Guests at the Auschwitz museum and memorial in Poland received quite the surprise over the weekend–they were invited to take a shower.
The site recently installed spray misters to help cool guests off amid an unusually warm summer. But many visitors took umbrage, citing the camp’s notorious connection to gas chamber “showers.”
“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, a 48-year-old Israeli, told The Jerusalem Post.
Bulka spoke with the museum’s management, who told him “it was a good way for people to cool 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,” Bulka said.
The museum replied to the criticism, saying something had to be done to cool off guests.
“Among visitors there are many people who come from countries where such high temperatures as we have this summer in Poland do not occur. Something had to be done, as we have noticed cases of faints among people and other dangerous situations,” a Facebook post read.
“It is really hard for us to comment on some suggested historical references since the mist sprinkles do not look like showers and the fake showers installed by Germans inside some of the gas chambers were not used to deliver gas into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,” the post read. “Zyklon B [poison gas] was dropped inside the gas chambers in a completely different way – through holes in the ceiling or airtight drops in walls.”
Auschwitz draws in millions of guests a year.