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