A Polish minister has backed a major new exhibit at Auschwitz as part of a 10-year restoration project being funded in part by the European Union.
Minister of Culture Małgorzata Omilanowska signed a letter of intent supporting the work, which will straddle six blocks of the Auschwitz I camp and be divided into three parts.
The first section will focus on the German perpetrators, the organisation of the camp and its conversion from a Polish army base into a place of extermination with gas chambers.
The second section will explore the Holocaust from the perspective of the Jewish victims, and the third will focus on prisoners of all nationalities.
It comes in the middle of a debate about visitors’ behaviour at the combined Nazi death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where an estimated 1.1 million were killed.
Writing in The Telegraph last month, British author Anthony Horowitz described his “shock” at what he witnessed on his visit, when he saw Spanish girls pose for a ‘selfie’ in front of the former sterilisation block, a man take photos of the starvation cell where photography was forbidden and another man swear profusely when asked not to smoke.
Many readers have since agreed that there is a problem, with one saying: “The total lack of respect shown by many, plus the overwhelming number of visitors, shows that the site has become nothing but a tourist destination, a place to be ticked off a list.”