A record number of people—1,534,000—visited the grounds of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau last year. The Auschwitz museum said yesterday on its website that most visitors came from within Poland, with tourists from Britain, the US (specifically, 92,000), Italy, and Germany rounding out the top five. The website didn't say what the previous record was. "Without the reference to the history of this place, it would be hard for new generations to understand our reality and challenges of the contemporary world," says the memorial's director in a release. Some 70% of visitors are young people.
Between 1940 and 1945, about 1.1 million people—mainly Jews but also Poles, Roma (also known as Gypsies), and other nationals—were killed in gas chambers or died from forced labor, hunger, and disease in the camp operated by Nazi Germans. On Jan. 27, ceremonies attended by survivors will mark the 70th anniversary of its liberation by the Soviet army. (In other Holocaust-related news, after seven years of searching, archaeologists digging in Poland recently uncovered Sobibor's gas chambers.)