Scrapbookpages Blog

January 5, 2015

Only 92,000 Americans visited Auschwitz in 2014

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 1:07 pm
The "gate of death" (the gatehouse into the Birkenau camp

“Gate of death” (the gatehouse into the Birkenau camp)

The quote below is from a news article, which you can read in full here.

More than 1.5 million people visited the former Auschwitz concentration camp in 2014, setting a record.  […]

The most visitors came from Poland, with 398,000, followed by Great Britain at 199,000 and the United States at 92,000. Germany and Israel had the fifth and sixth highest totals, 75,000 and 62,000, respectively.

I find it hard to believe that only 75,000 people from Germany and only 62,000 from Israel visited Auschwitz. Notice that the first sentence in the news article says that 1.5 million visited Auschwitz.  Does this number include the visitors who went on to Auschwitz-Birkenau, or does it mean that 1.5 million visited the main camp, known as Auschwitz I, but not all of them went on to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Auschwitz II camp?

When I visited Auschwitz for the first time in September 1998, I arranged for a tour guide through a travel agency in New York City.  The tour consisted of a visit to the main Auschwitz camp for 1/2 a day.  I had to hire another tour guide in Poland to take me to the Auschwitz II camp.  The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was full of weeds, and my guide and I were the only ones there. What a difference today!

Photographs were forbidden when I first visited in 1998, but my camera accidentally went off and I shot the photo below.

My first photo of the Auschwitz gas chamber in the main camp

My first photo of the Auschwitz gas chamber in the main camp (1998)

In 1998, tourists were brought into the gas chamber in the main camp through a door that was not there when the building allegedly had a gas chamber.  I was told that the door in the background of the photo above was the door through which the Jews entered the gas chamber. This door was added when the crematorium was turned into an air raid shelter for the SS men.

Now tourists are brought into the gas chamber through the oven room.  The opening into the oven room is shown at the extreme left in my photo.

Click on the photo below see it in a larger size.

My 2005 photo of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp

My 2005 photo of the gas chamber in the Auschwitz camp

Good luck getting a good photo of the Auschwitz gas chamber today.  Tourists must file into the gas chamber between ropes, like the ones put up for a line in a bank.