Auschwitz. The very name should bring a chill to your spine. The stuff of nightmares, Auschwitz is lasting symbol of Nazi heartlessness. Comprised of three main camps and 45 sub-camps, approximately one million human beings were ruthlessly murdered here. At the end of World War II, the lives of those lost were memorialized by the Polish government. Ever since, pilgrims from across the globe have travelled to Auschwitz to pay their respects to the dead. Once the setting for an unimaginable slaughter, Auschwitz is now hallowed ground demanding sincere reverence from each and every one of its visitors.
Look but don’t touch. Picking up an item you find on the ground at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum will earn you jail time. “Finders keepers” doesn’t apply here.
Stay Classy. Feel free to snap pictures during your visit. But, please don’t smile for a selfie. You should know better.
Leave the kids at home. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum specifically recommends you do not bring kids under 14-years-old. Disregard at your own risk.
Good to know
Best time to visit
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is accessible year-round, except Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. That said, the best weather in Auschwitz is from May to September, where average temperatures range from 57 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. But, keep in mind that these are also some of the rainiest months of the year. So, you may wish to purchase an umbrella. Precipitation isn’t severe, however; and, conditions are far better than the rest of the year when average lows are near or below freezing. Half of the days in December, January, and February are snowy. So, pack your clothes accordingly.
For most travellers, an Auschwitz tour is part of a day-trip from nearby Krakow. The Auschwitz-Birkeau State Museum is located at Stanislawy Leszczynskiej, Str. no. 16, off the national road 933 on the outskirts of Oswiecim. If you have access to a car and GPS, great! If not, you can take 1.5 hour ride on the train from Krakow to Oswiecim. The final 2 kilometers to the museum can be completed by bus. But, we recommend using the PKS bus system from Krakow, which costs less, saves you a little time, and drops you off adjacent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Money saving tips
Got a hole in your pocket? Don’t worry! Although paid guided tours are available for the history buffs, entrance to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is free of charge. Though, if you enjoy your visit, you may wish to make a small donation.
Did you know?
Become a tour guide for your friends by rattling off these interesting tid-bits
The Nazis used Zyklon B, a pesticide, both to delouse and later execute around one million prisoners at Auschwitz.
The longest-serving Commandant at Auschwitz, Rudolf Höß, was previously tried and convicted of the murder of a schoolteacher. He served four years in Brandenburg Penitentiary before being granted amnesty.
By far the best chance for escape from Auschwitz was to appropriate SS or guard uniforms and exit through the main gates. Several people attempted it. The results were mixed.
Notable prisoners at Auschwitz include Elie Wiesel, Otto and Anne Frank, Edith Stein, Viktor Frankl, and others.