Auschwitz site ‘needs £50m refit’

Almost £50 million is needed to preserve buildings at Auschwitz, according to officials maintaining the site.

Museum director Piotr Cywinski has appealed to EU governments to help fund repair work and create new exhibition centres.

The Polish government contributes around 10 million zloty (£2.5m) each year, with foreign contributors donating around 600,000 zloty (£150,000).

Some former barracks buildings require urgent reinforcement, with funds also needed to convert other structures into educational rooms for visitors.

Mr Cywinski said: "Floors and chimneys that caved in over the last few decades require urgent conservation to prevent further deterioration.

"We estimate our total needs at over 200m zloty (£49.5m). These are real requirements."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, backed the call for more funding, and said: "We have taken thousands of students to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of our Lessons from Auschwitz project.

"It is a site for all humanity to learn from the mistakes of the past and thus it is also everybody's responsibility to ensure it is preserved so that its legacy lives on, particularly as Holocaust survivors become fewer and frailer."

    Last updated: 2:54pm, August 26 2008