Israel will continue to support efforts to set up a memorial center at Sobibor, according to an agreement reached by the director general of the Ministry of Information and Diaspora Affairs Ronen Plot and the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, with Dr. Andzrej Konrat, who is in charge of Holocaust remembrance in Poland.
The agreement is in keeping with the statement of intentions agreed upon in 2008 by Israel, Poland, Slovakia and the Netherlands.
Photo courtesy of Yad Vashem archives
Almost nothing remained of the Sobibor Nazi death camp in Poland at the end of the war. The creation of a memorial center is the result of cooperative research by Poland's council for the memory of war victims, headed by Minister Konrat, and Israel's Ministry of Information and Diaspora Affairs and Foreign Ministry, directed by Yad Vashem researchers and assisted by Slovakia and the Netherlands.
For this purpose, and international committee of experts was established, and digs were carried out at the site to determine the precise location of the gas chambers.
Rail tracks at the camp entrance (photo courtesy of Yad Vashem archives)
The memorial center project, estimated to cost some 6 million euros ($8 million), is currently in its first planning stages. Decisions about an international competition for planning the building and decisions on budget allocation will be made in a joint meeting next month in Warsaw, in which all participating countries will be present. The center is due to be completed by October 2013, the 70th anniversary of the prisoner's uprising at the camp.
"We see this as a sacred joint obligation to remember the past and the victims," said Konrat during the meeting.
"I welcome Polish cooperation and the importance the minister gives to remembering the Holocaust," the director-general of the Ministry of Information said.
"The establishment of a center at the death camp in which some 250,000 Jews were killed is an important part in education… and a part of the struggle against all those who would deny it happened."
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