Mist sprinklers installed at the Auschwitz concentration camp museum in Poland were supposed to keep tourists cool, but instead have ignited a debate over whether they too closely resemble the showers used by the Nazis to camouflage their gas chambers.
Critics say the mist showers located near the museum's ticket line are offensive, said the Jerusalem Post
, and raise the question about the facility's present-day managers: "What were they thinking?"
"As a Jew who has lost so many relatives in the Holocaust, they looked like the showers that the Jews were forced to take before entering the gas chambers,” Meir Bulka, 48, told the Post. "All the Israelis felt this was very distasteful.
"Someone called it a 'Holocaust gimmick.' The management decided that it was a good way to cool people off on a very hot day. They said they were sorry if I was offended, and I told them that there is no way to apologize to the victims of the Holocaust," said Bulka.
Museum spokesman Pewel Sawicki defended the showers to Time magazine
, pushed back against claims they exude a gas chamber aura.
"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," said Sawicki. "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."
Sawicki added that after some visitors fainted in the heat the safety of museum goers became paramount. Temperatures have hovered in the upper 90s for several weeks.
"The safety and health of visitors are our priority during the period of extreme heat. Cooling air has been really helpful to visitors in this difficult situation,” said Sawicki.
Criticism of the mist showers flourished on social media.
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