Eric Pickles pledges to ensure Shoah legacy

By Marcus Dysch, December 15, 2011
Will this fit me? Eric Pickles in Krakow

Will this fit me? Eric Pickles in Krakow

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has visited Auschwitz to check on the progress of restoration work, partly funded by the British government.

He took part in a two-day trip and met the directors of the former concentration camp's museum and foundation to discuss how worldwide contributions were being used.

In May, the government announced it would contribute £2.1 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau fund. It will cost more than £100 million to maintain Auschwitz over the next 10 to 15 years.

Mr Pickles said: "Visiting Auschwitz has been a profound and moving experience. The buildings here are not just the historical remains of one of the darkest chapters in history. They go far beyond bricks and mortar. They are a perpetual reminder of the pain and destructive force of hate.

"It is our responsibility to ensure Auschwitz-Birkenau continues to stand as a centre of education, ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are taught today and to future generations."

Mr Pickles also visited Krakow's Jewish community centre, Beit Chayil, which opened in 2008 with the support of World Jewish Relief. He met volunteers and spoke to Holocaust survivor Zofia Radzikowska who studies languages and socialises at the senior citizens' club.

The Secretary of State said: "Jewish communities have a strong and distinguished tradition of philanthropy and social intervention. WJR is a fine example of an organisation that seeks to make a positive difference not just to the Jewish community, but the community in the widest sense."

Last updated: 2:09pm, December 15 2011