Auschwitz is a name that fills us with terror and it is not to be listed together with all the nice tourist sites of Krakow. Auschwitz is so much more than that. Auschwitz is a proof of the cruelty of the Nazi reign, and a place that should be visited to see, learn, understand and get a taste of what this was like. And then be filled with a pure disgust to make sure nothing like this could ever happen again!
Oświęcim was the name of this village until 1939. Then the Germans came and annexed the area, and the German name was the one to be used from then on, Auschwitz. There were several Concentration Camps in the area, but the most famous are Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz 2 (Birkenau). If you join in on a bus trip from Krakow to Auschwitz you will in most cases visit both these camps.
Auschwitz I is what most people know from pictures and films, and this camp has the text “Arbeid macht frei” above the main entrance. According to Wikipedia around 70,000 people were killed in this camp, mostly ethnic Poles and Soviet prisoners. They also did medical experiments on “prisoners” in this camp.
Auschwitz II (Birkenau)
Auschwitz II, Birkenau, was built as Auschwitz I became to small. This is were the people came with train directly into the camp, and there the doctor decided whom to send directly into the gas chamber, and whom they should let live. In this camp more than 960,000 Jews, 75,000 Poles, and some 19,000 Roma were killed.
A visit the Auschwitz is a must, and though it might be a dreadful sight and experience, it teaches us a lesson we will hopefully never forget.
Join in on a group trip to Auschwitz I and II
If you want to join in on a group trip with about 20 participants from Krakow (pick up at your hotel) to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II, then we would love to help you with that. The price is 210 PLN per person, whereof 45 PLN per person has to be paid for the reservation to be made, and the remaining 165 PLN per person will be paid directly to the guide. If you want to join in on such a trip, please fill in the forms and you will receive an invoice from us through PayPal within shortly. As soon as the prepayment has been made we will send full confirmation of the program.
Normal pick-up time is between 9.30 and 10.15 at your hotel in the center of Krakow, and you will be back in Krakow again between 4,5-6 hours later.