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Warsaw, Poland - Auschwitz Has Record 1.43 Million Visitors In 2012

Published on: January 4, 2013 12:19 PM
By: AP
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FILE - Prince Albert II of Monaco (C-L) and his wife Princess Charlene (C) visit the former Nazi-German concentration camp KL Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, 19 October 2012.  EPAFILE - Prince Albert II of Monaco (C-L) and his wife Princess Charlene (C) visit the former Nazi-German concentration camp KL Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, 19 October 2012.  EPA

Warsaw, Poland - The Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site in southern Poland registered 1.43 million visitors last year, a record number in its 65-year history as a place of Holocaust remembrance, officials said Friday.

For several years now, the grounds of the former Nazi death camp have registered record numbers of visitors. In 2011, there were 1.4 million visitors from across the world, triple the number of a decade before.

In a statement announcing the new figure, director Piotr Cywinski said that in the last decade Auschwitz has become a “fundamental memorial” for all of Europe.

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A massive rise in visitors came after Poland joined the European Union in 2004, a development that encouraged many people from across Europe to travel to Poland, and which opened up new air travel connections to the nearby city of Krakow.

The largest group of visitors — 446,000 — were from Poland, followed by large numbers from Britain, the United States, Italy, Germany, Israel and many other countries.

The growing tourism is considered important in Holocaust education, but it is straining the site’s barracks and other structures, many of which were built of wood and never intended to last so long.

Massive efforts are under way now to preserve the site, with modern laboratories devoted to salvaging objects that belonged to the camp’s victims and the buildings. The aim is to maintain the site in as close a state as possible to when it was liberated by Soviet troops in January 1945.

Nazi Germany murdered at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Most were Jews, but the victims also included Polish political prisoners, Gypsies, gay people and others.


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 Jan 04, 2013 at 02:38 PM moira Says:

If the Europeans would collectively remember their collusion in the murder of millions of Jews, then the monument of Auschwitz makes sense. But if the tourism to Auschwitz is mostly Jews going to see where their coreligionists were murdered, better to raze Auschwitz and use all that tourism money to build Yiddishkeit - schools, Mosdos, Gemilus Chesed Funds. That will be an Ilui Neshama for the Kedoshim

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 Jan 06, 2013 at 05:20 AM derecheretz Says:

Comment to Moira- I understand what you are saying, but we can do both. We can visit places like Poland and the camps and gain inspiration to tell the truth and the story of what happened as survivors are reaching an age where they can't do it anymore or are dying out, r"l, AND we can build institutions that inspire the kind of humanity and decency and ahavat chinam that would be a lift for the souls of the Kedoshim. It need not be a zero sum gain, we can do both, some will gravitate towards one and others toward the other, or something totally different yet worthwhile as a living memorial to those who perished. May they all rest peacefuly.

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