Angela Merkel, Mateusz Morawiecki arrive at Auschwitz
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday morning arrived at the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz in south Poland as the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation marks its 10th anniversary.
The foundation finances the conservation of historical structures and Germany has so far transferred PLN 60 mln (EUR 14 mln) to an endowment fund managed by the foundation.
Merkel and Morawiecki started their visit at the crematorium building and are then going to pass under the main gate, bearing the infamous sign in German "Arbeit macht frei" (Work sets you free), visit an exhibition devoted to the camp and lay flowers at the Death Wall, where the Nazis executed prisoners, mostly Poles.
Then the two officials will go to the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, the main site of the Holocaust.
Angela Merkel is the third German Chancellor, after Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl, to visit Auschwitz.
The Nazi Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940, initially for the imprisonment of Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later and became the main site for the mass extermination of Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the complex. The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz, mainly Jews, but also Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.
The camp was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945. In 1947, the camp site was declared a national memorial site.