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Auschwitz - Birkenau

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Auschwitz is a place that stays long in the memory of those how visit. Auschwitz and Auschwitz II Birkenau are places that form a warning against the human aggression displayed in the acts that have taken place here. The facts speak for themselves, in 1940. Nazi Germany assumes control over the camp, which was originally used as a Polish army training camp, after the occupation of Poland it was used as a prison for Polish prisoners. Later being transformed into the predominantly Jewish extermination camp of Auschwitz Birkenau.

The number of victims in Auschwitz is estimated at 1.1 to 1.5 million people. After converting this into the length of time the camp existed it gives a frightening number of more than 1,000 victims per day, many people were often forced into hard labor for as long as their body could withstand the extreme conditions that they were exposed to, this would normally end in a cruel death. Others never even got to stay in the camp and were sent straight to the gas chambers upon arrival in Auschwitz. In the last weeks before the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi occupants in an attempt to destroy evidence of crimes and blurring of the human torture that had been committed started the systematic destruction and removal of evidence in the camps.

Despite these efforts, many of the barracks where the men, women and children were detained under inhumane conditions have been maintained along with much condemning evidence of the cruel acts that have taken place here. The area of the camps was after the war protected and converted to The State Museum of Auschwitz and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The area of Auschwitz and Auschwitz - Birkenau, which was a continuation of the first camp, covers a vast area that we cannot fully appreciate before experiencing it with our own eyes. There are kilometers of barbed wire, guard towers, countless barracks both standing and just the crumbled shells left behind after the destruction before the camp's liberation and of course, the gas chambers.


Tourists have often said that being on vacation is a time that they do not want to spend on something so depressive. However, a visit to Auschwitz can be looked upon as a time to reflect the other side of the coin, and you can fully appreciate what you have, and that we now live in a time of freedom, in a free country. Even though the events of Auschwitz seem so distant in time, it really happened recently, only a little over half a century ago. The numbers are slowly declining, but there are a few people that have seen and experienced Auschwitz for what it was and there are still many that have lost close family in the events that have taken place in these camps.

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The museum is open to visitors every day of the year, except January 1st, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (24th& 25 December).

Opening hours for the museum:

  • 8:00 - 15:00 from December to February
  • 8:00 - 16:00 in March and November
  • 8:00 - 17:00 in April and October
  • 8:00 - 18:00 in May and September
  • 8:00 - 19:00 June, July and August


Tours Starting times:

  • English: 10.30 a.m., 11.30 a.m., 1.20 p.m.
  • French: 12.20 p.m.
  • German: 12.20 p.m.
  • Italian: 12.20 p.m.
  • Spanish: 12.20 p.m.

 

Location and Other Attractions in the Area

Map of Auschwitz - Poland
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Auschwitz & Auschwitz Birkenau are located in the Polish town of Oświęcim. When traveling to Auschwitz by car you will find small brown signposts that will guide you to the Museum. If coming by public transport, then ask your driver before you enter the bus, if they will be going to the museum as many buses from Krakow do go directly to the museum.

Distances to Auschwitz & Auschwitz Birkenau from:

Krakow:68km
Zakopane:128km
Oświęcim:2km

Other Attractions in the area:

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Sucha Beskidzka is a very attractive little tourist town. One of the most famous attractions here is the Renaissance castle, now known as "The Little Wawel" it was built from 1554 to 1580.

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Zator is a small town about 20km from Oświęcim on the road number 28 towards Nowy Sącz. If you are driving to Krakow, then you will leave the road number 28 in Zator. 

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Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a very important pilgrimage site in Poland, situated about 30km south-west of Kraków center. It was created as a faithful duplicate of Jerusalem. 

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Krakow historical city center is located 70km to the east of Oświęcim and can be reached by public transport from the parking place in front of the main museum of Auschwitz.

 

 

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