Auschwitz-Birkenau launches crowdfunding campaign to preserve important monument

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A view of the gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, January 27, 2020.
AP Photo/Markus SchreiberA view of the gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, January 27, 2020.

'The shoes are crumbling, and we don't have time to wait years. We need to preserve them now'

The former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise approximately $507,000 for preservations of one of its monuments.

The monument shows piles of ragged shoes that former prisoners wore in the death camp, including shoes from men, women and children.

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This monument is slowly eroding as it over the years has been exposed to the elements, Ynet reported.

In order to save the silent but important testament of the Holocaust and the extermination of millions of European Jews, Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation needs to raise capital to preserve what is left.

"The shoes are crumbling, and we don't have time to wait years. We need to preserve them now," Wojciech Soczewica, the Director General of Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, told Ynet, adding that it will take around two years to save the shoes.

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"Only a small part of the shoes is on display nowadays, and most of them are in storage. After we save them all, they will be presented to the public in a new exhibition. Every victim is a tragedy, but more so are the children. These shoes are material evidence of the crimes committed against them," he said.

A private German shoe manufacturer already donated around $50,700 to the museum, Soczewica explained.

"This is the first time in history the foundation received a donation from a private company from Germany," he told Ynet.

"It has a historical connection, and we are happy that a German company agreed to do this. Our challenge now is to raise another 400,000 euros [$406,000]."

Between 1.1 million to 1.5 million people died in Auschwitz-Birkenau, with the vast majority being Jews, according to History.

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