The to 1947. In 1947, the Polish government took

                 The Nazis operated the
Auschwitz camp beginning in 1940 to 1947. In 1947, the Polish government took
over Auschwitz, which is located 40 miles west of Krakow, as a memorial and
museum. It is a Unesco World Heritage site and reserved for places of beauty
and culture. In May 2014, the administrators of the Auschwitz museum have been
hit by a wave of theft and vandalism at the famous Nazi Germany’s most
notorious concentration camp. Tourists have scratched messages onto bunks where
prisoners once slept and struggled to survived. People were continuing to
remove “souvenirs” from the camp that claimed the lives of more than a million
of people during the Second World War.

                  People have scratched their
name with the tag “was here” onto furniture and walls, while one wrote “I had a
smoke here”. Other tourists have stolen bits of barbed wire and spikes from
railway line that transported people to the concentration camp. The director of
the Auschwitz museum was interviewed and said it wasn’t always young people who
took things. He said even teachers and foreign tourists also took things. Board
members of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance were shocked. They didn’t
view these crimes as vandalism. They thought it was more barbarism more than
anything. The museum’s operators say the size of the camp makes it difficult to
stop crimes. The museum covers about 50 acres and contains 155 buildings. The
camp includes 46 historical buildings, two-story red brick barracks, a kitchen,
a crematorium, and several brick and concrete administration buildings.
Birkenau, a satellite camp about two miles away has more than 400 acres and has
30 low-slung brick barracks and 20 wooden structures, railroad tracks and the
remains of four gas chambers and crematoria. The staff monitors all 150
buildings and more than 300 ruins at the two sites.  Even with the best efforts of staff it is
impossible to monitor the entire camp and eradicate all theft and vandalism.

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                       Dozens of barracks have
cracked walls and sinking foundations that have been closed for safety reasons.
Water from leaking roofs has damaged wood bunks where prisoners once slept. Even
with these damages occurring, public interest in the camp has never been
higher. Visits began to double from 2001 to 2009. Since Poland joined the
European Union in 2004, Krakow has become a popular destination for foreign
tourists, and Auschwitz is a must stop on many itineraries. There are
educational programs who also visit the camp from Israel, Britain, and other
countries. On peak days, as many as 30,000 visitors file through the camps
buildings. The polish government in 2009 asked European nations, the United
States and Israel to contribute to a fund to fix damages so they could keep the
museum running. According to the museum’s director, Auschwitz is a place of
memory, but it’s not just about history, it’s also about the future. The
museum’s directors were all former prisoners. The last survivors will soon die,
and with them the living links to what happened there. Preserving the site
becomes increasingly important, Cywinski believes: younger generations raised
on TV and movie special effects need to see and touch the real thing.

                       Ever since the Auschwitz
memorial and museum first opened to the public, workers have repaired and
rebuilt the place. The barbed wire that rings the camp has to be continuously
replaced as it rusts. In the 1950s, construction crews repaired the crumbling
gas chamber at the main Auschwitz camp removed one of the original walls. They
later had to deal with crime and vandalism. The Arbeit Macht Frei sign was
stolen by thieves, who intended to sell it to a collector. Although the sign
was recovered, it was cut into three pieces and had to be repaired. For some
visitors, the former concentration camp is a box to check off on a tourist
“to-do” list. But many people appear genuinely moved and inspired. Unfortunately,
Auschwitz will grow less authentic with the passage of time. They have no
choice but to reconstruct the former camp because of damages and the misuse
from tourists. The International Auschwitz Council, museum officials and survivors
from around the world dedicated to the conservation of Auschwitz has decided
that the mounds of hair will be allowed to decay naturally because they are
human remains. Poland’s culture ministry opposed the installation of CCTV
systems given the specific environment of the camp. They didn’t think it would
have been a good look with cameras in every corner. They didn’t know how they
could maintain the authenticity of the camp with security cameras. The only
long-term solution was education, but others thought it was necessary to have
harsher legal punishments for anybody caught vandalizing or stealing from the
camp.

                      Former prisoners figured
if people really knew what the camp was like, they would think twice about
vandalism and stealing. If they would’ve been there and feared they would be
killed the next by the chimney, then they wouldn’t be so eager to scratch their
names onto a bunk. After doing some more research, I discovered that there has
been a couple of people who were detained for vandalism. I agree with the
others who thought it was necessary to have harsher legal punishments for
anybody caught vandalizing or stealing from the camp. If someone gets off the
hook easily, then that makes the next person think it would be okay for them to
carve their name into things around the camp. People who go to the museum to
take things should be ashamed of themselves. It is nothing but straight
disrespect to the people who have died in the camp and also the survivors who
lived to tell their stories. Auschwitz museum has been opened for many years to
the public and didn’t start having theft until the museum became a popular site
for tourists. Tourists should already know that it’s a monument to the all
people who had to suffer. Harsher punishment needs to really be reconsidered
because people aren’t going to learn unless they learn the hard way. I think
the security cameras were a brilliant idea. although it may take away from the
authenticity of the camp, it would help decrease the amount of vandalism and
stealing that occurs at the camp.

                    If they continue to choose
to do nothing, tourists are not going to learn what their boundaries are.
Tourists need to be aware of the things they are allowed to touch and the
things they shouldn’t touch. I think it was a good idea to make sure tourists
know the history before they start a tour at the Auschwitz museum. This would
be a better solution for the older tourists who visit the museum because, they
are able to understand the past about the Holocaust. Although crimes aren’t
only done but younger people, they could alter the age requirement to enter the
museum. They could change the age to 21 and eliminate the teenagers who like to
carve their names into things. I also think security guards should be spread
out among the museum so people know they should only look and not touch. I
think it’s appropriate to escort a tourist out of the museum if they start to
vandalize property. They can also decrease the number of tourists they have at
the Auschwitz museum at once. With less people, it’s much easier for security
to be able to monitor and make sure everyone is appropriately behaving. They
could also put a big sign at the front of the museum that says, “do not touch
anything in the museum”. If tourists ignore the sign then, they will have to
deal with the consequences if they break the rules. Applying small signs in
some of the buildings could help the tourists remember they shouldn’t be
touching.

                      If they don’t take action
and make major changes, the Auschwitz museum could really become damaged and
permanently closed. The people who suffered and the survivors would lose their
monument. The Auschwitz museum isn’t like any other Holocaust monument and
memorial. At the Auschwitz camp, they spent their last moments, took their last
steps and said their last prayers. It is the symbol of the Holocaust.

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