Auschwitz museum struggles to preserve site
In the drive to stop the site falling into ruin and preserve the memory of the 1.1 million overwhelmingly Jewish victims who died here during World War II, they face tall odds.
"This is our last chance," warned Piotr Cywinski, director of the state-run museum.
The museum keeps going thanks to the Polish government, which covers around half of its costs, plus visitors' ticket fees. Up to five percent of its budget comes from the US-based Lauder Foundation and Germany's regional governments.
Last month it announced plans for a 120-million-euro (162-million-dollar) appeal to enable it to become self-financing.
Crucially, said Cywinski, it could then set aside some 5.0 million euros a year for conservation work.
The rudimentary buildings of the camp's Birkenau site, built by the prisoners on marshy land, are being battered by soil erosion and water damage.
"We have to finish conservation work on all these buildings within 10 to 12 years, so we need to start within three years at the latest," said Cywinski.
"The primary goal is to preserve the site's authentic nature and not to rebuild it, in order not to change the perception of this place," he added.
The museum devotes much of its time protecting the intimate traces of the prisoners' presence.
comments powered by Disqus
Thaddeus Brodrick Noble - 4/6/2009
Bulldoze this crap into a landfill and build a super Wal Mart there.
This will provide employment to the local population, increase in tax revenue to the local goverment, infux of new goods to the country and a chance to see something positive for a change.
Those who travel there to whine and wimper can now reap fantastic sale bargains and always be "next in line" like the advertisment says.
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History