A meeting of the Council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation was held at the offices of the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Warsaw. The main objective of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is to finance the conservation of the authentic remains of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Until date, 36 states have contributed to the Perpetual Fund managed by the Foundation. Within the framework of the campaign "18 Pillars of Memory”, nine individual donors have each contributed 1 million euros to the Foundation. In total, the financial declarations amount to approx. 112 million of the planned 120 million euros. In 2015, the Foundation received a total of nearly € 30 million from countries and individual donors from around the world. Currently, the Perpetual Fund of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation amounts to ca. 100 million euros (more than 400 million PLN) and is one of the largest in Poland.
‘In 2015, the Italian Republic joined the Fund with 1 million euros, and the Kingdom of Spain with 100 thousand euros. Turkey, Ireland and Norway have decided to increase their declared contribution. We are also in talks with some new countries. It should be added that the biggest donor of the Foundation, Germany, in 2015, effected the last deposit to the Perpetual Fund – and their contribution sums in total to 60 million euros’, said the Director General of the Foundation Anna Miszewska.
‘Thanks to the activities of Friends of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation in the United States two collective “Pillars of Memory" whose leaders are Friends of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ulrika and Joel Citron joined the Foundation last year,’ added Anna Miszewska
For four years, the capital gains of the Perpetual Fund have been used to finance conservation works at the Auschwitz Memorial. In 2015, the support amount was 6.4 million PLN, while estimates for the year 2016 is around 8 million PLN allocated to conservation. The main emphasis is on the 45 brick barracks located on the site of the former Birkenau camp.
‘In 2016, we completed multi-annual research project, focused on seven issues, among others, the development of methods of conservation, security, and strengthening the construction of the historical barracks on the site of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp. Under the project, a method was developed for straightening the deformed walls of the brick barracks, which will preserve their authenticity and improve the statics of the building,’ said Rafał Pióro, Vice-president of the Foundation Board and Deputy Director of the Auschwitz Museum responsible for conservation.
‘One of the most important ongoing projects is the conservation of the brick barracks no. 7 and 8 at BIb sector of the former Birkenau camp. Part of the equipment, among others, the wooden bunks and floors, have been already marked, safely dismantled and moved to the Conservation Laboratories, to allow for conduct of other works associated with the construction of the barracks. The paint and plaster layers have been secured. Soon both of the buildings shall be covered with special tents to ensure safe and stable conditions, when removing the roof structure and strengthening the foundations and walls,’ added Rafał Pióro.
He also demonstrated how the new digital conservation documentation system using panoramic photography is applied, with which you can save any data related to the work undertaken, and the results of the research. ‘At the moment, we are preparing for the conservation of the next four brick buildings on BI sector. These are one of prisoners’ barracks, disinfection station, kitchen and latrine. The project documentation and programs of conservation works is currently under development,’ said director Pióro.
Ongoing preservation projects recently funded by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation include conservation and protection of the changing room walls in the ruins of gas chamber and crematorium III in Birkenau, conservation of empty Cyclone B cans, conservation of camp letters and the plans of the Zentralbauleitung as well as research on the preservation condition of artistic objects created on paper surfaces. Work is also ongoing to modernize the warehouse for textiles.
The members of the Council endorsed the substantive report on the Foundation’s work and the financial statements for 2015 during the meeting, as well as the annual action and financial plans. They also granted a vote of approval to members of the board for responsibilities undertaken last year. The results of the external audit for 2015 conducted by KPMG was presented, which for the subsequent time did not raise any objections in the financial statements provided by the Foundation.
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