Britain pledges £2.1m. for Auschwitz preservation

Money to be used to for long-term preservation and restoration, and to help educate new generations about horrors of the Holocaust.

May 29, 2011 02:05
3 minute read.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

LONDON – The British government announced on Thursday that it will contribute £2.1 million to the preservation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, to help ensure the lessons of Auschwitz live on for generations to come.

Foreign Secretary William Hague and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the donation at a press conference at London’s Jewish Museum on Thursday, where they were joined by the Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Polish Ambassador Barbara Tuge-Erecin’ska.

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Primarily funded by the Foreign Office and Department for Communities and Local Government, the money will be used to ensure the long-term preservation and restoration of the concentration camp, along with its place in educating people of the horrors of the Holocaust.

The Communities Secretary emphasized the significance of remembering the Holocaust and reiterated the government’s commitment to working with all of Britain’s communities to put an end to prejudice and hatred in all its forms.

“Auschwitz-Birkenau is an important place of remembrance, it is vital that we do not forget it. Just as we collect and preserve the stories of eyewitnesses, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that Auschwitz- Birkenau stands as a perpetual reminder of the pain and destructive force of hate,” Pickles said. “We must ensure that the lessons from the Holocaust are taught today, and to future generations. Today I am proud to reaffirm the government’s commitment to remembering the Holocaust.”

Hague said he was heartened that the UK is able to play a role in commemorating the victims of the camps.

“I am determined that the government should take an active approach to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. Auschwitz-Birkenau is a searing reminder of the horrific consequences of intolerance and hatred. It should never be forgotten,” Hague said.

“I am proud that the UK is able to play a part in commemorating the millions of victims who died there, educating future generations of the evils of that period in history, and ensuring its preservation for many years to come,” he added.

“Auschwitz-Birkenau is a symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust and a warning of what can happen when hatred is allowed to flourish,” Sir Andrew Burns, UK Envoy for post-Holocaust issues, said. “The number of visitors to the camp continues to grow, showing that it has become a place of reflection and commemoration for the whole world.

“There is a continued need for a place people can visit to learn about and understand what happened,” he continued. “The preservation of the camp will enable us to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive for future generations.”

“Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history, and an iconic symbol of the Holocaust,” Lord Greville Janner of Braunstone, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said.

“Today’s commitment of £2.1m. sends a clear message that we have a responsibility to safeguard the future of the camp.

“Through our Lessons from Auschwitz Project, the HET gives over 3,000 British students each year the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau. This announcement will ensure that when young people visit the camps, they will see for themselves what can happen when racism and prejudice is allowed to go unchecked,” he said.

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