AUSCHWITZ – BIRKENAU Known worldwide, the city’s name is a burning symbol of the wartime tragedy, suffering, and deaths that affected millions of innocent souls. It is located about 65 kilometers west of Krakow. The Nazis established Auschwitz concentration camp in April of 1940. Enlarged in the subsequent war years, it became a site of mass genocide. Some 1.5 million people of 28 nationalities died within its barriers.
The infamous concentration and work camp has now become a living memorial and museum, with limited yet guided access for wheelchairs. Disabled visitors are welcomed to see sections of the complex with navigable terrain, both indoors and outdoors. Open all four seasons.
Twenty-eight one-story brick blocks are found in the barbed-wire encampment of the older part, which is entered through the infamous gate bearing the inscription ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ (Work Makes Free). In some of the blocks, there are exhibitions displaying such horrifying objects as piles of artificial limbs, eye-glasses, shoes, and suitcases once belonging to victims.
The second part of the camp occupied the present district of Brzezinka (Birkenau). It is the largest cemetery in the world. Visitors can see some surviving barracks and the ruins of gas chambers and crematoriums. The monumental Memorial to the Victims of Fascism was erected in order to pay homage to the millions of people murdered here.
In 1979, the Oświęcim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau) concentration camp was entered onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The site was turned into a museum in 1947, and is known as the Memorial to the Martyrdom of the Polish and Other Nations.
- the maximum size of bags and backpacks allowed to bring into the museum is 30x20x10 cm. For safety reasons, each person entering the grounds of the Museum will be subject to security checks, including using electronic devices to detect dangerous materials and objects. Those who refuse checks will not