Auschwitz Museum Accused of Insensitivity

Management of the Auschwitz museum in Poland say they were just trying to cool off visitors from the heat, but people took offense to the sprinkler system they say reminded them of gas chambers used during the Holocaust. A visitor from Israel said, "As soon as I got off the bus I walked into the shower contraption. I was in shock. It was a punch to the gut."


A spokesperson for the museum told TIME, "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. 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."

He also said, "The safety and health of visitors are our priority during the period of extreme heat. Cooling air have been really helpful to visitors in this difficult situation."

Image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of the situation? Should the museum have had the foresight to avoid this controversy? Should the management handle the situation differently now? Or are people just being overly sensitive?
  • Can you think of a statement that would address visitors' concerns, yet explain management's perspective in a more balanced way?