German paper gives Auschwitz blueprints to Israel PM

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Berlin, Aug. 28 (ANI): Germany has handed over 29 yellowing blueprints of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The blueprints give chilling details, with gas chambers, crematoria, delousing facilities and watchtowers drawn to scale. Over a million people, mostly Jews, died in the gas chambers or through forced labor, disease or starvation at Auschwitz, which the Nazis built after occupying Poland.

"There are those who deny that the Holocaust happened. Let them come to Jerusalem and look at these plans, these plans for the factory of death," Fox News quoted Netanyahu as saying as he accepted the documents as a gift to Israel's Holocaust memorial, where they will go on display next year.

Netanyahu lingered over the large sheets spread on a table.

Stamped with the Nazi abbreviation for concentration camp "K.L. Auschwitz," one of the largest featured multi-colored sketches, with barracks and even latrines drawn in detail. Other smaller sheets showed architectural designs of individual buildings, drawn from various angles.

His wife, Sara, whose father was the only member of his family to survive the Nazi genocide that killed six million Jews during World War II, accompanied the Israeli leader. She watched somberly as the documents, which date from 1941 to 1943, were unfolded.

Also present was Yossi Peled, an Israeli Cabinet minister and former general whose father was killed by the Nazis and whose mother survived Auschwitz in one of the barracks detailed in the blueprints.

A family in Belgium who raised him as a Christian hid Peled himself until age 7. He discovered his Jewish roots in 1948 and was taken to Israel two years later.

In Germany for a visit that combined talks on the Mideast conflict with acknowledgments of the painful past that binds the two countries, Netanyahu drew a clear parallel between the events of the Nazi era and the present day. The world did not do enough to stop the murder of Europe's Jews, he said, and must be careful now to take rapid action against "armed barbarism."

Axel Springer Verlag, the publisher of the mass circulation Bild newspaper, obtained the Auschwitz blueprints last year from a German man who said he found them when cleaning out an apartment in what was formerly East Berlin.

The publisher and Germany's federal archive have confirmed the documents' authenticity. (ANI)

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