Poland asks EU states to help preserve Auschwitz

February 27, 2009 20:20


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Poland's prime minister has appealed to leaders of EU countries for help raising €120 million (about $150 million) for badly needed restoration work at the sprawling former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. The camp - a 495-acre (200-hectare) expanse with 155 buildings and 300 ruins, including barracks and gas chambers - was set up by the Nazis in occupied Poland during World War II. More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, died in the camp's gas chambers or through forced labor, disease or starvation. Polish Premier Donald Tusk said in a letter sent to EU leaders earlier this month and obtained by The Associated Press on Friday that the former camp's museum plans to set up a foundation to finance and oversee "urgent" conservation work. Tusk said the fund needs a minimum €120 million (about $150 million) to operate. "Saving Auschwitz-Birkenau means saving the memory of the millions who suffered and were bestially murdered," Tusk said. "The extermination cannot become merely a faded chapter in the history of human kind."

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