Germany Earmarks $6 Million for Restoration of Auschwitz

The German government will provide Poland with $6 million for long-overdue restoration work at the site of the former Auschwitz death camp.

The decision was announced last Friday on the heels of a unanimous resolution by the German parliament calling on the government to fund preservation of sites commemorating victims of the Nazis.

The Bundestag specifically cited the need to maintain the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where over 1.5 million Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said $1.6 million of the 1993 federal budget has already been earmarked for the restoration of Auschwitz. The remainder will be transferred to Poland in annual installments through 1996.

The legislative body also cited the need to maintain memorial sites commemorating victims of Communist dictatorship in the former East Germany. Some Nazi facilities, including the Buchenwald concentration camp, were used by the Communists to persecute their opponents.

Analysts believe the recent wave of neo-Nazi violence prompted an alarmed political leadership to put forward the Bundestag resolution.

More than 100,000 Germans joined in Bonn on Sunday to protest right-wing violence against foreigners. A similar demonstration in Berlin last Sunday attracted 350,000 people but was marred by anarchists, who threw eggs and heckled government speakers, such as Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

These demonstrations are in line with a call by the Bundestag to manifest the will of a large majority of Germans to live in peace with the non-German population.

Meanwhile, the Interior Committee of the legislature heard testimony last week on the involvement of German army soldiers in neo-Nazi violence.

The Defense Ministry knows of 24 such cases, a spokesman said. One soldier is serving a five-year sentence for manslaughter in a special facility for youth offenders. Two other soldiers were arrested on manslaughter charges.

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