During World War II, the Auschwitz extermination camp – a symbol of the Holocaust and Nazi crimes – was established on the grounds of Oświęcim. Today, in the same place, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum documents the unimaginable tragedy that took place behind its walls. The opportunities that the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum gives us to learn about everyday life in the concentration camp are simply indescribable. You have to be there, you have to see with your own eyes and experience the atmosphere to experience at least in a small size the tragedy that took place there.
I was really shocked when I went to Auschwitz- Birkenau. In polish the name is Oswiecim. This town became a place where Jewish Nation has been exterminated. Death Camps were build also for polish political prisoners and gypsies.
Actually everyone who was seen as enemy of Nazi doctrine was sent there. Some of the people were killed immediately, others were working there really hard until they were totally exhausted. I’ve never seen something like this in my life, it’s a place of massive executions and horrible experiments on humans. The atmosphere of the place was really overwhelming and I after Auschwitz tour I didn’t feel like doing anything. However, I don’t regret goinhg there, as it’s the place, that everyone shoul see, at leat once in their life.
What is the tour of the camp like?
I really recommend you to visit Auschwitz from Krakow. We started the tour by walking through the famous main camp gate with the inscription Arbeit macht frei – work makes free. It was through this gate that prisoners set out for days of several hours of grueling labor.
Further on you will see the camp barracks, in which today you will find thematic exhibitions. In each of them you will learn a different part of the history of the camp, but also more about the life of prisoners. You will see personal belongings left behind by prisoners: pots, dentures, shaving brushes, hair…
There are also pictures of a small percentage of prisoners, and the names of all the people who died in Auschwitz are written in a huge book.
I was most impressed by the wall where prisoners were executed, located between blocks 10 and 11 – where interrogations took place and where prisoners were tortured. You will be able to enter the gas chamber and see nail marks on its walls and imagine people in panic seeking escape from the burning, poisonous gas.
The most moving part of the tour was the exhibit of children’s drawings found on the camp grounds after liberation. It shocked me more than walking through a completely empty gas chamber….
Part two of the camp
After visiting the main camp, head to Auschwitz II-Birkenau. This is where train transports from all over Europe were brought. This is where the largest number of prisoners lived, this is where the largest crematorium complexes were built. This is a huge area to see, here you will see barracks and conditions in which prisoners lived, you will see the ruins of huge crematoria. Paradoxically, however, this place is less overwhelming for visitors than Auschwitz I, although historically it is the site of the greatest tragedies.
Guided tour is the best choice
Much depends on what type of tour interests you more and how much you already know about the subject.The guided tour to Auschwitz made a huge impression on me, I learned a lot, and much of that information I will never forget. I relived this tour for the next few days.
If you’re visiting Auschwitz for the first time and you don’t know much about its history and you know that you don’t have the patience to read the information boards – opt for a guided tour..
Everyone should visit such a place at least once in their life
Learn the facts, realize the enormity of the tragedy and what racial and other hatred of others can lead to. In this way, I hope we will be able to avoid the repetition of such a terrible history. I believe that after visiting such a place everyone will think twice before saying or writing hateful words towards a person of another nationality or religion.
Is Auschwitz-Birkenau worth visiting?
Without a doubt it is worth going to Oświęcim and visiting the museum with your own eyes. I’m of the opinion that each of us at least once should feel the sadness of the place, mentioned at the beginning of this entry, where so many terrible things happened that it’s hard to accuse people of. It is worth noting, however, that this is not a fun trip filled with laughter. I guess that everyone will experience it differently, but you should keep in mind that a few decades ago it was an area of a huge tragedy, which is worth remembering while visiting its nooks and crannies.
It happened, and therefore it can happen again! That everyone can be happy about every free day and peace. And to travel all the time! You schould take a look at my previous article about walking tour in Krakow, to know that beutiful city!