Camp Entry Gate

Things to see

  1. Documentary Movie
  2. Auschwitz Main Camp (Oswiecim)
  3. Birkenau (Brzezinka) Camp

Time to allocate

The museum web site:

Details about visit (map & hotels)

Overview

This is the only part of the polish sightseeing that is definitely NOT FUN, but everybody has to do it (with the exception of younger kids.) There are many words used to describe Auschwitz, most common being shocking and unbelieveable. Allocate the whole day to see this place of mass murder, and to pay tribute to the victims.

Getting to Auschwitz

  1. From Warsaw by car - the road between Warszawa and Bielsko-Biala is one of the few decent four lane roads in Poland - about 200 miles, 4 hour drive; take Oswiecim exit in town of Tychy and follow the signs.
  2. From Warsaw by train - select trains traveling to Bielsko-Biala, verify that train stops at Oswiecim station, take a taxi to the camp.
  3. From Krakow by car - there is a really nice tollway between Krakow and Katowice, some people make the 60 mile drive in less than 25 minutes. Either drive rental car or hire taxi for a day (usually under $80)
  4. From Krakow by train - 1.5 hours, avoid this option if possible

Places to stay

Check out the hotel list on Auschwitz Museum website

Auschwitz-view towards museum

Sightseeing

Pick up a self guided tour booklet in Auschwitz Museum building in language of your choice, and follow the directions through the main gate. Start your sightseeing with watching a 30 minute documentary, playing all day in the main museum building. There are specific times when the documentary is playing in foreign languages. All of the buildings in the camp house exhibits focusing on different parts of camp operation, each with well laid out exhibits and documents (both in English and Polish.)

Auschwitz-barbed wire corridor Birkenau-train tracks

Birkenau

Once you are done touring Auschwitz part of  museum, take either your car or taxi to Brzezinka Camp (follow the signs outside main entrance gate.) Brzezinka is the industrial size part of camp, where the methods of killing "developed" in Auschwitz were put into mass scale use. This is where bulk of the people killed in Auschwitz died at the hands of Nazi criminals.

Auschwitz-death wall