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Culture

Germany Puts More Money Aside for Memorials

For the fourth year in a row, Germany has increased its culture budget, which has been set at 1.13 billion euros ($1.78 billion) for 2009. A new Holocaust and GDR memorial concept is first in line for the new funds.

Military parade in former East Germany

Germany want to invest in working through its communist past

German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann announced the new budget scheme on Wednesday, July 2, saying that it "establishing a framework to continue strengthening culture as well as the prerequisites for important cultural plans like the memorial project."

The funding hike represents a 1.51 percent increase over last year's budget and a 7.8 percent increase since Neumann took office in 2005.

The comprehensive memorial project, approved by the German cabinet in mid-June, is to introduce initiatives to help the country work through its communist past. A four-pronged plan focuses on everyday life in former East Germany as well as the suppressive regime and resistance efforts.

The gate at the former concentration camp in Dachau read: 'Work will make you free'

Holocaust memorial sites are also to receive a monetary boost

A substantial part of the 35 million euros slated for the project -- raised from the initially promised 23 million -- will also go to the renovation of Germany's four Holocaust memorial sites, in Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Neuengamme and Flossenbuerg.

An addition 4.7 million euros have been set aside for a new Unity and Freedom Memorial to the peaceful revolution in 1989 that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the communist regime.

Continued support of the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) has also been planned into the new budget. Around 60 million euros in subsidies are to flow into the fund yearly from 2010 to 2012. Initiated in 2007, DFFF has already created and secured many jobs in the industry.

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