At least seven people have been killed by a Warsaw flood, as officials closed the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site last Tuesday to protect its archives and artifacts.
Heavy rains in central Europe also caused flooding in areas of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, with rivers banks bursting and leaving low-lying homes and roads inundated.
Thousands of residents were evacuated and electricity was knocked out in most surrounding areas. Rail travel was paralyzed, making some areas unreachable.
Hungary’s Prime Minister, Gordon Bajnai declared a state of emergency in the northeastern Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen county. Those suffering financial losses were able to claim compensation.
In Krakow, an important bridge was closed as the waters of the Vistula River nearly reached it.
At Auschwitz-Birkenau, which draws about a million visitors per year, authorities carried historical documents and artifacts, including brushes and bowls which once belonged to Shoah victims, to the upper floors of old barracks, which are now used to house educational and memorial exhibits.
As waters rose in the nearby Vistula and Sola rivers, the museum was closed â€“ the first time this has happened due to a flood.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland went to the area to meet with angry residents of the village of Proszowki, near Krakow. They complained of not receiving sufficient help.