Netanyahu to receive Auschwitz plans

By Jessica Elgot, August 26, 2009
Follow Jessica on Twitter

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be presented with the original architectural plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, to keep at Yad Vashem, during his trip to Germany.

Mr Netanyahu will attend a special ceremony in Berlin where the German newspaper Bild will present the plans to him, along with Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev and the director of the Yad Vashem archives, Haim Gertner.

The Israeli Prime Minister is in Germany to hold talks with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany was reported this week to have offered to host a peace conference for Israel and the Palestinians if agreement is reached with the Obama administration on the format.

The Auschwitz blueprints were uncovered in 2008 and the editor-in-chief of Bild, Kai Diekmann, who acquired the prints, decided that Yad Vashem was the most appropriate venue for them.

As original plans detailing the construction of Auschwitz, where some one million Jews were murdered, these documents have great historical significance.

Avner Shalev

They will be put on display in January 2010, to mark 65 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. 
The plans, which are dated between 1941 and 1943, show details for expanding the camp, including the addition of a crematorium and a gas chamber.

Some of the documents have notes and signatures by senior Nazis, including Heinrich Himmler, chief of the German police and Nazi Minister of the Interior.

The documents will be housed in the Yad Vashem archives, which currently hold over 125 million pages of documentation about the Holocaust. 

Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said: “As original plans detailing the construction of Auschwitz, where one million Jews were murdered, these documents have great historical significance.

“They constitute concrete illustration of the Germans’ systematic effort to carry out the ‘Final Solution’.“

    Last updated: 4:19pm, August 26 2009