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Holocaust Memorial Director: Sites at Camps in Need of Funds

Unless needed funds are provided to the memorial site of the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp in northern Germany, it may close temporarily next year and workers may be laid off, said Jurgen Dietberner, the memorial director.

Dan Tichon, an Israeli member of Knesset and chairman of the parliamentary friendship committee between Israel and Germany, sent a sharp protest to the possible closure to the German government.

However, Jerzy Kanal, chairman of the Berlin Jewish Community, said in an interview that the former camp would not close under any circumstances.

The rumors of a possible closure stem from financial difficulties, he said.

Several administrators at memorial sites at former concentration camps in Germany have complained recently about budget cuts. The federal and regional governments usually provide about half of the budget needed to run the sites.

Some 27,000 people took part in this year’s ceremonies at the Sachsenhausen and Revenbruck camps, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camps.

Because of the turnout, memorial directors have applied for a budget of $11.4 million for next year. Only half was approved.

This year’s budget stood at $7 million.

Kanal said the plight of the sites was also being played up by opponents of the plan to establish a giant central memorial in Berlin for Holocaust victims. They say funds for the Berlin monument would detract from funds provided to the camps.

A barrack at Sachsenhausen that was used as a Jewish museum was set on fire three years ago by neo-Nazis. Reconstruction of the museum was completed this year.

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