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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Auschwitz Death Camp Given New Name to Reflect Nazi Role

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- The United Nations cultural watchdog updated its name for the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland on Thursday to reflect its German Nazi role, and designated a Shiite holy city in Iraq where mosques have come under attack as a world cultural treasure.

The Sydney Opera House was also named a world cultural site Thursday, along with the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine in Japan, Parthian Fortresses of Nisa in Turkmenistan, and The Red Fort Complex in Delhi, India, said Roni Amelan, a spokesman for UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Auschwitz will now be known as "Auschwitz-Birkenau. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)," Amelan said.

The committee agreed to update the name on its list from "Auschwitz Concentration Camp" at its meeting in New Zealand following a request from Poland, and the change is effective immediately, Amelan said.

Auschwitz, where the Nazis killed more than 1 million people, has become a symbol of the Holocaust. Birkenau was the neighboring camp and the site of the main gas chambers and crematoriums.

Poland, which was subjected to a brutal Nazi occupation, sought the name change to ensure people understand it had no role in establishing or running the camp.

Among the new sites inscribed on the World Heritage List were archaeological remains in the Iraqi city of Samara. The committee did not mention the war in its statement, but said it had immediately been added to its list of sites "in danger."

Samara, considered a holy city by Shiite Muslims, is home to some of Iraq's richest cultural treasures including the ninth-century Great Mosque.