Over 2 million visitors at the Auschwitz Memorial in 2016
Two million fifty-three thousand people from all over the world visited the site of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz and Auschwitz II-Birkenau, which are both protected by the Museum, in 2016. This is a record number in the history of the Memorial which this year will mark the 70th anniversary of its creation.
The top ten countries from which our visitors come are: Poland (424,000), the United Kingdom (271,000), the United States (215,000), Italy (146,000), Spain (115,000), Israel (97,000), Germany (92,000), France (82,000), Czechia (60,000) and Sweden (41,000).
In 2016, the number of visitors from several countries increased significantly in comparison with the previous year: Portugal (115 per cent), Italy (91 per cent), Spain (68 per cent), Israel (59 per cent) and France (44 per cent).
A unique event last year was World Youth Day. Over 155,000 people visited the Memorial in the period of 12 days during which the site was accessible only for WYD pilgrims. The highest attendance during World Youth Day was recorded on 26 July, when the Memorial was visited by nearly 21,000 pilgrims. Never before have so many people visited the former camp premises in one day. The highest monthly attendance last year was registered in August – 271,225 visitors.
‘In today's world - torn by conflicts, increased feeling of insecurity and strengthening of populist tones in public discourse - it is necessary to re-listen to the darkest warnings from the past,' said Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, director of the Museum and Memorial. 'Not-so-distant past of which the painful effects are still felt by witnesses living among us, their families and the next generations. In an era of such rapid changes in culture and civilization, we must again recognize the limits beyond which the madness of organized hatred and blindness may again escape out of any control,’ he added.
In this regard the visit at the authentic former camp site is a unique educational experience. 73 per cent of the visitors (almost 1.5 million visitors) visited the Memorial with one of 286 Museum educators-guides, who explain the history of Auschwitz in almost 20 languages.
'Such a large number of languages for guided tours is unique on a global scale. It is so important as visiting with an educator gives you the full possibility of discovering the authentic space of the former camp and the fate of the victims of Auschwitz,’ said Andrzej Kacorzyk, the director of the International Center for Education for Auschwitz and the Holocaust.
The admission of such a huge number of visitors was possible thanks to the electronic booking system at visit.auschwitz.org. Thanks to the system, it is possible to create appropriate and safe conditions for visitors to explore the historical as well as conservation-protected space of the former camp.
In addition to the variety of tours that were offered with educator-guides, the museum offered in-depth six-hour Study Tours in the German language for individual visitors. In 2016, except over 61 thousand organized groups, the guides conducted tours for 310,736 people, who visited the Memorial individually.
‘The analysis of the reservation system shows that we need to continue our efforts to make the site more and more available. The visit to the Auschwitz Memorial right now can be booked a year in advance. We also made a decision that, beginning in March, the site of the former camp will be open to visitors from 7.30 a.m.,’ said Andrzej Kacorzyk.
Besides guiding huge numbers of visitors at the authentic Memorial, an important part of the educational activities of the Museum are specialised educational projects. Nearly 15,000 people from all around the world participated in seminars, conferences or other activities of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust in 2016. The Centre also coordinated the activities of over 300 volunteers, trainees and interns from all over the world who by assisting in the daily work of the Museum, get to know more about the Memorial and its history.
In 2016, several hundred journalists from around the world reported on events at the Memorial. The Educational Center also organised the first seminar dedicated to this particular professional group, i.e. foreign media correspondents in Poland. 150 movie crews produced documentaries.
Social media portals are also an important part of direct messaging, thanks to which historical information, photographs, and descriptions of the most important events at the Memorial, e.g. an anniversary celebration, appear in the virtual space every day. Nearly 230,000 people use the Museum’s profile on Facebook; more than 30,000 follow the Museum’s account on Twitter, and 22,0000 on Instagram. In 2016, over 43 million visits to the www.auschwitz.org website were recorded.