WARSAW, Poland -- The memorial site of Auschwitz-Birkenau says it saw more than 1.4 million visitors in 2011, a record high for the former death camp.
The figure released Friday underlines how the death and labor complex that Nazi Germany built in occupied southern Poland during World War II has become one of Europe's most visited Holocaust remembrance sites.
While the large number of visitors is seen as important for Holocaust education, mass tourism there is also adding strain to the barracks and other structures. Many are already in a state of severe dilapidation due to the passage of time, and the officials overseeing the site are struggling to preserve what they can.
The museum and memorial site said most of the visitors last year were from Poland, but other nations represented in large numbers are Britain, Italy, Israel, Germany, France and the United States.