The Shmooze

Flooding Auschwitz

By Josh Tapper

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Just a few days after the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial complex was closed in an effort to save its Holocaust archives from heavy flash flooding in southern Poland, the site has been partially reopened, according to the Associated Press.

Heavy rainfall has wreaked havoc across central Europe in recent days, causing rivers to burst, flooding many provincial towns. The floods have been especially deadly in Poland, killing seven people as of Thursday. Auschwitz-Birkenau, which draws over a million tourists a year, sits near the Vistula River, Poland’s longest, as well as another, the Sola. The site, home to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and a wealth of Holocaust historical artifacts, was closed two days ago.

But as flood waters in the region began to recede Thursday, “half of the Birkenau section of the large complex was reopened excluding the area around the ruins of the crematoriums,” site spokesman Jaroslaw Mensfelt told the AP. The former Nazi death camp, which covers several hundred acres, sustained no lasting flood damage. Still, the well-worn site is already in disrepair because of climate and tourist traffic.


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