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Plea to help restore Auschwitz

Auschwitz, one of the main sites of the WWII Holocaust, will soon crumble away if money is not found to restore its decaying buildings, according to its custodians.

The director-general of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, Jacek Kastelaniec, will put pressure on the Government on Thursday to provide the £110M previously pledged by Gordon Brown for the restoration project.

He will present a portfolio of necessary work at the 20 hectare camp, focusing on 45 brick barracks which will cost an estimated £795,000 each to restore, and 22 wooden barrack rooms at a cost of £275,000.

Camp managers want to strengthen the foundations of 210 barrack sheds, some of which have already collapsed but left behind floor and chimney outlines in concrete. These will disappear without restoration, at an estimated cost of £69,000 per room.

Twenty seven wooden guard towers around the camp also require long-term reinforcement, which will cost £55,000 a year until 2024.

There had been a worldwide reluctance to donate restoration money, according to Mr Kastelaniec, who told the Times: ‘The breakthrough came when we convinced not only Germany but also other contributors that this was not a project about guilt, but about the future.’

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