Fight against time to preserve Auschwitz

OSWIECIM, Poland (Reuters) — Auschwitz is disintegrating.

Over 60 years of winter snow, summer drought and millions of visitors have taken a heavy toll on the former Nazi death camp.

Just as survivors visiting the camp dwindle each year, so time is bearing down on the prison buildings, the rusting barbed-wire fencing and remnants of the gas chambers left behind when the Germans fled in January 1945.

Evidence of the victims — hair, spectacles, children’s toys and other belongings — is also falling to pieces, eaten away by insects and mildew, its disappearance giving slow support to those who try to deny the Holocaust ever happened.


Auschwitz I, a stone and brick-built Polish military base used by the Nazis to house Polish political prisoners, was hastily enlarged with forced labor using the cheapest possible materials after Germany invaded Poland in 1939.

Auschwitz II Birkenau, two miles away, was a specially built killing factory thrown up in 1943 for the mass murder of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and other minorities.

Linked directly to Europe’s railway network by a special siding to speed up the murders, the Nazis used it to expedite their plans for a “Final Solution” to “the Jewish problem”.


Israel Gutman, a former Auschwitz prisoner and adviser to the Yad Vashem holocaust institute in Israel, is determined the camp will be conserved as long as possible, whatever the cost.

“There are still people who claim the Holocaust never took place,” he said. “Auschwitz must be preserved for as long as possible because it gives those people a chance to go there, to see the real gas chambers.”

(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska)


Chris Johnson

Webmaster note: Oooh, real Nazi gas chambers that you can see. You have to wonder why no one has pointed them out to Professor Faurisson: He’s been asking for years for someone to show him a Nazi gas chamber.