What will you see on Auschwitz tours?

As a worker of Auschwitz State Museum in Oświęcim, I would like to write something about Auschwitz tour. What will you see there and when is the best time to go there. There are many questions and issues to discuss, as the place is quite controversial. However, one thing is sure – Auschwitz tours is something everyone should experience.

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What will you see on Auschwitz tours?

If you decide to go on this trip, it’s better to be prepared. If you chose one of the regular Auschwitz tours, you will see two main parts of former Nazi concentration camp. It was also the biggest concentration camp in occupied Poland.

  1. Auschwitz I – it was maternal camp and the first part of the whole complex. In fact, the original purpose of creating the camp was only to hold political prisoners. However, soon it has become concentration and extermination camp. Nowadays, you’ll see numerous administration blocks, where Nazis officers were working. There are also blocks where prisoners were punished. Germans created very brutal and inhuman penalties for the inmates. One of them was making them to die of hunger in extremely tiny cell. There is also the Death Wall, where people were being collectively shot. One of the most shocking exhibitions you’ll see during Auschwitz tours are piles of glasses, shoes and hairs of prisoners. At the entrance to the camp, you’ll see infamous inscription: “Arbeit macht frei”.
  2. Auschwitz II- Birkenau – second part of the camp, that is much more extensive. It’s the place with numerous prisoners barracks. People were living there in totally inhuman conditions. No water or heating, diseases, rats and unbelievably little space to sleep. Adding an extreme hunger to all of this, it’s hard to imagine how inmates felt. Still, they had to do difficult work including building roads or new barracks. You’ll also see ruins of gas chambers and crematoriums. Those were the objects used for mass exterminations. Prisoners were brutally gassed with Zyklon B so their death was painful and humiliating.
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When should you go on Auschwitz tours?

This is not a question about the best time of the year for Auschwitz tours. It doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer, Museum is working throughout the whole year. The question is: when will you be fully prepared to go there. According to the official rules and regulations of the Museum it’s not recommended to visit the place for children under the age of 14. As I do have experience in Auschwitz tours, I can say that sometimes one is not ready to go there even after 30… Some people, who don’t understand the importance of the place. That’s why they make smiling selfies with gas chambers, that is total disrespect. On the other hand, there are children, even younger than 14, who can visit Auschwitz. I think it’s very individual issue and everyone should ask himself – I’m I really ready to go to such place?


Auschwitz tours individually or with a guide?

You can visit Auschwitz as an individual visitor and walk by your own. Although all exhibitions are well posted, it’s not the same as visiting the place with a guide. If you would like to complement your knowledge about the place and understand many important issues, go with a guide. Guided Auschwitz tours are getting more popular these days. Especially from Krakow, as they include comfortable vehicle and a local, professional guide.