Austrian authorities presented plans Wednesday to restore and revamp the former Mauthausen concentration camp, calling it an important contribution to preventing the resurgence of Nazi sentiment.
The Nazis killed about half the 200,000 inmates in the main camp or its affiliates around the villages of Mauthausen and Gusen, located near the Austrian city of Linz. It is now a site for commemorating Holocaust victims and learning about the horrors of its history. About 200,000 people, including many students, visit Mauthausen each year.
Projects include an exhibit about mass extermination, expanding educational programs and the creation of a new space specifically for the remembrance of those who died, the Austrian Interior Ministry said.
"With this, we are sending a signal that the republic is assuming its national and international responsibility to commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime," Austrian Interior Minister Maria Fekter said in a statement. "We are also sending signals against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism."
The first phase of the revamp is expected to cost $2.4 million and be completed in early 2013. The original 2,000-square-meter Mauthausen visitor center was built in 2003 with an 8 million euro Austrian government investment.
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