Israel to Receive Auschwitz Concentration Camp Blueprints

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JERUSALEM, Israel - The German newspaper Bild is planning to present original architectural plans of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday.

The plans will be kept at Israel's main Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, a statement from Yad Vashem said.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp, where more than a million people, mostly Jewish, were murdered.

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said that the plans are a very important historical record.

"As original plans detailing the construction of Auschwitz, where some 1.1 million Jews were murdered, these documents have great historical significance," said Shalev.

"They constitute concrete illustration of the Germans' systematic effort to carry out the 'Final Solution'," Shalev said in reference to the Nazi plan to destroy the Jewish people.

The documents were found in an apartment in Berlin in 2008 while it was undergoing renovation and purchased by Bild. Shortly thereafter, the newspaper's editor in chief, Kai Diekman, decided that Yad Vashem would be the most appropriate place for safekeeping of the documents.

The collection consists of 29 documents. Architectural plans show details for expanding the camp, including the addition of a crematorium and a gas chamber.

Some documents bear notes or signatures by senior Nazis, including Heinrich Himmler (who was among other things overseer of the death camps), Yad Vashem said.

Yad Vashem's archives currently hold more than 125 million pages of documentation about the Holocaust, but these will be the first plans of a concentration camp that will be part of the archive, a spokeswoman told CBN News.

The blueprints will be on display at Yad Vashem in January 2010 to mark the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The will also be available for researchers.

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