Visiting Auschwitz, You will probably find the tour as a difficult, extremely emotionally experience which will surely impress a strong imprint on your reflection about man and his nature. How to prepare for a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and what you can see at the Memorial? We will try to outline these issues briefly. We also encourage you to read our entry presenting the historical context of the creation of concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
We have to warn you that even knowing exactly what to expect, you can experience a profound shock in contact with the remains of the concentration camp – visiting Auschwitz is not recommended for people under 14 years of age.
At the beginning we would like to draw your attention at some practical aspects. You probably do not need to be reminded in case of your costume appropriate to this place. Because of the security reasons is not allowed to bring bags larger than A4 or eat meals at the site of the camp (please read the detailed rules on the Museum website).
Visiting Auschwitz – what can you expect?
Sightseeing usually starts with buildings of so-called Auschwitz I, which is the oldest part of the camp located in the barracks built here before the war. The infamous gate with the inscription Arbeit Macht Frei welcomes us at the beginning of our tour. Then, in the Block No. 4 is an exhibition that introduces us not only in the Nazi camps system, but especially in details of an ideology that let Germans murder over 6 million of European Jews. Photographs, documents, maps, models and props such as cans of Zyklon B – all of this is a necessary prelude to trace the next part of the museum exhibition. One of the most shocking parts of the exhibition is located in Block No. 5 and titled Material evidence. You will see a huge collections of personal items belonging to Jews sent to gas chambers – shoes, clothes, dentures, glasses, even children’s clothing – last remains of victims of the Holocaust.
Visiting Auschwitz I let us know about some camp issues such as nightmarish conditions of everyday life, including hunger or abysmal sanitation and housing, designed for physical and mental exhausting the people staying in the camp (watching photos of prisoners is very painful). Extremely shocking it tour through the so-called Death Block to the reconstruction of the Death Wall. In the prison building (Block 11) we can read causes for which convicts waited for sentences, eg. for participation in the camp’s resistance (verdict other than the death penalty is rarely an option hence the name of the block). We can learn about investigative methods of the Gestapo, but also how the camp resistance worked. The prison it is located next to the Wall of Death (rebuild after the camp demolition in the final period of war) – a terrifying place of execution. Visit usually ends in the first gas chamber and crematory, which worked briefly because of construction the nearby Birkenau-Auschwitz II – the main site of the extermination of Jews in gas chambers on an unimaginable scale.
The last stage of our tour is visiting the remains of camp installations in nearby Birkenau. We can overcome this distance on foot or by bus. The view of the railroad tracks and a distinctive gate followed by the ruins of crematoria, gas chambers and rows of barracks is mopossible to erase from memory. The only museum exhibition in this part of the complex is located in the former camp bathhouse building where we have the opportunity to walk carefully in prisoners’ footsteps.
Auschwitz experience stays in memory for a lifetime.
We remind you that among our proposed tour routes you will also find the Auschwitz guided tours.