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“Birkenhau - a sobering experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
ul. Wiezniow Oswiecimia 20, Oswiecim, Poland
+48 33 843 21 33
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Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Oswiecim
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Established by the Nazis in 1940, Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. Although the exact number of victims is unknown, many Jews, Poles and gypsies died here. The museum consists of two parts: Auschwitz I, the first and oldest camp (the number of prisoners fluctuated around 15,000, sometimes rising above 20,000) and Auschwitz II, Birkenau (which held more than 90,000 prisoners in 1944). The greater part of the apparatus of mass extermination was built in Birkenau and the majority of the victims were murdered there.
Perpignan, France
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Birkenhau - a sobering experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

When we arrived at Auschwitz (by train from Kracow) it was after 10am which meant that we would have been obliged to join a compulsory 3 hour guided tour. This tour would have included a 20 minute video which we did not want to see and it was only possible to leave the tour at designated points with no opportunity to see anything without a guide.

We decided to take the shuttle bus the 2km to Birkenhau (or Auschwitz 2) and definitely made the right decision. We were able to wander at our own pace around the deserted and enormous site and chose where we lingered and spent time with what we felt was important to us.

We took a bus back to Kracow which went through many villages and gave us a chance to see more of this small part of Poland.

Visited June 2013
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Crawley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“What more can you say”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013

Like many others have said this is a place you simply must see, it's hardly fathomable what took place and even being there it is difficult to comprehend just exactly how these things were able to happen. The museum itself is very interesting, Auschwitz 1 is very well preserved as it mainly consists of brick blocks being a former army camp, there is less preserved of Birkenhau but again what is left really gives you something to think about, seeing the railway tracks and the ruins of the old gas chambers hits home the point of what took place on these sites

We went with Escape 2 Poland, i did not catch the name of our guide at the site but she was fantastic

It's not one for the faint of heart but is simply a must do, as the saying goes "he who does not remember history is bound to live through it again"

Visited June 2013
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Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
34 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Avoid the crowds”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013

I went on a Saturday and had to join a tour, required in June between 10:30 - 3. The guide was fine but added little to all the information on the signs. Headphones are with the tour so you can easily hear the guide without being next to them. There were no questions asked or asked for, so pretty standard delivery

You really want to go at your own pace in a place like this and that's the biggest reason to go alone. The site isn't commercialized but with all the people it doesn't seem quite right. It's a place to be alone in your thoughts

Everyone should go and try to comprehend how this can happen. One very disturbing aspect is how normall all the pictures are, the people - Nazis and victims could be anywhere except for the individual prisoner pictures

It's only a 15 minute walk from the train and we took the bus back to Krakow 14zl and the train to Warsaw

It's a 5 because of it's significance but the ratings don't really apply

Visited June 2013
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UK
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196 reviews
72 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
“Hardly an "attraction" but a must do for everyone, old, young and all nationalities!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

what can I say that hasn't already been said before? A must do for everyone, a sad sad experience, but I had to see this place with my own two eyes.

It was incredibly busy when we were there in November 2012, coach loads of people, mainly young people from all the corners of the world. And it's obligatory for Polish school children to visit here so that they learn and know what happened here

What went on here is too dreadful for words and it made me cry... How these poor people suffered is beyond imagination. Not a place you'd want to come back to in a hurry, but am pleased we went.

Visited November 2012
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Sussex
Level Contributor
54 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Powerful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

An essential place to visit that still carries a disturbing atmosphere, the very ground is filled with sorrow. Birkenau particularly impacts with its scale and the rows of silent empty huts. The wide range of exhibits in the museum are tactfully presented and captures both the immensity and personal aspect of the Final Solution. The walls of portraits of inmates was particularly haunting. Empathetic people may find it overwhelming and a visit here will stay with you forever. But it is a necessary reminder of what happened here and across Europe within living memory. I would recommend setting aside a whole day for a visit.

Visited January 2013
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