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Memorial and museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, a former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, a site synonymous with the gravest atrocities of the 20th century. This article seeks to offer a comprehensive understanding of Auschwitz, shedding light on its historical significance and the enduring impact it holds on global remembrance. Visiting Auschwitz is a solemn pilgrimage that fosters remembrance and bears witness to the profound lessons of humanity's darkest chapter. It serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of hatred, intolerance, and the collective responsibility to ensure such atrocities are never repeated.

Auschwitz

AUSCHWITZ - INERASABLE SCARS OF HISTORY

All over the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. It was established by Germans in 1940, in the suburbs of Oswiecim, a Polish city that was annexed to the Third Reich by the Nazis. Its name was changed to Auschwitz, which also became the name of Konzentrationslager Auschwitz. The direct reason for the establishment of the camp was the fact that mass arrests of Poles were increasing beyond the capacity of existing "local" prisons. The first transport of Poles reached KL Auschwitz from Tarnów prison on June 14, 1940. Initially, Auschwitz was to be one more concentration camp of the type that the Nazis had been setting up since the early 1930s. It functioned in this role throughout its existence, even when, beginning in 1942, it also became the largest of the extermination centers where the "Endlösung der Judenfrage" (the final solution to the Jewish question - the Nazi plan to murder European Jews) was carried out. Auschwitz-Birkenau is an expansive site encompassing two main areas: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. While there were subcamps surrounding these, the current museum comprises only these two sites. The Germans isolated all the camps and sub-camps from the outside world and surrounded them with barbed wire fencing. All contact with the outside world was forbidden.

Auschwitz Concentration Camp was set up for Poles, and Poles were the first political prisoners there. The number of prisoners grew steadily as a result of the constant arrival of new transports. In 1940, nearly 8 thousand people were registered in the camp. Almost all of them were Poles. There were also small numbers of Jews and Germans in the camp. At that time, the latter usually held supervisory functions as capos and block supervisors. In 1941, over 26 thousand people were registered in Auschwitz (about 15 thousand Poles, 10 thousand Soviet POWs, and more than 1 thousand Jews). As a result of the inclusion of Auschwitz in the process of the mass extermination of the Jews, the number of deportees began to soar. About 197 thousand Jews were deported there in 1942, about 270 thousand the following year, and over 600 thousand in 1944, for a total of almost 1.1 million. Among them, about 200 thousand people were selected as capable of labor and registered as prisoners in the camp. In this same period, from 1942 to 1944, about 160 thousand Poles, Roma, Belorussians, Ukrainians, French, and others were registered as prisoners and given numbers. There were also more than 10 thousand people, mostly Poles, Soviet POWs, and Roma, not entered into the camp records or given numbers. The mass deportation of Jews to Auschwitz that began in 1942 radically changed the makeup of the prisoner population. After three months of deportation, in mid-1942, Jews already made up the most numerous ethnic group, and their share of the population rose steadily from about 46% in June 1942 to about 68% at the peak of the camp’s population, in August 1944. A total of about 400 thousand prisoners were registered: 195 thousand non-Jews and 205 thousand Jews.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION 

  • Official website: https://www.auschwitz.org/en/

  • The Museum is open all year long, seven days a week, except January 1, December 25, and Easter Sunday. You can check the opening hours on the official website of the museum.

  • Admission to the grounds of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial is free of charge. The entry cards should be reserved in advance on the official website. For better understanding the history of Auschwitz we suggest a visit with a guide-educator.

  • Auschwitz is a deeply somber and emotionally impactful site that may leave lasting images etched in memory. Visitors are advised to emotionally prepare themselves before venturing into this historically significant place. Visits to the Museum by children under the age of 14 are not recommended.

  • Tours: Various tour options are available to accommodate different interests and time constraints. Consider booking your guided tour today through Get Your Guide

  • Location: Auschwitz-Birkenau is located near the town of Oświęcim in southern Poland, approximately 70 kilometers west of Krakow, on provincial road No. 933. The tour starts at the former Auschwitz I camp. The Visitor Services Center is located at Więźniów Oświęcimia 55 Street. Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau are situated 3,5 km from each other. More information can be found on the official website of the museum.

  • Trains: There are multiple train connections per day. However, traveling by train to Oświęcim is not the most convenient, as the camp is located about 2 km from the train station. Trains depart from the main Krakow Główny train station, accessible through the Galeria Krakowska shopping mall located next to the Old Town. Electronic timetables around the station clearly indicate trains and platforms. Alight at the primary Oświęcim train station. The journey lasts approx. 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes. Departures are scheduled twice per hour - timetable

  • Buses: Buses from Krakow to Auschwitz-Birkenau depart from the upper level of the Krakow Dworzec MDA bus station on Bosacka street, located behind the main Krakow Główny train station. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Krakow Dworzec MDA ticket booths. Ensure that your chosen bus route includes a stop at Muzeum Auschwitz. The Muzeum Auschwitz stop is situated in the main car park of Auschwitz-Birkenau, serving as both the boarding and alighting point for the journey. The journey lasts approx. 1 hour 25 minutes and costs approx. 19 PLN (4.40 EUR).

  • Rent a Car:  For added independence and flexibility, renting a car is also a viable option, allowing you to arrive in Oświęcim at your convenience. If you need to rent a car, save up to 70% with the Car Rental company.

GUIDED TOUR

Embark on a solemn yet crucial visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial, a former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp that stands as a poignant witness to the atrocities of World War II. The somber atmosphere serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of remembrance and the collective responsibility to ensure such horrors are never repeated.

 

For a deeper understanding of the site and its historical significance, it is highly recommended to secure a guided tour with a professional guide. Enhance your experience by gaining insights into the stories, facts, and context surrounding Auschwitz, allowing you to engage more profoundly with this significant chapter in human history.

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