Museum staff at the former Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp in Poland placed mist sprinklers at the entrance in an attempt to alleviate visitors’ discomfort from the summer heat, but their goodwill was perceived by some as offensive.
Visitors to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland were dismayed to encounter mist sprinklers at the entrance to the former concentration camp, which some found reminiscent of the notorious gas chambers used to kill Jews at Auschwitz. Inmates were told they would be taking a shower and instead were sent to their death.
Museum staff installed the mist sprinklers in an effort to alleviate the summer heat.
“As soon as I got off the bus I walked into the shower contraption,” Meyer Bolka, an Israeli visiting the museum, told Ynet. “I was in shock. It was a punch to the gut. I walked up to the reception and asked the worker there about the showers. She said it was a hot day. I told her: ‘With all due respect it reminds me of the gas chambers.’ She told me she was very sorry.”
According to Bolka, Israeli youths who were visiting the museum used the mist showers to cool down, but many older visitors were infuriated. “I think that in a place like this they should have thought about the type of connotation this would raise,” he added. “If you want to cool the people down, you need to find another solution. It was not a pleasant sight to see those sprinklers.”
The museum management responded by stating there was no intention to hurt the feelings of the visitors, but rather to make their visit more pleasant on one of the hottest days of the year, adding that they will reassess the continued placement of the sprinklers.