Only Surviving Synagogue Near Auschwitz on Verge of Collapse
A synagogue near the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz is on the verge of collapse, officials warned last week.
The head of the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation, which maintains the site in the southern Polish city of Oswiecim, told NBC News that the synagogue may crumble if the sloping ground on which it stands on is not reinforced soon.
"There are already small cracks visible," Tomasz Kuncewicz told the news station. "A thorough examination found that the ground is unstable and with heavy rain or something similar, anything can happen."
"Several synagogues were located in the area, and this was the only one not destroyed by the Nazis," Kuncewicz said.
Built around 1913, it thrived until the Nazi occupation and today is not only a place of prayer, but also a historical site and educational center that draws 25,000 visitors each year.
Organizers are seeking $300,000 for the renovation effort, the majority from donations, but are also seeking help from government agencies.
"We are working very hard to raise money for this project, to make sure the synagogue will stand," Kuncewicz added.
Some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps.