WARSAW (AFP).- The number of visitors to the World War II Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp soared to a record 1.43 million in 2012, the museum at the site in southern Poland said Friday.
"This is a record in the 65-year history of this museum. We've received over a million visitors each year over the last six years," it said in a statement published on its website.
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.
"Over the last decade, Auschwitz has become a central site of Shoah remembrance for all of Europe, reflecting the importance of the history of the Holocaust," museum director Piotr Cywinski said.
"It's educational dimension underscores the challenges which our societies still face," he added.
Last year over half a million Poles visited the site which has become symbolic of the Holocaust, followed by 150,000 British citizens, 100,000 Americans, 85,000 Italians and 75,000 Germans, the statement said.
Some 68,000 visitors came from Israel, 62,000 from France, 54,000 from Spain, 48,000 from the Czech Republic and 46,000 from South Korea, among others, it added, also noting its website at www.auschwitz.org received 1.5 million hits in 2012.
The vast majority of visitors were young people ranging from school children to university students.
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse