European Commission Support for the Auschwitz Museum
The European Commission has assigned €4 million to support the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum within the framework of the Auschwitz—Preserving Authenticity—Nine Tasks for the Years 2012-2015 project. The funds come from the Europe for Citizens program. The contract was signed by Museum Director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński and the European Commission General Director for Social Communication, Jean Pierre Vandersteen.
“This exceptional aid, which is the result of discussions between French Prime Minister François Fillon and Commission Chairman José Manuel Baroso, will enable us to speed up some conservation work while waiting for completion of the structuring of the perpetual fund operated by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation,” said Director Cywiński.
The framework for the Auschwitz—Preserving Authenticity—Nine Tasks for the Years 2012-2015 project envisions, above all, archaeological and hydrological-geological studies on sector BI at the site of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp. This is essential for the commencement of comprehensive conservation work on the brick buildings there, mostly women’s camp barracks.
Another important aspect of the work will be improving the security of the Museum’s historical collections. In block 24, where the Archive is located, the ceiling beams will be reinforced and permanent fire-extinguishing equipment will be installed. This will make it possible to protect the historical building as well as the priceless original documents stored there. The permanent inert-gas fire-extinguishing equipment will also cover the collection storage area.
Storage of the suitcases will also be thoroughly modernized with the installation of professional containers designed especially to preserve and protect these items. Some display cases that are currently in poor condition will also be replaced in order to improve the security of the items inside them.
The long-term system for storing data in the Museum’s Digital Repository, which brings together all information on the victims of the Auschwitz camp, will also be expanded thanks to the European financing.
Additional equipment for the conservation workshop, essential for carrying out research and documentation to the highest standards, will also be purchased within the framework of the project. The grant will also make it possible to conserve and protect suitcases, prayer garments, and archival documentation including the “Auschwitz Death Book”, which is among the items most frequently copied in response to requests by relatives of victims.
The financing from the European Commission takes the form of a direct grant spread over the years 2012-2015. The European Commission will contribute 95% of the total with the Museum contributing 5% from its own resources.