survivors. Polish President Kaczyński also awarded decorations during the ceremony to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Director Sara Bloomfield and Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Director Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński.
The three decorations were awarded for “eminent services in educational and museum work commemorating the victims of the Nazi German labor camps, concentration camps, and extermination centers, and for their accomplishments in the development of the Polish-Jewish dialogue.”
Former recipients of the award include Janusz Korczak and Righteous Among the Nations Irena Sendler.