The Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum said Friday that it received a pledge from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of NIS 3.6 million for a "Perpetual Fund" that will pay for preserving barracks, gas chambers and other evidence of German crimes at the site in Poland.
The goal of the Foundation is to finance a long-term program for conserving the authentic Memorial. The overarching value inspiring the effort is maintaining the maximum authenticity and legibility of the post-camp space for future generations.
Officials aim to raise €120 million ($163 million) for the fund, which would generate annual interest of €4-5 million ($5.5-6.5 million) for preservation.
“The site of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where over one million Jews were murdered during the Shoah, has become a key symbol of the Holocaust and of absolute evil," said Avner Shalev, director of the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem.
"It is therefore a moral imperative to preserve the site's authenticity and legacy, and it is meaningful that Israel is participating in meeting that imperative."
The Israeli Embassy said the government of Israel welcomed the decision of establishing the Foundation with great satisfaction and that the funds will be transferred to the Foundation in two equal tranches: In the budget year 2012 and 2013.
Earlier this month, Poland pledged €10 million ($13.5 million), joining Germany, the United States, Austria, Britain and others as donors.
With the Polish and Israeli
announcements, the fund has more than €90 million ($122 million) pledged.
On a global scale this is the only program of its kind to have been established for any memorial site. The first major conservation projects financed by the Fund will begin in 2012.
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