Support from Austria for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation
Up to 6 million euros will be transferred to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Perpetual Fund by Austria. The agreement was signed during the meeting of the Foundation International Committee with its president, Dr. Piotr MA Cywiński, and Hannah Lessing, the secretary general of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for victims of National Socialism.
The total amount will be reduced by the cost of maintenance of block 17 in the former camp of Auschwitz I, where, in the future, there will be a new Austrian exhibition. The Austrian side committed to transferring money into the Foundation's account in three instalments in the years 2012-2014.
“A situation of Austria was, on the one hand, the situation of the state which had to stand at the side of Nazi Germany but on the other hand, before the assault on Poland took place, it was also a victim, as the first Austrian victims found themselves in concentration camps for the fact that they did not agree with such a situation. This is why we are especially pleased that this declaration of cooperation precisely accentuates this historical stage of the Austrian experience of standing on the side of freedom, dignity and human suffering, as well as against a system in which number of Austrian citizens were forcibly placed,” said the Chairman of the Council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, Prof. Władysław Bartoszewski.
“For many years, Austrians somewhat reluctantly dealt with their past, regarding themselves as the first victim of the Nazis. Only recently have they begun dealing with this issue and taken responsibility for their own history. This is one of the reasons why we wanted to significantly support the Foundation. At the same time, we are also preparing a new Austrian exhibition at the Auschwitz Memorial Site, which will be based upon historical truth,” said Hanna Lessing.
The task set up in 2009 by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is to raise 120 million euro for the Fund, the profits from which will go to the preservation of the remains of the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz. At present, the sum of all funds collected and declared is approximately 100 million euros.
In June of this year, the Global Conservation Plan was officially launched, which is a long time conservation work programme financed by the profit from the Foundation Perpetual Fund.
The International Committee of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is composed of representatives of donor countries. The Committee, which plays an advisory and opinion-making role, was established for the purpose of providing the governments participating in the Fund with full access to information and to ensure complete transparency of the Foundation's activities.