BERLIN (JTA) — Germany has committed to a donation of $80 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, for the preservation and restoration of the memorial at the site of the Nazi concentration camp.
Germany’s contribution will be split between the federal government and the states, and will be disbursed in five annual installments, according to the German Foreign Ministry.
The contribution is by far the largest to the new foundation, which was established in 2009 with the aim of securing long-term financing for upkeep of the memorial.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said In a statement Wednesday that the commitment underscored Germany’s “historical responsibility to keep the remembrance of the Holocaust alive, and to convey [this remembrance] to future generations.”
More than one million people, most of them Jews from across Europe, were murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, starting in 1942. The camp was liberated by Red Army soldiers on Jan. 27, 1945.
According to reports, many original structures are badly in need of repair.
The foundation aims to establish a $160 million capital stock fund. The United States is contributing $15 million, and several European countries have pledged to contribute as well.