Documenting the Holocaust German Newspaper Gives Auschwitz Blueprints to Israelis

Almost a year after their discovery in a Berlin flat, Germany's Bild newspaper on Thursday handed over architectural plans for Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz to the Israeli people. The artifacts will go on display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in 2010.

The architecture of Auschwitz: Sketches dating from as far back as 1941 reveal plans to expand the Nazi death camp.

The architecture of Auschwitz: Sketches dating from as far back as 1941 reveal plans to expand the Nazi death camp.

Germany's largest newspaper, the tabloid Bild, presented Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with architectural plans for the Auschwitz concentration camp during his visit to Berlin on Thursday. The newspaper's editor, Kai Diekmann, presented the Israeli leader with the blueprints, which the company purchased from an unidentified seller earlier this year.

In his acceptance speech, Netanyahu thanked Diekmann for "a gift of truth," saying he hoped the architectural plans would challenge the beliefs of Holocaust-deniers. "There are people who claim that the Holocaust never happened. Let them come to Jerusalem and look at these plans, the plans for a death factory" he said.

Diekmann further emphasised the significance of the blueprints, saying "These plans serve an important function. They remind us of a crime, which grows more and more inconceivable over time. It is of the utmost importance that we continue to remember," he added.

The 29 sketches, dating as far back as 1941, were discovered in a Berlin apartment in November 2008. The plans include blueprints for the original Auschwitz camp as well as plans to expand the Nazi death camp by constructing a crematorium, a gas chamber and an additional building to store the corpses of murdered Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

'Am Extremely Important Symbol for Israel'

The plans will be put on display starting Jan. 27, 2010 at the Yad Vesham Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, where they will be made available to researchers.

The memorial's chairman, Avner Shalev, told Bild, "These documents show what man can do to his fellow man -- they show the evil that can fester in human beings." He called the floor plans "an extremely important symbol for Israel."

"The sketches and building plans of Auschwitz are the only original documents of their kind found in Germany," a spokesperson for Bild publisher Axel Springer told the news agency AFP. "The federal archive, which has confirmed them as genuine, called it an important discovery."

In addition to his visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, Netanyahu is also expected to visit the house on Wannsee lake in Berlin where the "Wannsee Conference" took place. It was at the Jan. 20, 1942 meeting that the Nazis approved the "Final Solution" for the murder of Europe's Jews.

ecb -- with wire reports


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