OSWIECIM , Poland, Sept. 1 (UPI) — Cooling “misting stations” placed outside the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland have been compared to the gas showers used to kill inmates in World War II.
A heat wave across Europe, featuring temperatures up to 100 degrees, prompted officials to provide overhead mist sprinklers to those standing in line to enter the Auschwitz Memorial on the grounds of the former concentration camp. To some, the mist from overhead tubes was reminiscent of the delivery of poison gas in exterminating concentration camp victims.
“As a Jew who has lost so many relatives in the Holocaust, they looked like the showers that the Jews were forced to take before entering the gas chambers,” Meir Bulka, 48, a visitor from Israel, told the Jerusalem Post. “All the (visiting) Israelis felt this was very distasteful. The management decided that it was a good way to cool people off on a very hot day. They said they were sorry if I was offended, and I told them that there is no way to apologize to the victims of the Holocaust.”
The temporary cooling stations were installed at the entrance to the memorial.
Some Jewish leaders said they thought the incident was an overreaction by the visitors. The administration wanted to ensure the safety of their visitors,” Rabbi Michael Schudrich told the Jerusalem Post. “In retrospect, a more sensitive construction and location could have been found. However, I am moved by the concern for the welfare of visitors shown by the administration.”