EU donates millions to preserve Auschwitz

The European Union will give €4.2 million ($5.9 million) to help preserve Auschwitz, the former Nazi death camp which more than six decades after the World War II is in a state of serious disrepair. Rafal Pioro, who heads Auschwitz's conservation department, said the EU recently promised 19 million zlotys (about €4.2 million) to fund badly needed repairs on the camp's structures. Museum officials and others are struggling to preserve Auschwitz, a vast complex of barbed wire, gas chambers, barracks and watchtowers, that stands as historical evidence and as a symbol of Nazi evil. The site gets about 1 million visitors per year. "(The grant) is significant and will let us get started on our complex work on the camp," Pioro said Thursday. But he estimated the total preservation project will cost about 200 million zlotys (€45 million, $64 million). Work is scheduled to begin this August.