From Cracow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

Auschwitz, Poland

Explore the UNESCO-listed complex and learn about its terrible past from a knowledgeable guide.

Book

Description

The tour of the Museum, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978, comprises both parts of the former concentration camp - Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau - and a documentary film presenting the first moments after the camp was liberated.

Begin your trip with pickup at your Krakow hotel or in central Krakow, at your preferred departure time. Accompanied by your guide, travel to the town of Oswiecim while a documentary on WWII and the Nazi Holocaust is shown on board. After roughly 1.5 hours, arrive at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enter the gates bearing the inscription Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) and then head inside to learn about how the complex quickly turned from a detention camp to a center for mass murder. Your guide will discuss the camp's history in a sensitive manner as you visit the crematoriums and gas chambers, as well as the watchtowers and fences at Birkenau where the Nazi officers stood guard. After examining the exhibitions inside the old prison blocks, pay your respects at the camp's somber memorial. 

The Auschwitz camp has become a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. It was established by the Nazis in 1940 in the suburbs of the city of Auschwitz, which was integrated into the Third Reich. The direct reason for the establishment of the camp was the growing number of mass arrests of Poles and overcrowding of the existing prisons. Initially, it was supposed to be another concentration camp created by the Nazis from the beginning of the 1930s. That was the function of Auschwitz for the entire period of its existence, even when, from 1942, it became one of the centres for"Endlösung der Judenfrage" ("the final solution of the Jewish issue") at the same time - the Nazi plan to murder the Jews living in the territories occupied by the Third Reich.

The Auschwitz camp, until the end of its existence, was first and foremost a place of extermination. Even if from 1943 mortality was reduced in other camps to conserve manpower, in Auschwitz, to which continually new shipments were coming - mostly of Jews - to supply the camp labour, human life never meant too much.

Historians estimate that in less than five years of the camp's existence 1-1.5 million people were killed in Auschwitz, most of them - approximately 1-1.35 million - were Jews. The second most numerous group were Poles (approx. 70,000-75,000), the third - Gypsies (approx. 20,000). Approximately 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war and 10,000-15,000 prisoners of other nationalities (including Czechs, Belarusians, Yugoslavs, French, Germans and Austrians) were also killed in the camp. Due to the role that Auschwitz played in the implementation of the Nazi extermination plans, it has become a world-famous symbol of the Nazi genocide, in particular the destruction of the Jews. In the Auschwitz I camp the Nazis established the first camp for men and women; it was the place where the first experiments of killing using Zyklon B took place, the first mass transports of Jews were being murdered, the first criminal experiments on prisoners were conducted, and the majority of executions by shooting were performed. It was there, in block 11, where the central detention camp for prisoners from all parts of the camp was housed, as well as the main camp commandant office and most other SS offices. The camp authorities supervised further expansion of the camp from there. In the Birkenau camp the Nazis built most devices of mass destruction, with which about 1 million Jews were murdered. At the same time, Birkenau was the largest concentration camp (nearly 300 primitive, mostly wooden barracks), where in 1944 there were over 100,000 prisoners: Jews, Poles, Romani, and others. Today, on the area of approx. 200 hectares you can see preserved ruins of the gas chambers and places filled with human ashes, primitive barracks for prisoners and miles of the camp fence and roads.

Price includes

  • tour guide assistance
  • documentary film
  • guided tour around Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau
  • headset to hear the guide clearly
  • transportation

Requirements

  • not recommended for child aged 14 and under
  • children must be accompanied by an adult
  • not wheelchair accessible
  • most of the tour takes place outside, so please be prepared for the different weather conditions.
  • the maximum size of backpacks or handbags brought into the Museum cannot exceed dimensions 30x20x10 cm. Larger bags must be left in the bus
  • taking photos in the buildings with the use of flash is forbidden. You are allowed to take photos only in selected parts of the Museum
  • eating and smoking, as well as acting in a loud manner are forbidden at the Museum
  • there is a 15-minute break during the tour, we suggest taking a sandwich with you

Meeting point

  • 7 Powisle Street, Cracow; the bus park at 7 Powisle Street, situated on the opposite side of the Sheraton Grand Krakow Hotel.
  • Hotel pickup

Additional directions

Only the centrally located Cracow hotels.

ID: 14374; Cracow Tours