Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yad Vashem Receives Original Auschwitz Plans

Last year, the original architectural plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp were discovered in an apartment in Berlin. Today, the German newspaper Bild who purchased the sketches, presented the blueprints to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke movingly of the importance of commemorating the Holocaust. "There are those who deny that the Holocaust happened," Netanyahu said. "Let them come to Jerusalem and look at these plans, these plans for the factory of death."

Kai Diekmann, editor in chief of Bild on presenting the plans to Yad Vashem:
“Whoever doesn’t remember the past may err in the future. The German nation carries immense shame, we think it fitting that this hellish plan be at Yad Vashem, and not here."

Yad Vashem's Chairman Avner Shalev indicated the importance of the plans:
There is historic significance in the noble decision of the newspaper to transfer the original plans to Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem. Beyond its importance for research is the message of responsibility. It gave me a strong feeling of obligation to continue our educational endeavors.”

Plan of Auschwitz I camp, including the massive headquarters, that were not built, 30.4.1942

The architectural plans, 29 documents in all, have been authenticated by experts from Germany's Federal Archives. Some of the documents bear notes in the margins, or signatures by senior Nazis, including by Head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler. Read more about it in this interesting article in Forbes.

The plans will be displayed at Yad Vashem in January 2010, marking 65 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

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