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Yesterday I frustratingly read that Poland desperately needed 120 million euros to save the death camp, which has started to decay and deteriorate. Germany today announced that it would pledge 1 million Euro to the cause:

Germany has promised one million euro for the renovation of the Memorial Museum at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp, says Berlin’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Steinmeier claimed that the financial aid is in response to Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s appeal to members of the European Union for support the former Nazi death camp which requires millions of euros worth of maintenance.

On Monday, Steinmeier’s Polish counterpart, Radoslaw Sikorski, told the EU that the Auschwitz foundation needs 120 million euro on essential renovations on the 200 hectare camp.

Steinmeier stated that the money will come from some extra funds from the 2008 budget. He also appealed to German businesses and relevant private foundations for additional funds.

To date, the Memorial Museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau has been funded mainly by the Polish government or through its own fundraising initiatives. Foreign financial aid in 2008 made up only five percent of the museum’s budget. (mmj)

I’m not sure how to feel about this. On one hand, we’re in the middle of a global economic crisis and it might be commendable that Germany is offering 1 million Euros when it could easily offer nothing. But on the other hand, 1 million is a drop in the bucket of the 120 million reportedly needed, and is it not Germany’s moral responsibility to keep memory alive? Who else should pay for this if not Germany and Poland?

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12 Responses to “Auschwitz in need of 120 mil euro for preservation: Germany pledges 1 mil”

  1. SC says:

    Holocaust remembrance is extremely important, but I’m not sure I understand why millions of dollars are being poured into keeping a death camp functional, while the majority of Jews in the world are completely ignorant of what 6 million died for. At the rate we’re going at, we won’t need a Holocaust memorial, we’ll need a Judaism memorial (c’v). Wait, isn’t that exactly what the perpetrators of the Holocaust wanted in the first place?

  2. EA says:

    I completely agree, SC, with the millions of dollars that are spent on Halocaust memorials throughout the world, who are these donors preserving the memory for if there will be no Jews left to appreciate the impact of losing 6 million lives, and the impact it has on our lives today? In the direction we’re headed, the sign over Auschwitz will serve as a reminder that “There were once Jews that lived on this planet” and so will the Halocaust memorial museums throughout the world. I seriously and wholeheartedly believe in putting €120 (approx $240 million) into Jewish Education, rather than upkeep of the memory of Jews once perished will serve to preserve Jewish heritage more than the restoration of death camps ever will.

  3. RL says:

    EA I have to say I am very hurt and disturbed by what you said. I understand the Jews are going thtough a massive identity crisis right now, but I think a huge factor in geeting Jews to identify with Judaism is what has happened to us in the past, and showing Jews that no matter what type of Jew you are, or how assimilated you are, you will have a part in the fate of ALL the Jewish poeple. Further more Holoccast education is Jewish education, WWII education is what teavhing history is. And I think you should reconsider saying “rather than upkeep of the memory of Jews once perished.” Their lives were brutally taken from them, and if the purpose of thier lives was not sor us to always remember and always keep heir flame alive then your saying 6 million Jews lived and died in vain. You have to realize if you don’t remeber and and learn from history, IT WILL repeat itself. I would also like to say to you that both of my grandparents were Holocaust survivors, from Birkenau Aushwitz and there is not a day that goes by that I don`t think about where I came from and how it my duty to make this world a better place beuase my life and me being alive is a pure miracle and gift that G-d has granted me. Ofcourse Jewish education is important, but if you leave this out Jewish education I would have to ask what have you turned Judaism into!

  4. SC says:

    RL, please open your eyes and realize that history is already repeating itself! The millions of dollars spent on Holocaust education has somehow turned a whole generation of Jews away from Judaism. It’s true, people have learned that no matter what kind of Jew you identify as, anti-semitism will find you. However, the end result has been intermarriage rates at well over 50% in the United States and Canada. Assimilation and, more disturbingly, the apathy world Jewry show toward this crisis have led to well over 6 million Jews no longer even identifying that way. You’re absolutely right to say that the reality of the Holocaust in our history gives us a huge responsibility to make the world a better place. I don’t see how the correct way to do that is to channel all our resources into memorializing the past, when we need to look at what’s happening right now and try to fix it.

  5. RL says:

    TO: SC
    Of Course we have to fix the situation right now, but not by erasing our past!! And G-d forbid ANYONE should say that that history is repeating itself in regards to the Holocaust. There might be terrible situations and Jews that have turned their backs on Judaism but they are still alive, they are still humans and not walking skeletal numbers. You are the one turning your back on the plight of the Jewish people. You need to find these people and help them find their way back to Judaism through showing them every step of their history, not deny them of where they came from. And you seemed to ignore the fact that by you saying this money should go else where you are saying it is okay for 6 million Jews lives to be erased for them to have lived for no reason, but even worse you are not seeing the miracle in all those that lived. The loss of one Jew to another Jew should be the biggest atrocity heard of, 6 million is something something unfathomable. How can you walk around saying you are an advocate of the Jewish people when you can snap your fingers and completely forget about the lives of six million of your brothers and sisters? How can you tell me that the story of my grandfathers 11 siblings and two parents being burnt to death infront of him should be earased from existance? How can you tell any Jew that their 6 year old sister who walkaed the streets of Warsaw smiling in her new pink coat, with her beautiful patanet black leather shoes, and with a smile that could melt anyone’s heart, died and will never be remebered ?

  6. WMM says:

    SC & RL: Reading both your comments is been quite something – especially because I know you both. I would just like to mention that I know both of you care very much about the Jewish people (an understatement) and that we’re all striving for the same goals in our world.
    SC – I 1000% agree that it is a necessity for attention and funding to be put forth towards proper Jewish education because it is the only way to prevent the SPIRITUAL Holocaust we are faced with. However, it is CRUCIAL to ackowledge that Holocaust deniers and minimizers thrive off ridding the world of key sentimental memorials such as this. How will we even know a Holocuast happened? An entire generation of people – yes – much like National Revelation but it is also the fact that 100’s if not 1000’s of Jews & non-Jews per year go to Auschwitz and it has a TREMENDOUS impact on their very being (again – an understatement).
    RL – If you only you knew how much SC is the complete opposite of “turning [his/her] back on the plight of the Jewish people,” and just how much SC daily, hourly, minutely strives to help Jews “find their way back to Judaism” & “not deny them of where they came from.” My family was also in the Holocaust, some of whom survived and your and my feelings are indescribable when reading this article. But all of us here feel the same pain and tragedy for the Jewish people so let’s take action in this world to do it all!! Everything that needs to be done to save the Jewish people from a physical and spiritual Holocaust!!! Anything and everything because – WE ARE IT!

  7. AG says:

    I think you are downplaying the effects of the economic crisis. You raise it in one breath and then dismiss quickly thereafter. Just yesterday, the EU – lead by German Chancellor Angela Merkel – rejected a new economic bailout for eastern Europe. The eastern bloc was seeking $241 billion to stave off despair that has not been seen since the days of the iron curtain. In short, there seems to be much greater issues these days to take care of, besides a $120 million restoration of Auschwitz.
    To your last question, I’d suggest Israel and Jewish people worldwide should also support this restoration, as in reality the death camp’s upkeep is primarily of the utmost importance to these two groups.

  8. mikecg says:

    EA, and SC:
    I don’t want to get too involved, but let me just say this. If it wasn’t for my trip to Polish concentration camps a few years ago, then I would not be the active member of the Jewish community that you know me as today. And I mean that. Seeing the physical evidence, walking through the physical remains, is what ignited the spark in me to take responsibility in this world.

    AG:
    With holocaust denial rampant in our age, with the ubiquitous and completely inaccurate parallels being made between Israelis and Nazis, with genocide happening all over the world, with threats to Jews at record levels, I think preserving the memory lest we repeat it is more important than whether the people who committed it can afford a BMW or just a KIA. I am not downplaying the economic troubles, you are downplaying the importance or preserving the past for not just the victims, but also the perpetrators.

  9. AG says:

    “I am not downplaying the economic troubles”, prefaced by: “whether the people who committed it can afford a BMW or just a KIA”. Right. No downplay at all. Perhaps your are not affected by the downturn, but don’t place your context on someone else. There are people in bad shape all over the world, and imagine the optics when they wake up and read that their country has given $120 million to a ‘restoration project’ (I put it in quotations, b/c as though I don’t see it as just a restoration project, you can imagine others would).

    And to paint Germany as unapologetic perpetrators is unfair. They are amongst the world leaders in legislation against antisemitism and I would suggest have a better handle on this ever increasing problem than most of their EU neighbours.

  10. john smith says:

    Mike, I think for once you and I agree on something. As much I am, as you would say, a leftist socialist whatever, I strongly believe that Holocaust awareness should never be forgotten. What is scary for me to think about is that the global economic crisis (or gec as New York snobs have come to call it) is strikingly similar to the depression of the 30s that lead to the levels of anti-semitism which spawned the Holocaust. Perhaps we should not only preserve the memory and horrors of the Holocaust, but also those of the Great Depression, seeing as how we have failed to learn from those mistakes as well.

  11. Martin Johansson says:

    Why should Poland pay for it? Did we build it? Did we use it? We were victims in it, and then pay for it? According to that logic, jews should pay the most!

  12. I think you are mis-representing.
    I am specifically meaning according to the order that you list your description of yourself.
    You may well be young – some of the hyperbole certainly illustrates this fact.
    You may possibly be considered a Canadian citizen, according to some of the countrymen that you live alongside.
    Yes, you do appear to have a hard right attitude/point of view – but, first and foremost
    …you are Jewish and seemingly ‘proud’ of your indentity…why though??
    The concern of the people who are not in the least bit religious/of same ‘kind..’ is three-fold…
    Somewhere in your articles or letters of response there is a percentage mentioned of jewish people only making up 0.002 of the worlds population
    …for one so small….you certainly have an extremely loud big ‘voice’ but pleasant and of value to others…I am afraid not!
    The second point – every body has suffered prejudice, whether through their weight, height, hair colour/no hair, ethnicity, looks, religion or because of their place of birth…being of your faith does not corner you the only piece of the ‘haters’ market….
    and…finally…when will a group of people who were so inhumanely treated by another group of people – more than four decades ago – led by one man, in particular, p lease let this thing rest.
    Continually reminding everybody of something that many people like you never experienced/cannot possibly understand, cannot make a very bad situation right.
    The continual show of bitterness, hatred, distrust, ultra-protective nature and complete disregard of non-jewish views has led you to believe yours is the only voice worthy of hearing.
    The/your people of Israel are PRESENTLY and for a long time now, perpetrating similarly inhumane crimes against the Palestinian people.
    The World over non-jewish sees this as continual repression/poor treatment, selfishness, greed, total lack of kindness, complete disregard for humanity and what can only be described as pure/complete hypocrisy…
    It is (well past) time you began not to think of yourself as chosen, more, unlikely to be chosen.
    If there is a G-d, after witnessing the atrocious way your countrymen – you do feel as if this so…don’t you?? – have treated your fellow countrymen/neighbours, do you r e a l l y think you would be his/her choice??
    No, is the answer you are searching for!
    It is well past time you view yourselves/each other as a part of the rest of man/human kind NOT special, NOT better and definitely NOT chosen!
    We, the rest of us, are not anti whatever you like to refer to it as whenever (you guys) are disagreed with.
    The fact is…it is the collusion, creepy, insipid, sly, undermining and calculating zebra sh*t you so continually – at every freakin opportunity – spout about that other people are so ‘anti’.
    Get over yourself and do not concern yourself regarding not publicising this recommendation – do try to get yoiself a life/be a better person and do us all a favour…pass it on
    yours sincerely
    non-hater of anybody!

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