WARSAW, Poland — An international foundation established to preserve the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial in Poland has fallen short of its fundraising goal, but still plans to begin repair work there.
The site includes the barracks, gas chambers and other structures of the former death camp, where Germany’s Nazis killed some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, during World War II.
Bartosz Bartyzel, a spokesman for the memorial, said Thursday that donations from countries such as Poland, Germany and the United States have allowed it to raise $100 million of the $120 million it would like so that it can use annual interest to fund the repairs.
But he said the current amount is enough to start on the crumbling brick barracks at the site in 2014.
“The money has been used to identify the objects that most urgently need repairs and to make a plan,” said Bartyzel. “The brick barracks of the women’s camp in Birkenau will be first to be repaired, but the process will take a few years.”
In January 2014, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, over half the Knesset will travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau for a historic meeting on fighting anti-Semitism and preserving the death camps.
Led by Speaker Yuli Edelstein, each MK in the delegation will accompany a Holocaust survivor. Other senior officials will join the mission, including IDF officers, both chief rabbis, and former chief rabbi Meir Lau, a prominent Holocaust survivor himself.