The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation has already donated more than PLN 100 million for conservation efforts to preserve authenticity at the Auschwitz Memorial. The Foundation, established in 2012, manages the Endowment Fund, which has already grossed more than €175 million.
'When we founded the Foundation, few people believed it would succeed. Indeed, there was no example anywhere in the world of a single site protected by conservation thanks to the efforts of dozens of governments and several individuals. There were no models, templates, or paths to emulate. Nevertheless, we have succeeded in creating such a structure, through which over PLN 20 million is now spent annually on pervasive and fully professional preservation work, said the President of the Foundation and Director of the Auschwitz Museum, Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
'Personally, I can only be thankful that in so many countries, we found people, officials, decision-makers and journalists who believed in the great significance of this project and chose to support it,' - stressed Piotr Cywiński.
The funds donated since 2012 have enabled us to launch and implement the Master Plan for Preservation - a comprehensive, multi-year programme for preserving the remains of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz.
'From 2021 onwards, we will spend around PLN 20 million annually on preservation works, thus allowing us to carry out the most significant and prioritised preservation works on buildings, ruins, the historical site, and objects left behind by the victims and perpetrators, as well as archival documents,' said Rafał Pióro, deputy director of the Museum in charge of conservation.
The most important tasks completed to date include, among others, the conservation of the ruins of gas chambers and crematoria - mainly no. III, the comprehensive preservation of two brick and one wooden prisoner barracks, two guard towers, and the conservation of ditches including culverts along the BI section of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.
'By the end of 2023, we plan to complete work on four more brick buildings and one wooden barrack. Moreover, conservation projects are undertaken continuously in the Conservation Laboratories to preserve historical objects and archival documents. From 2016 to the end of 2022, our team has already preserved more than 11,000 objects, and over 12,000 have been digitised,' said Rafał Pióro.
Work is also ongoing on documenting and implementing the BIM methodology at the Museum.
The Foundation's Director General, Wojciech Soczewica, emphasised that the enormous success of the Foundation's project, which facilitated such extensive conservation work, is retrospectively evident.
'All of the Foundation's activities, ranging from fund-raising and investing funds to financing conservation work at the Memorial, are carried out in a professional, transparent and - most importantly - extremely efficient manner,' he said.
'As a result, we will be able to transfer a further PLN 100 million to the Museum over the next five years. Of course, it all hinges on the situation in the international financial markets,' stressed Wojciech Soczewica.
The mission of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is to preserve and conserve all authentic remains of the former Auschwitz camp. It was founded by Auschwitz Survivor Professor Władysław Bartoszewski. So far, the Foundation's Endowment Fund has been supported by nearly 40 countries and private philanthropists. The conservation work is funded with profits from the Endowment Fund.
The Foundation has also launched additional fundraising activities to support educational projects. The Foundation, in collaboration with AppsFlyer, creative agency Diskin and the Museum, has developed a digital platform where online guided tours will be possible. This innovative virtual tool will enable access to the Memorial regardless of geographical, time and financial constraints.