Tours in English EVERY DAY! Auschwitz-Birkenau: 08.30 am, the Wieliczka Salt Mine: 3:30 pm.

FACTS ABOUT AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

Auschwitz-Birkenau is a place which became a symbol of terror, mass murder and the Holocaust.

 

In the concentration camp founded by German fascists, more than a million people of different nationalities were murdered in the years 1940-1945. From the year 1942, the plan for the complete extermination of Jews was implemented. Today, Auschwitz-Birkenau is a memorial museum which highlights the Nazis’ ruthlessness.

 

The State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau was created in 1947. It also opened up the area to the public. At the beginning, mainly people from Poland visited the museum and the guides spoke Polish. Each year, the number of visitors continues to increase – in 2017 Auschwitz-Birkenau was visited by more than 8 million visitors from around the world. Visitors can have guided tours in Polish, English, Swedish, Norwegian and several other languages ​​too – even Japanese! 

 

The walk around the museum normally starts by going through the gate with the inscription Arbeit macht frei – work sets you free. Through this entrance, prisoners also entered the camp during World War II but most of them never returned.

 

Nowadays, parts of the camp that the Nazis did not demolish are visited in an effort to destroy all the evidence of the Holocaust before the end of the war. For example, in Auschwitz and Birkenau you can see the wooden and brick barracks in which the prisoners lived, the gas chamber and crematorium 1, the remains of the gas chambers and crematoriums 2,3,4 and 5, the ‘Death Wall’ and the train platform. Almost all parts of the former concentration camp have been preserved in their original state. An exception is the so-called ‘Death Wall’ in the yard between blocks 10 and 11, which was reconstructed and serves as a memorial to all that were murdered there. In front of the camp’s kitchen, there is a replica of a large galleon where 12 Polish prisoners were hanged by the SS on 19 July 1943.

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