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“Emotional moving experience” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
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$32.91*
and up
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Trip from Krakow Old Town
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Oswiecim
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
53 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Emotional moving experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2014 via mobile

Took the guided tour, it is so busy that the guide spent half the time explaining why it was cut short as groups were following. Auschwitz 1 was very busy and the exhibits powerful, the suffering unimaginable and brings the horrors previously only seen on TV to reality, real people like you and me with the same hopes and dreams. Auschwitz 2 was a far bigger complex and as such the herds going round were slightly apart, noticed that not one bird seen in or over this vast site. They are both a simply must be seen, and never forgotten.

Visited March 2014
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1 Thank Wingman18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“moving”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2014

Day 1 we had to take a guide which wizzed us around within a few hours , free entry but you pay for the guide. Day 2 we went without a guide and spent a whole day and discovered the tour only touches on a third of what is there. Spend two days as we did to get the most of your experience

Visited February 2014
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1 Thank Ricky19662014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Loughton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“A duty to visit this sad place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2014

I planned a visit to Auschwitz the moment I knew I was going to Krakow. Having studied the wars and Nazi Germany at school, and seen this place countless times in books and documentaries, I felt compelled to visit.

We organised ours with Cracow Tours, who at a very reasonable price provided coach transfers from several points of Krakow city to the site, and return journey and drop offs. They played an hour long documentary on the coach about the horrors that went on at Auschwitz.

Upon arrival at the museum site, we were assigned to a tour guide, and all equiped with our own headphone sets, so that the guide could be heard individually by each member on the tour, and that we could all walk around at will whilst still hearing her commentary.

We were led round the first site and shown the different buildings each housing different elements depicting life in the camp. Our guide gave extensive information for each thing we saw as we walked round. I was shocked at what is still on display remaning from the time of the camps, such as victim's suitcases, glasses, shoes and belongings......all of this was in mountains behind glass, showing you the sheer volume of the people who passed through this sad place.

I particularly found the room containing victims hair that was shaved off, moving. This is where I got a lump in my throat and was welling up as I walked around that room, thinking of the women with beautiful hair who came to this place to have it stripped from them. Really tear inducing.

We also saw some of the smaller cells in which multiple people were placed and often left to die in the dark, and we were also shown a wall in front of which many were shot.

A chilling aspect of the tour was going into an actual gas chamber. This eerie concrete room was certainly thought provoking when you stop to imagine the sheer number of panicked people who met their death in here. Very sad and moving to be standing in effectively a grave.

The tour guide then met us at the second larger site, which featured the iconic railway into the camp, whereby arriving prisoners were examined and selected to work or be sent to death. This was horrible thinking I was standing right where people's fates were decided. Plus the weather on my visit became rather dismal and windy and rain, this brought out the coldness and grimness of the place.

Our guide took us along the path prisioners were led down to the gas chambers (of which all are now in ruins, having been destroyed after the liberation of the camp. Here a memorial now stands with plaques in several languages.

We were also shown the sleeping quarters in one of the barracks and told about the harshness of the conditions back then, disease and cold that swept the camp. We also saw a toilet block which again was described to us in such detail about how it once was and the brutal reality for the prisioners.

This day stayed with me for a long time. And to me what is shocking is that the place is still not 100 years old yet, which really puts into perspective that people in the same century most of us were born in carried out such evil.

Our guide was fantastic. A short pretty blonde woman. Spoke perfect English throughout and answered all questions. A personal thanks to her for all of the visit. I wish I had got her name so I could mention it. She was excellent.

I really would recommend anyone going to this part of Poland to please visit here. Even if you didn't really follow Nazi Germany at school etc, please come to just experience an insight into the real horror that happened to an awful number of innocent European people at the hands of an evil madman.

Visited March 2014
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4 Thank Bennyboy08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Junglinster, Luxembourg
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“could be interesting...”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2014

... if the guide wouldn't have stressed us all the time: fast explanations about what was written on the signs and then go to the next "attraction". We had no time to see the exposure, the letters, the pictures etc. As we took the bus to go to Birkenau, they really filled it up at the maximum, so you could stand without a grip.
It is a shame, it is an interesting museum but it is maybe better to do it on your own. I expected the guide to tell us more about anecdotes which they heared from the witnesses.
To resum: very touristic and crowded place (and we went during the week) , and quite bad guide.
Ah and btw, organise your food before going, there is only a little snack there, which is, of course crowded. And toilets costs 1 zl, so don't drink tooo much. ;-)

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank E B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Andrews, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“so so sad”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2014

visited in march and nothing can prepare you for the attrocitties that took place here.We used a guide as I think they help you get round both sites and can answer any questions you have. the sheer size of the camps and to see what these poor people suffered is truly heartbreaking and must never be forgotten.Never forget this was a death factory and must never be allowed to happen ever again

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank gordon d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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