Government: $160,000 for Auschwitz site

History

After accusations of stalling, the Hungarian government has finally agreed to contribute some $160,000 (approximately €120,500) to the maintenance of the former Auschwitz concentration camp site.

Foreign Ministry Press Department head Gábor Kaleta had stated in mid-May that his government would be earmarking “between €80,000 and €150,000” for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation as part of its 2014 budget, though remarking then that “financial planning regarding the Hungarian contribution is still ongoing.”

At that time, Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Director Piotr Cywiński complained in the pages of France-based Le Monde about Hungary’s foot-dragging on actually putting forth a contribution: Cywiński stated that discussions with Hungarian authorities had begun in 2009 but were put off as officials cited the Eurozone-related economic crisis to make such a grant impossible “for a few years.”  

Cywiński commended contributions from Germany of some €60 million, another €20 million combined from Poland, the US and France, plus unexpected contributions from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, while reminding that “From a symbolic point of view, Auschwitz represents the largest Hungarian cemetery in the world.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was founded in Oświęcim, Poland, in 1947; since 2006, the site has attracted more than 1 million visitors annually, with over 1.4 million reported in 2011. 

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