Six Million for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation from Austria

Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial (02/24/2010) (
Austria has joined the countries declaring financial support for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation with a contribution of €6 million. The purpose of the Foundation, called into being last year by Professor Władysław Bartoszewski, is to set up a perpetual fund to generate income that will be assigned to the long-term conservation program at the Auschwitz Memorial.

“Six million Euros is the sum that Austria has pledged,” said Josef Proell, the deputy prime minister and finance minister, following a cabinet meeting. He pointed out that this will be exactly one-tenth of the support committed to the Foundation by Germany, a country with a population ten times that of Austria. “The details of the financing remain to be worked out,” Proell said.

“Working together is the only way we can create a system to ensure the long-term conservation of the remains of the Auschwitz camp,” said Museum Director Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, who is also the president of the management board of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. “We cannot deprive our children and grandchildren of the memory of this worst experience of the 20th century,” he added. “They, too, will build the world of their times, and they will therefore need a full awareness and understanding of the greatest dangers to civilization.”

Last December, the German federal government and the federal states (Länder) announced that they were jointly allocating €60 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. That is half the amount needed to preserve, maintain, and conserve the authentic remains of the Nazi German Auschwitz concentration camp and extermination center.

“Soon it will be a year since the establishment of the Foundation, which has succeeded in acquiring concrete financial declarations that make up over half of the planned and much-needed Fund. I am pleased that Austria has joined in the effort,” said Director Cywinski.

The purpose of the Foundation is to raise €120 million for a perpetual fund yielding annual interest on the order of €4 to €5 million. This will make it possible to plan and systematically undertake essential conservation tasks. By the same token, and for the first time in its history, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial will have a real chance to carry out a stable, long-term conservation program, allowing it to preserve the remains of the camp for future generations.