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Germany Urged to Spend More Money to Maintain Sites of Former Camps

August 24, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The opposition Social Democratic Party has urged the German government to increase its contribution to maintaining former Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe as memorial sites.

Meeting here Saturday, the SPD singled out Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Poland, and Theresienstadt, in Czechoslovakia, which have both fallen into decay.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s conservative government has already committed the equivalent of nearly $7 million this year to the purpose, after alarming reports that the barracks of Auschwitz were in extremely bad shape.

But the Polish government said that at least $27 million would be needed for urgent maintenance work.

Two members of Parliament from the Social Democrats, Freimut Duve and Siegfried Vergin, demanded a quick and decisive response, saying it is primarily a German responsibility to keep the memorials alive.

They pointed out that thousands of Germans, many of them high-school students, travel yearly to Auschwitz for educational experiences, which can hardly be matched by lectures on history and morals.

Duve and Vergin accused the German government of indifference and said urgent initiatives and action are needed.

The two also urged Bonn to deal more actively with the task of redesigning the memorials left by the Communist regime in former East Germany. Those memorials, they observed, were ideologically biased and included many factual distortions.

Duve and Vergin said it is high time to eliminate injustices, such as that still existing at the site of the Dora-Nordhausen slave labor camp.

Last week, the Israeli Consulate in Berlin blasted the federal state of Thuringia for not acting to replace the plaque at Dora, which makes no mention of Jewish persecutees but, illogically, praises “victims from Arab states.”

Thousands of Jewish slave laborers perished in Dora. The only known inmate of Arab origin at the camp was a French soldier whose family came from Morocco.

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