Auschwitz-Birkenau to Undergo Maintenance Work
Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration camp where some 1.3 million people were killed, will undergo major maintenance work paid for by donors from nearly 20 countries, museum officials said Wednesday.
"Created three years ago as the first of its kind worldwide, the funding instrument for maintenance work is beginning to bear fruit," Piotr Cywinski, director of the museum located in Oswiecim, southern Poland, said in a statement.
"It is a turning point for the conservation of the authentic character of Auschwitz-Birkenau," he added.
Nazi Germany built and operated Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland between 1940-1945.
According to the museum, around 20 countries have contributed to the Auschwitz permanent fund, a kitty of 97 million euros currently, including 60 million given by the German government.
Officials at the former death camp grounds say that a fund of 120 million euros would allow 6 to 7 million euros worth of maintenance to be carried out annually on Auschwitz.
Poland covers half of the annual operating budget for the museum, with the remainder coming from entry ticket revenues. Between three to five percent is provided by the Lauder Foundation and German regional governments.
Each year, over one million people visit the site which sprawls over 200 hectares (500 acres) with 155 buildings still intact and 300 in ruins.
According to the museum, 1.3 million people, including 1.1 million Jews, were killed here between 1940-45.
Between 140,000-150,000 non-Jewish Poles also perished there as well as 23,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war and some 25,000 other prisoners.