Renovations to begin in Auschwitz despite $20 million shortfall

(JTA) — The Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial foundation announced it will begin preservation work on the former Nazi camp in Poland despite a $20 million gap in funding.

International donations by governments and organizations have allowed the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, which was set up in 2009 by management of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, to raise $100 million of its fundraising goal of $120 million, foundation spokesperson Bartosz Bartyzel told the Associated Press Thursday.

The site includes the barracks, gas chambers and other structures of the former death camp, where Germany’s Nazis killed some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, during World War II.

The current amount is enough to start on the crumbling brick barracks at the site in 2014, Bartyzel told the AP.

“The money has been used to identify the objects that most urgently need repairs and to make a plan,” said Bartyzel. “The brick barracks of the women’s camp in Birkenau will be first to be repaired, but the process will take a few years.”

Several structures in the Auschwitz-Birkenau compound have shown signs of severe fatigue that was worsened by heavy rains and floods in recent years.