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1120 20th Street NW, Suite 300N Washington, D.C. 20036


Five years ago, B’nai B’rith International commemorated the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, in part, by urging the United States government to help support the Auschwitz Memorial that had fallen critically short of funding.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum serves as a tribute to the lives lost at the most notorious of Nazi concentration camps, and also serves as a crucial reminder of the danger of hatred and intolerance to future generations.

B’nai B’rith asked President Barack Obama and the Senate Appropriations Committee to consider a $5 million budget item that could be designated to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Perpetual Fund to help restore and maintain the memorial facilities.

Highlights of the statement can be read below:

B’nai B’rith Urges President to Include Budget 
Funds to Help Restore Auschwitz Memorial 

Jan. 25, 2010

Auschwitz must be restored to bear witness to Nazi tyranny and genocide. The memorial has proven a vital education site for millions of visitors.

The camp was constructed to be a housing and execution facility. Because of the lack of foundations and winter-proofing in many of the buildings, more than half of them are closed because they are unsafe for public entry. 

According to estimates by the museum, none of the buildings will be open for public visits within the next 10 or 20 years if plans for preservation are not implemented.

Current conservation and preservation needs are estimated to be in excess of $87 million. Under the plan of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Perpetual Fund, that sum will be collected from private and national donors and will be invested through a transparent process. 

Given the estimated annual accruement from that investment, the museum intends to use the interest gained to pay for regular conservation and maintenance efforts rather than requesting foreign aid regularly. 

Instead of repeatedly raising funds, under this system the museum will have the necessary revenue to maintain the facilities. More than 17 nations have agreed so far to contribute to the restoration. The United States must join this effort.

The 2010 budget, released that July, reflected that the United States government was listening. 

Rather than the $5 million B’nai B’rith International requested, the United States devoted $15 million to the fund

At a special conference in Cracow, Clinton informed about the decision of the U.S. president Barack Obama. “The United States strongly encourages other nations who have not already done so to follow suit and to contribute to the Auschwitz-Birkenau fund. In 2009 alone, more than 1.3 million people from around the world visited the museum and memorial. The preservation and continuation of Auschwitz Memorial is essential so that future generations can see for themselves why the world must never again allow a place of such hatred to scar the soul of humankind.”