Monday, August 31, 2015

do we take offense too often because we don't know or care about the facts?

I'm rather confused about the reaction to ‪#‎Auschwitz‬ museum staff installing water sprinklers near the ticket line to keep guests cool while waiting to enter. I do understand that this could be made to appear similar to "showers" that the Nazis sent Jews into -- the gas chambers will never, ever be forgotten. But here are some things:
1) These sprinkler systems are meant to keep people from passing out in line due to extreme heat, which is mentioned in articles about the issues as happening several times this summer. The sprinklers are nowhere near the gas chambers at the memorial site. They're not even inside the complex -- they're located before guests can get in. With record crowds this summer (over 1 million people this year so far) from all over the world, the wait to get inside has been longer than ever. It makes sense that the staff would want to keep their visitors safe from the heat.
2) The "showers" look nothing like shower heads. They are literally hoses with holes in them strung across poles to mist over visitors who get too warm. They are much like the misters used at Freedom Festival events here in Provo around the 4th of July. In no way, shape, or form are they similar to the systems used inside the gas chambers.
3) Those who are familiar with Holocaust history know that the "showers" Jews were made to enter had false shower heads installed. No gas ever came from these. Instead, pellets of Zyklon B were dropped through small, re-sealable holes in the roof or walls of the chambers. The gas wasn't sprayed -- you cannot spray a gas like you can spray water. Furthermore, the Auschwitz Museum and Memorial staff are trying to protect their visitors, not hurt them. It's a completely opposite situation, seemingly small in comparison to the outcry against the sprinklers.
I recognize that for some this seems horrific and like a major oversight on the part of the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum staff. However, it seems clear that their main objective is to protect their visitors. Guests come from all over the world, and from all types of environments -- many cannot stand temperatures of 102 degrees Fahrenheit for very long. I certainly can't.
In addition, Poland's extreme temperatures (record highs not seen in decades) are causing power curbs, meaning that public and private sector establishments (including homes) are having their power cut. How can you do something with fans when there is no power or limited power, and the air blowing around is still over 100 degrees? I'm personally trying to brainstorm other cost-effective ways to keep guests cool as they wait to enter the complex, and I'm coming up dry.
What do you think about this? Honestly, I feel that people in our global society choose to be offended about things that were completely innocent. Perhaps it's because I'm not an Israeli, nor am I a descendant of Jews who survived the Holocaust. I know and recognize that horror -- I've studied it so much that I almost wish I hadn't delved as deeply as I did. But this truly seems like an overreaction.
Isn't it important to make sure people can visit places like this, and visit safely, so that these histories and stories and lives aren't forgotten? To shut such a place down because of the heat would be a tragedy. How many wouldn't get a chance to go again?
Thoughts? Rebuttals? Comments? If you are Jewish or have Jewish ancestry, what is your take on this?

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