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US Holocaust Museum not returning former concentration camp building to Poland

Warsaw, 29.2.2012 17:09, (ROMEA)

Poland is in a dispute with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. over a building from the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. The museum in the US capital borrowed the relic from the former death factory and was supposed to have returned them to Poland two years ago but has not yet done so.

Poland loaned the building to the Americans in 1989 for 10 years and then extended the lease by another decade, but it should have been returned by now. "A serious museum returns borrowed objects," Polish daily Rzeczpospolita quoted Piotr Cywiński, director of the Polish State Museum at the site of the former concentration camp in Auschwitz, as saying. "Objects connected to the Holocaust should never be squabbled over."

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is using the building from Auschwitz as a key part of its exhibition and has reportedly mobilized the Jewish community in the US around the issue. Author Elie Wiesel, who survived the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, has called on the Poles to leave the building in DC. "There are only a few institutions in the world that have done as much for the memory [of the Holocaust] as this museum," the Nobel Peace Prize winner said in defense of the US museum.

The Nazis murdered as many as half a million people in the death camp at Auschwitz, mainly Jewish people, but also Polish people, Romani people, and Soviet prisoners of war. The site is listed on UNESCO's world heritage list. Last year a record 1.4 million people visited there.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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