The Council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation met for the seventh time on the 25rd of June 2015 at the Office of the Prime Minister of Poland in Warsaw. The primary task of the Foundation is to finance the preservation of the authentic remains of the former Nazi German Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp.
During the session, a minute of silence was held to commemorate Professor Władysław Bartoszewski, founder and chairperson of the Council, who passed away on 24 April 2015. The Council decided to appoint Marcin Barcz as a member of the Council. Marek Zając was elected as the new chairperson.
To date, 35 countries have contributed to the Perpetual Capital managed by the Foundation. As part of the campaign "18 Pillars of Memory" seven individual donors, renowned philanthropists and their families, have each contributed 1 million euros to the Foundation. In total, the financial declarations now amount to approx. 113 million of the planned 120 million euros.
‘In 2014 Liechtenstein, the Vatican and Italy became donor countries of the Foundation while Turkey and Sweden increased its contribution to the Perpetual Fund. Intensive talks are ongoing with several other countries and individual donors who wish to join the Pillars of Memory. According to our forecasts, the target of 120 million euros should be achieved by the end of 2016,’ said the president of the Foundation Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński.
For three years now, capital gains from the Perpetual Fund have been used to finance preservation works at the Auschwitz Memorial. In 2014, the amount stood at PLN 4.6 million while estimates for 2015 is PLN 6,4 million for conservation works. The primary focus is on securing 45 brick barracks located on the grounds of the former Birkenau camp.
‘We are nearing the completion of a more than two-year, multi-faceted research work, as a result of which we have obtained comprehensive information on the degradation mechanisms, geological and structural problems, as well as the preservation status of the barracks,’ said Rafał Pióro, vice-president of the Foundation’s Management Board and deputy director of the Auschwitz Memorial responsible for preservation.
‘We are about to commence comprehensive conservation works on the first historic buildings. These works are by nature unprecedented and are the first of such type of conservation practice worldwide. It is not only unprecedented because of the uniqueness and history of the buildings but mostly because the preservation of the authenticity of each of the elements is of utmost concern in this particular case. Usually, such types of structures are demolished, and new ones built in their place. They are not subjected to painstaking, specialized restoration works,’ Pióro added.
Also, thanks to the financial support of the Foundation one of the warehouses in which post-camp textiles are stored is being modernized. It will be equipped with special cabinets appropriate for such type of material. Besides, several preparatory works are being conducted on the premises of the former Birkenau camp related, among others to the regulation of water regimes.
Members of the Council also approved the substantive report on the works of the Foundation for 2014, the financial statements for 2014, as well as the annual action plans and financial plans. The results of the external audit for 2014 conducted by KPMG was also presented during the session. KPMG for a consecutive time had no reservations to the financial statements submitted by the Foundation.
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