An installation of sprinklers next to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland has caused outrage from museum visitors due to the unmistakable connotations of such a choice.
The sprinklers, intended to cool down visitors experiencing Poland’s extremely hot summer, may have been well-intentioned but raised some eyebrows.
Rabbi Rafi Ostroff wrote on Facebook that, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel comfortable going into a shower at the entrance to an extermination camp.
"Am I exaggerating? Or am I again imagining the lack of sensitivity to the Jewish story by the heads of the museum," he continued.
The museum put out statement that they had not sanctioned the sprinklers and that they were “installed in a nearby car park run by the local municipality,” according to The Independent.
The similarity of the sprinklers to Nazi gas chambers was also noted last summer, when they were installed at the entrance of the memorial within the museum. The museum defended the choice, claiming, “The mist sprinkles do not look like showers and the fake showers installed by Germans inside some of the gas chambers.”
"Zyklon B was dropped inside the gas chambers in a completely different way—through holes in the ceiling or airtight drops in walls," the statement added.
The controversy has risen again this year, although the museum itself did not authorize the decision. Considering the extremely sensitive nature of the subject, it would be prudent for the museum to heed the words of its visitors and push to remove the sprinklers as soon as possible.
Banner Image Credit: Facebook, Rafi Ostroff