I visited Auschwitz 3 years ago on one of the organised guided tours. I was thoroughly dissapointed and most upset by the way it was carried out (and i think you will find all tours will be pretty much the same ) . We were hurried around the camp like a herd of sheep by the guide, no time was given to read the information boards or look thoroughly at the exhibits. The second camp - Birkenau we were only given enough time to look at the first row of wooden barracks then told to get back on the bus. Birkenau is a huge camp and having polish in my family who fled to England after the war, it was important to me to have time to look at my own pace and reflect , but none of this happened.
So in June i am returning again to visit the camp . I had been previously aware from other peoples postings , that it was better to travel to the camp and go round it on your own, which is what i intended to do. But i have just found out that from 1st May 2010, you cannot enter the camp unless it is with a guide between the hours of 9am - 3pm. If you go after 3pm then you can go on your own, but it closes at 6pm, and this would never be enough time to see the camps.
Can any body help me or offer me any advise as to how i can go and visit the camps on my own (spouse also). Could i hire my own guide to get me in and then tell him to let me wonder and explore on my own from there. Does anyone know a guide that would help us ?