Support from France for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation
In Paris, a convention was signed under which the French Republic will provide 5 million euro to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation’s Perpetual Fund. The sum will be transferred in five instalments starting from 2012. The agreement was signed by the French Minister of Veterans, Kader Arif, and from the side of the Foundation, its president, Dr Piotr M.A. Cywiński.
A decision on this matter was announced last year in a special letter addressed to Simone Veil and the former Prime Minister of France, François Fillon. It is upheld by the current Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. The sum which France has decided to grant comes from five different departments and places France among the 5 countries that have sent the most to the fund.
Director Cywiński, who spent several years living in France, said: “From the beginning, I sensed that France would become one of the main partners of the project. It is a country that attaches great importance to the issues of identity, the main ideas and symbols that have shaped our perception of the world today. And yet it is difficult to find a symbol other than Auschwitz that fully represents the tragedy of 20th century Europe.
The purpose of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is to raise 120 million euro for the Perpetual Fund, from which the annual interest of 4-5 million euro will allow for planned and systematic implementation of the necessary maintenance works within the area of the Memorial Site. This will enable — for the first time in history — the financing of a permanent, long-term conservation programme to protect the remains of the former camp for future generations.