Record 2,152,000 people visited Auschwitz in 2018

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Record 2,152,000 people visited Auschwitz in 2018

Brits were the second biggest group to go to the site while the number of Israelis decreased by 21 percent from 2017.

Students on the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET)/UJS Lessons from Auschwitz Universities Project, visiting Auschwitz. Photo credit: Yakir Zur
Students on the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET)/UJS Lessons from Auschwitz Universities Project, visiting Auschwitz. Photo credit: Yakir Zur

A record number of people visited the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in 2018, the Auschwitz Memorial said.

British people continued to be the second largest group to come to the memorial located in Poland, making up more than an eighth of the 2,152,000 international visitors last year.

More than a million men, women and children died in the extermination camp in which was located occupied Poland during the Second World War.

Some 281,000 people from the UK walked through its gates in 2018 to learn about its history.

The number of Israelis who last year visited decreased by 21 percent from 2017.

Last year, some 65,000 Israelis visited the Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, that institution said Friday, compared to 83,000 in 2017.

The vast majority – 80% – of those who visited last year were taken around the site by one of the museum’s 320-plus official guides, who conduct tours in 20 languages, English being the most popular.

Dr Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz Museum, said: “Such a high percentage of those who choose to learn the history of Auschwitz in guided groups is of great significance.

“It is the most valuable educational form, which does not only provide more in-depth knowledge and understanding but also allows visitors to engage in a dialogue and ask questions about selected aspects of this tragic history.

“No automatism, no printed form or electronic equipment can substitute this human interaction during the visit that is difficult, both in terms of the amount of factual information and emotions.”

Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock said it had taken more than 37,500 students and teachers to the memorial site over the past 20 years through its Lessons from Auschwitz Project.

She said: “The importance of seeing this infamous site cannot be understated; hearing is not like seeing.

“As fewer eyewitnesses are able to tell their stories, it is more important than ever to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau.

“The trust is proud that this country takes this seriously, as the second highest nationality visiting, and that a proportion of this number is as a result of our Lessons from Auschwitz.

“Together we can ensure that the memory of the Holocaust lives on and the lessons of hatred and racism are learnt.”

In 2018, senior leaders and student union sabbatical officers from UK universities visited the camp on a trip co-organised by the Union of Jewish Students and HET.

Among those in attendance was the president of the National Union of Students, Shakira Martin. Read her reflections upon visiting Auschwitz here:

Shakira Martin, NUS president, with the infamous Auchwitz death gate in the background
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