WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – A record number of more than 1.72 million visitors came to the Auschwitz memorial in 2015.
The new mark breaks the standard of 1.534 million visitors set last year, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland reported Jan. 4.
In 2015, Poland had the most visitors with 425,000. Rounding out the top five were the United Kingdom (220,000), the United States (141,000), Germany (93,000) and Italy (76,000). Next were Spain (68,000), Israel (61,000), France (57,000), the Czech Republic (47,000) and the Netherlands (43,000).
August saw the most visitors with over 210,000.
“Going through the remnants of the former camp does not constitute only a history lesson,” Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, said in a statement. “It is also the moment of unique reflection on our own responsibility for the shape of our world nowadays. That is why systematic tools supporting educational visits of young people at the Memorial have been created in so many democratic countries.”
Nearly 80 percent of the visitors are guided by museum educators in one of 20 languages.
“The appropriate preparation and training of nearly 300 educators constitutes a challenge taking into account dynamically changing attendance of visitors from different language areas,” said Andrzej Kacorzyk, director of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.