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france 24 Europe

Auschwitz ‘showers’ spark outrage at former Nazi camp

© Facebook picture of the controversial sprinklers outside the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-09-01

Visitors to the Auschwitz Memorial at the weekend were shocked to find mist sprinklers which they found shockingly reminiscent of the gas chambers used by the Nazis to exterminate Jews, Israeli media has reported.

The sprinklers, which spray a fine mist, were placed outside the former Nazi camp in southern Poland to allow tourists to cool off as temperatures soared to 37°C.

But some visitors said they complained to staff at the site, saying the installation was in poor taste.

"As soon as I got off the bus I walked into the shower contraption," Israeli visitor Meyer told Ynetnews. "I was in shock. It was a punch to the gut.”

Historians estimate that around 1 million Jews were gassed to death at Auschwitz, the largest of six extermination camps the Nazis built during World War II.

The victims were murdered using lethal Zyklon B gas that was pumped into vast underground chambers, some of which were equipped with fake showers.

The management at Auschwitz Memorial said it never intended to offend visitors, but rather to give them some cool comfort amid stifling heat.

"Because of the extreme heat wave we have experienced in August in Poland, mist sprinklers which cool the air were placed near the entrance to the Museum," the memorial wrote on its Facebook page.

The officials appeared to reject claims they should have been more sensitive, saying the sprinklers bore no resemblance to the Nazi gas chambers.

"It is really hard for us to comment on some suggested historical references since the mist sprinkles do not look like showers and the fake showers installed by Germans inside some of the gas chambers were not used to deliver gas into them," the Facebook page said.

Date created : 2015-09-01

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