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Memorial day at Auschwitz – Birkenau

Auschwitz & Birkenhau

Photo courtesy of Peter Harpley

January 27th is International Day of Holocaust Remembrance, established by the United Nations to coincide with the liberation in 1945 by Soviet troops of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in southern (German occupied) Poland.

Over one million died in Auschwitz, mostly Jews, at the hands of the Nazis and six million perished in the Holocaust.

President Bronislaw Komorowski and German president, Christian Wulff will be taking part in ceremonies today at the most notorious of Nazi death camps.

“Former prisoners will be the most important guests at the ceremony this year, as we fear that with their death we will lose the most important of witnesses,” the Auschwitz Museum’s Pawel Sawicki told Polish Radio.

The main ceremony will take place at around 15:30 CET at the Monument to the Victims at the Auschwitz Museum, the most visited museum in Poland. Last year, close to one and a half million people visited the site from all over the world.

The museum is launching the Intervene Now campaign to raise 120 million euro for the up keeping the historical site.

“The barracks, barbed wire, the ruins of the crematoria and gas chambers are the best guardians of memory,” says Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, an advisor to PM Donald Tusk and Auschwitz survivor.

January 27, 2011 Posted by | Events, News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Germany to donate €60 million To Auschwitz – Birkenau

KRAKOW TOURS – The German Foreign Ministry has announced that it will donate 60 million euro to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, the fund-raising body for the preservation of the Nazi concentration camp’s site in southern Poland.

Berlin is set to donate the money in five equal yearly payments starting in 2011, the ministry stated, Wednesday.

Following an agreement signed between the federal authorities and representatives of Germany’s federal states, the Federal Government will pay 30 million euro, with the other half directly coming from the country’s states.

“Through the donations to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, Germany recognises its historical responsibility for the support and transfer of memory of the Holocaust to future generations,” Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle published in an official statement.

Westerwelle also wrote that Auschwitz-Birkenau is a “synonym of the crimes perpetrated by National Socialism. Today’s memorial reminds us of this crime. It is our duty to support the Foundation which secures the museum as an indispensable place of remembrance, education and learning in the future.”

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation was created in 2009 thanks to the initiative of Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, the PM’s plenipotentiary for international dialogue, and more pertinently perhaps, a former inmate of Auschwitz.

The Foundation’s activity is aimed at the preservation of around 155 buildings, 300 ruins and thousands of other exhibits, including documents and archive materials. According to the Foundation, around 120 million euro is needed for the upkeep of the Museum site for years to come.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auschwitz sign theft – Charges at last

KRAKOW TOURS – It’s been nearly a year since the theft of the infamous “Arbiet Macht Frei” sign that had once greeted prisoners destined for the death camps at Auschwitz.

Though the sign was recoveredjust three days later, it wasn’t until yesterday that the final steps were taken so that those responsible could be brought to justice.

In March, three of the five Polish suspects involved in the theft of the sign were handed prison sentences ranging from 18 to 30 months. However, the alleged mastermind of the theft, Swede Anders Hoegstroem, a former neo-Nazi, as well as two Polish suspects, were only charged by Polish prosecutors on Thursday. Hoegstroem, who had been extradited to Poland in April, is now facing between 28 and 32 months for incitement to commit theft of the historic sign. One of the Poles, identified as Marcin A., was indicted with the same charge, while the final suspect, Andrzej S., has been charged with participating in the actual theft, though he pleaded not guilty.

Hoegstroem is expected to agree to a plea bargain to serve out his sentence in Sweden.

Photo courtesy Peter Harpley

November 26, 2010 Posted by | News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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