The National Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Więźniów Oświęcimia St 20. tel. +48 33 844 81 02, firstname.lastname@example.org. Opening hours (7 days a week): 08.00-17.00.
The entrance to the museum with no guide is free. Guided tours in foreign languages (English tour starts usually at 11 a.m., but times can be arranged according to demand). Standard tour (up to 3,5 h) - 300 zł per group of 11-30 people. Study tour (up to 6 h) - 480 zł per group of 11-30 people. Museum short movie (The first hours after the Liberation) - 3,50 zł per person.
Much has been written about this place and many have tried to explain its existence. It is for each visitor to try and understand why this happened. Do not be deterred. It is practically a duty to visit Auschwitz. But be prepared. The Auschwitz concentration camp is a symbol of horror, a memorial to Man's inhumanity to Man, of organised slaughter on a scale never conceived of before and of the Holocaust, the planned and systematic, destruction of a race of people.
The camp was constructed by the German Nazis in 1940 near the town of Oświęcim in south eastern Poland. At the beginning only Polish citizens were sent there to be exterminated in the camp. Then Russian P.O.W's, gypsies and other victims of the war were transported there. From 1942 Auschwitz became the most important camp for the mass extermination of European Jews. This was the Nazis goal, to wipe out all the Jews in the world.
The number of people murdered between 1940 -1945 is estimated at about 1,1 - 1,5 million. Most of them were gassed then their bodies burnt. At the end of 1944, just before the war finished, the Germans began to destroy evidence of the camp. Documents were burnt, and some buildings were demolished. From 17th to the 21st January 1945 nearly 56,000 prisoners were forced to leave the camp. Many of them died during 'The march of Death' to Germany to other camps. Those that were left in the camp were finally liberated by the Russian Army on 27th January 1945.
On 2nd of July 1947 the Polish Seym decided to establish the National Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau at the camp: Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz 2 Birkenau.Today all that remains of the horrifying past are: the ruins of gas chambers, kilometres of barbed wire, wooded barracks and the train platform where those who were to be killed were unloaded and selected. There are also many personal belongings of those who were murdered on view: suitcases, shoes, glasses as well as documents and horrifying photos.
How to get there?
BY TRAIN - Main Station - a train at least once an hour to Oświęcim. It takes about 1,5 hours to get there.
BY CAR - leave Kraków direction Katowice via toll highway A4 (fee 9 zł). Take the exit to Oświęcim and then follow signs that take you to the city (route 933). Total distance approx. 80 km.
BY BUS - check the private bus schedules that leave for Oświęcim from the Main Station and Bosacka St.
Last update 2013