March 9, 1999
To Protect Death Camp Sites
By ANDRZEJ STYLINSKI Associated
WARSAW, Poland (AP) - The Polish
government on Tuesday backed a proposal
that would establish a 100-yard protection
zone around the sites of former Nazi death
The proposed law was developed after
conservative Catholics erected hundreds of
crosses just outside of the former death
camp at Auschwitz. Jewish organizations
have protested the crosses, which they say
insults the memory of Jews killed
The measure, which is expected to go to
parliament this month, will restrict
business and building activity around the
camps, as well as limit public gatherings
at the sites.
The bill also is designed to allow
government to maintain an atmosphere of
peace and dignity at the sites, a
government communique said Tuesday.
Jewish organizations also protested
earlier plans to build a mall across from
the Auschwitz museum. The project has
since been limited to a visitors
More than 1.5 million people, mostly
Jews, perished in Auschwitz and the
adjacent camp of Birkenau in 1940-45.
Besides Auschwitz, the bill covers the
sites of former Nazi death camps at
Majdanek, Sobibor, Belzec, Treblinka,
Gross Rosen, Sztutowo and Chelmno. Some 6
million European Jews, half of them from
Poland, perished in the Nazi Holocaust,
and the majority of death camps were set
up in occupied Poland.
The bill also concerns the camp at
Lambinowice, where the Nazis held Polish
prisoners of war. After the fall of the
Third Reich, Poles used the facility to
keep Germans awaiting resettlement.
Residents of cities near the camps have
criticized the government for its plan.
They claim the broad zones would drive
away investors and jobs.©
Associated Press, 1999