Auschwitz-Birkenau - AP
A section of barracks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, Poland. Photo by AP
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The railroad tracks leading to the entrance of the Auschwitz concentration camp, January 1941 . Photo by AP

An international foundation established to preserve the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial in Poland has fallen short of its fundraising goal, but still plans to begin repair work there, a spokesman said Thursday.

The site includes the barracks, gas chambers and other structures of the former death camp, where Germany's Nazis killed some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, during World War II.

Bartosz Bartyzel, a spokesman for the memorial, said that donations from countries such as Germany, Poland and the United States have allowed it to raise $100 million of the $120 million it wants so that it has enough annual interest to fund the repairs.

But he said the current amount is enough to start on the crumbling brick barracks at the site in 2014.

"The money has been used to identify the objects that most urgently need repairs and to make a plan," said Bartyzel. "The brick barracks of the women's camp in Birkenau will be first to be repaired, but the process will take a few years."