Record year for visitors to Auschwitz museum

The gates of Auschwitz

The gates of Auschwitz

Auschwitz has experienced the highest number of visitors since the former concentration camp was opened up to the public more than 60 years ago.

Some 1.38 million people toured the museum in 2010, eclipsing the previous year’s attendance of 1.3 million.

Outside of Polish groups, the majority of visitors were British, followed by high numbers from Italy and France. Around 850,000 were students.

The museum, in Oświęcim in southern Poland, stands on the site of some of the worst atrocities of the Nazi era. More than 1.1 million people, Jewish and non-Jewish, perished in the camp between 1940 and 1945.

Auschwitz was opened to visitors in 1947, following a vote by members of the Polish parliament to establish a museum there.

The record numbers of come despite brief closures due to flooding in the region in May and the theft of the Arbeit Macht Frei entrance sign at the end of 2009.

Museum spokesperson Bartosz Bartyzel said: “The former death camp is the most frequented memorial site in the world.”

This January will mark the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by soldiers from the Red Army.

    Last updated: 3:35pm, January 13 2011