Record number of visitors to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2010

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The number of visitors to the WWII Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp soared to a record 1.38 million in 2010 up from 1.3 million in 2009, the museum at the site in southern Poland said Wednesday.

"This is a record in the 60-year history of this memorial site, the most visited of its kind in the world and the most visited museum in Poland," the museum said in a statement.

Last year over half a million Poles visited the site which has become symbolic of the Holocaust, followed by 84,000 British citizens, 74,000 Italians, 68,000 Germans and 63,000 French nationals, the statement said.

Some 59,000 visitors came from Israel, 47,000 from South Korea, 45,000 from the Czech Republic, 43,000 from Slovakia and 43,000 from Norway. The vast majority of visitors (850,000) were young people ranging from school children to university students.

Over one million people have been served by the museum's 260 guides who speak eighteen languages.

Some 1.1 million people, including a million Jews from across Europe were killed by Nazi Germany in Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940 and 1945.

The other victims were mostly non-Jewish Poles, gypsies and Soviet prisoners.

© 2011 AFP

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