Museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau completes conservation work

The museum at the Auschwitz-Birkenau former Nazi concentration camp recently restored the wooden barracks that served as crude housing for prisoners during WWII.

Conservation work of the wooden barracks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has been completed, the museum announced Tuesday.

The barracks housed prisoners, mostly Jews, at the Nazi death camp during World War II.

The current restoration work was done on half of the barracks, and completed the restoration work on the entire site.

The ones restored now were on loan to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. for more than 20 years, and were returned to Poland in 2013.

The conservation work was completed in mid-July, said Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz museum, and it will open to the public in August.

The second half of the barracks was previously restored.

This announcement comes ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the infamous death camp this week as part of the Catholic World Youth Day in the country.

Francis will become the third pontiff to visit Auschwitz, after John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Thousands of Catholic youth visited Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of the events.

“There is always light, and I think we have to find it. I think that is the reason pope sent us to (see) this …to see what humanity did in the past, and try (to) not do it again,” said Fatima Sonndevile, a pilgrim from Spain.

The Catholic Church’s support or even compliance with the Holocaust remains a highly contentious and sensitive historical issue. Pius XII, the pope during World War II, is said to have been a Nazi sympathizer and was accused of not directing his church to do enough to save Jews.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff