Sobibor museum rescued from closure

By Jennifer Lipman, June 3, 2011

A Holocaust awareness group has praised the Polish government for announcing plans to save the museum at Sobibor Concentration Camp from closure.

On Wednesday the museum's administrators said they could no longer remain open to visitors because they had not received enough funding this year from the regional government.

The site, where 250,000 Jews and non-Jews were murdered by the Nazis, receives around 20,000 visitors annually.

Following criticism over the closure, the Polish culture minister said they would arrange for Sobibor to be administered by the Majdanek museum. Majdanek, which is nearby in Lublin, was also used as a death camp by the Nazis.

The minister said Sobibor would reopen as an independent and autonomous museum from January 2012 "established and funded by the Ministry of Culture".

Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said he was relieved. "Its closure was a moral taint and unworthy of Poland which itself suffered so grievously under the Nazi yolk," he said.

"The demands of memory have prevailed on this occasion and they should not fall to shortsighted concerns in the future."

    Last updated: 2:28pm, June 3 2011