Auschwitz Criticized Over New Mist Showers

Auschwitz has come under fire for installing new mist showers close to the entrance. Some visitors expressed their concerns when the showers were made to look like those in the gas chambers. The showers were placed there for the comfort of visitors, especially those from countries that do not experience the same high temperatures Poland gets.

Temperatures this weekend were in the low 100s, and the museum decided that guests needed help to remain comfortable. The mist showers were placed by the entrance, close to the memorial, where there is nowhere to hide from the sun. A spokesperson used the Auschwitz Memorial Facebook page to make the announcement that the decision was made to put the health and safety of guests first.

CNN reports that many Jewish visitors were offended by the decision to add the misting stations. The visitors claimed that the stations looked like the showers used to deliver gas to the prisoners during World War II. The museum’s management went on to explain that the misters look nothing like the showers, as Zyklon B was dropped through holes in the ceilings into the gas chambers. The fake showers used by Germans were not used to deliver gas to victims in Auschwitz.

The Daily Mail reported that one visitor, Meyer Bolka, said that he was shocked to see the “contraption.” He asked why the showers were installed, and was simply told that it was due to it being hot. Explaining that some of the older Jewish community especially could find this distressing, he believed Auschwitz should have found another method to cool people down.

There have been debates over the use of the showers. Some say that there is nothing wrong, and putting the health and safety of guests was the right thing to do. Those in support of the misters believe that they look nothing like anything from the gas chambers, but serve as a reminder and a memorial.

At least 1.1 million prisoners were killed at the concentration camp, either from being worked to death or from the gas chambers. It was one of the biggest sites around Europe, with Jewish people from various countries being transported there. People of many other faiths also found themselves at Auschwitz for various reasons.

Auschwitz Museum has not officially apologized for the decision, but says that it is sorry for the offence caused. The location of the showers will be considered if used in the future, but it seems that the mist sprayer style will remain.

[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]