03/04/2020 30/06/2020

Virtual Auschwitz Museum attracts 50,000 visitors in March

The views are available in Polish and English versions. Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Fifty thousand people visited Poland's Auschwitz Museum in March thanks to virtual online visits, the former Nazi German death camp's authorities announced on Twitter on Thursday.

Virtual visits are the only way to experience the national heritage site during the coronavirus pandemic as it has been closed since March 12. The museum can be visited virtually at: http://panorama.auschwitz.org/.

The service has been available for several years, with the Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau II camps visible online as well as the so-called Judenrampe - the platform where rail transports of prisoners disembarked. It was at this location that the German camp authorities selected Jews to be exterminated.

The views are available in Polish and English versions.

Pictures taken in 360-degree panoramas show the camp's authentic territory and buildings and are enhanced with historical descriptions, witness relations, documents and photographs as well as art work produced by prisoners and items associated with the site's history.

The virtual experience includes elements not available to everyday visitors, including watchtowers, block 10, in which sterlisation experiments were conducted, and the cells of the underground block 11.

The Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940, initially for the imprisonment of Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later. It became the site for the mass extermination of Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the complex. The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz, mainly Jews, but also Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.

Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945. In 1947, the camp site was declared a national memorial site.