Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sound Off 01-29-09

On the somber note of the holocaust, the Auschwitz-Birkenau site is in a state of decay and preserving it would be costly: "Auschwitz Museum is in a financial crisis, that's for sure," says site spokesman Pawel Sawicki. "We do not have sufficient money to develop a long-term conservation plan. We can only be reactive, say if there's damage to a building we repair it - we can't be proactive. And if we can't secure the buildings and conserve the site properly, we will be forced to close it to the public in a few years." (click here to read entire article)

Today's question: "Should the Auschwitz death camp be preserved or allowed to crumble and decay? Why do you think so?"



  1. This is a difficult question for me to answer. I must admit that when I first heard this story yesterday on NPR that I was very surprised that the funding for this was even an issue. The curator said that Poland is a relatively poor country. He said that Germany should be made to provide funding because "it was their fault."

    According to the report I heard, nearly $100 million is needed to repair and maintain the site--and this is much more than the annual funding of $10 million can achieve. And, to the degree that keeping this site active promotes the memory of what happened there, to this extent I feel the funding should be found. I wonder what Israeli Jews feel about this?

  2. I don't think Germany should be *made* to provide funding any more than I would expect to do a jail sentence for a crime committed by my grandfather. But they at least should be solicited for funds, as should any country with an interest in maintaining preserving the memory of Auschwitz, and that would seem to include Israel as well.

  3. Do you (not asking anyone in paticular) have a desire to visit Auschwitz? If so how much would you be willing to pay to see it?

  4. Zee, that's an even better question than the one I asked; because, as easy as it is to say that I think it should be maintained, it's not like I'm ever going to go see it. I mean, maybe if I was in Poland anyway; but I can't imagine what circumstances could possibly make me even want to go to Poland. I certainly wouldn't go *just* to see Auschwitz.

    And I'm not sure how much I'd pay. It seems kind of tawdry to put a price on that; I'd almost expect admission to be free or to be whatever donation the visitor felt moved to give.

  5. Philosobot,

    Considering that you did not want to pay to go the Chicago Field Museum yesterday (yes, I have a grudge), I am not surprised to read that you would prefer to make admission by donation.

  6. Fair enough. Then my next question would be has anyone gone and how much were they motivated to donate after being there?

    My opa had been there. I recall him saying he was somewhat sickened to see such a place as almost a tourist attraction.

    I have no plans to visit or to donate my personal money so I don't think I have any right to have an opinion on this.