The German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, signed an agreement during his visit to Poland on Tuesday June 16, increasing Germany’s funding of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation from EUR 60 mln to EUR 120 mln.
The foundation runs a programme dedicated to the long-term preservation of the site where more than a million people were killed by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. The foundation was created in 2009 by Władysław Bartoszewski, a former Auschwitz prisoner and two-time Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The foundation is currently headed by Piotr Cywiński, who also serves as the Head of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Following Minister Maas’ signature, Cywiński stated that the agreement was “a big day and another big step for Poland and Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled her intention to increase Germany’s share of funding during a visit to Auschwitz in December 2019.
Auschwitz was set up by Nazi Germany in 1940 to house Polish political prisoners. In the following years, it became the largest concentration camp used to execute Germany’s genocide against the European Jewry. Nearly 1 million Jews and 70,000 Catholic Poles were killed on the site.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was founded by an act of the Polish Parliament in 1947 and had more than 2.3 million visitors from across the world in 2019.