Visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau at Record High

More people than ever are seeking to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camps.

Yaakov Levi ,

Jews carry Israeli flags in Auschwitz (file)
Jews carry Israeli flags in Auschwitz (file)

Seventy two years after the Holocaust and the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camps, more people than ever are seeking to view the site where millions of Jews were sent to their deaths, to commemorate and commiserate.

During the first four months of 2015, there was a 40% increase in the number of visitors to the site over the same period in 2014 – which itself was a record year for visits to the site. In all, 1.5 million people visited the camps.

As a result, officials in charge of the site have asked individuals who scheduled visits there to reconfirm their planned visit dates – and to be prepared in the event that they are asked to come a different day. Visitors can come to the site for an individual visit without registering in advance, but they could end up waiting for hours to get in.

Better, the officials said, to sign up with one of the many tour groups that get priority in admission, and thus to avoid lines and waits. In fact, according to the official visitor web site, “an online reservation is the only guarantee of entering the Museum on the date and time of your choice. The new website is dedicated to both individual visitors and organized groups. A new function on the user-friendly website is a possibility for individual visitors to book a group tour with an educator, as well as to make the payment online.”

The site is operated by the Polish and local governments. Fees to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau start at $40, going up to hundreds of dollars per person, depending on the tour, number of days, etc. The Polish government does not publish information on the amount it “earns” from the site.