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April 22, 2015 11:06 am

Auschwitz-Birkenau Now Asking Visitors to Pre-Book Trips to the Concentration Camp

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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The entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Authorities at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum warned on Tuesday that it may have to begin turning people away from visiting the Nazi-German death camp because of a recent surge in visitors at the site, encouraging visitors to book in advance.

According to Andrzej Kacorzyk, deputy director of the museum, March alone saw 130,000 visitors, which marked a 60% gain over  last year. More than 250,000 visitors entered the site in the first quarter of 2015, which is 40% more than last year.

In order to cope with the rapidly growing number of visitors, the memorial has created the website, visit.auschwitz.org, where tourists can pre-book their visit to the concentration camp. It is the “only way which guarantees entrance to the Museum on a chosen day and hour,” the statement said.

“This authentic place has become the symbol of evil for the entire world, which is manifested by an over threefold increase in attendance,” the statement added.

The Auschwitz figures go hand-in-hand with a trend of rising global interest in the Holocaust, said Professor Dan Michman, who is head of Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research.

“There is a growing interest in the Holocaust [worldwide] in general,” Michman told the Algemeiner. “In the last 30 years, interest has grown, including more museums and more interest.”

One of the fastest growing regions for Holocaust interest is the far East, he said. According to the Economist, Asian curators and historians have used Holocaust memorials as a guide to building their own, such as the Cambodian Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and a Chinese memorial commemorating the Japanese “Rape of Nanking” in 1937.

With growing interest in the Holocaust, however, there has also been “more Holocaust denial,” said Michman. The interest “is sometimes a double-edged sword,” he said.

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