Auschwitz camp to get $5.9M restoration

June 5, 2009 at 12:25 PM
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OSWIECIM, Poland, June 5 (UPI) -- The European Union is giving $5.9 million to help fund structural repairs to the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, an official says.

Rafal Pioro, the conservation department head for Auschwitz, confirmed the EU has agreed to provide funds to help preserve the World War II site that has become a tourist destination, The Scotsman reported Friday.

The former Nazi death camp near Oswiecim, Poland, draws nearly 1 million tourists annually.

The site consists of dark brick administrative buildings now housing exhibits of hair, clothes and eyeglasses taken from prisoners, and the main camp with remains of the gas chambers and crematoriums facing the railroad tracks where prisoners were brought in. Officials say the camp has fallen into disrepair since the war, while museum officials have struggled with their preservation efforts, the Scotsman said.

Pioro warned the final costs for the entire preservation project for the Auschwitz camp will far exceed the EU donation.

The Scotsman said structural repairs at the historic site will begin this August.

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