Visit Auschwitz Birkenau - all you need to know before Auschwitz tour
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Visit Auschwitz Birkenau – all you need to know

Visit Auschwitz Birkenau - All you need to know

Whole world comes to Poland to visit Auschwitz Birkenau. Why this extremely popular place attracts so many people? Check what to expect if you visit Auschwitz and why is it worth to go there.

Tables of contest:

  1. Reasons to visit Auschwitz
  2. How many tourists visit Auschwitz?
  3. Auschwitz Birkenau – 2 different parts
  4. How many people died in Auschwitz?
  5. How to prepare if you visit Auschwitz?
  6. Visit Auschwitz Birkenau with a private tour

Reasons to visit Auschwitz

Why do people visit Auschwitz? Well, the reasons are countless and probably everybody have their own causes. However, there are some fundamental causes, that everybody should visit Auschwitz for. Is your motivation among them?

Visit Auschwitz concentration camp

1. Important history lesson

First of all, Auschwitz Birkenau Museum is a place where you’ll learn a fundamental KNOWLEDGE about war history. Holocaust is something that humanity should be ashamed for, but not secretly. Although it seems very remote and unthinkable in modern times, everyone has right to know about Holocaust.

In fact, not every school puts emphasis on this dark period of history and many people doesn’t have this basic knowledge about Auschwitz Birkenau camp. However, it’s never too late to learn new things. That’s why so many visitors finds the museum very educative and enriching place.

2. Raising our awareness

Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum will not only pass you historical facts. It will also enhance your awareness. In fact, it’s not enough to know something, but to fully UNDERSTAND it. If you visit Auschwitz with an open mind, you’ll  draw deep conclusions – global as well as personal.

3. Taking care of our future

Probably one of the most important objectives of the museum is to PREVENT from such terrifying events such Holocaust in the future. Although it may seem quite unbelievable, in fact, it IS possible that Auschwitz Birkenau history repeats. All in all, it all was created by human. We should not forget and stay alert all the time.

That’s why museum in Auschwitz Birkenau is so precious. Through its comprehensive educational programme, it helps its visitors to think more globally and, in turn, to create more cautious society.

If you visit Auschwitz I, in one of the blocks, you’ll see the famous quote from Primo Levi: 

It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. 

How many tourists visit Auschwitz?

Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Poland. Also, it’s most often visited former Nazi concentration camp in Europe. Additionally, number of its visitors increases year by year. Let’s compare some charts to see museum’s popularity immense growth:

  • 1959 – over 250 000 visitors
  • 1969 – over 500 000 visitors
  • 1979 – over 600 000 visitors
  • 2009 – over 1 200 000 visitors
  • 2019 – over 2 000 000 visitors

Visit Auschwitz in group


It’s difficult to estimate which country visit Auschwitz the most. Considering year 2011, Museum hosted in a large part: Britons (82 000), Italians (78 000), Israelis (62 000), Germans (58 000), Americans (52 000), the Spanish (46 000), South Koreans (43 000) and Czechs (43 000).

Auschwitz Birkenau – 2 different parts

Do you know what’s the difference between Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau? In fact, many people who visit Auschwitz does not have idea! If you’re one of them, check what’s the difference.

Former Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz has two parts, which are located 3 km away from each other.

  • Auschwitz I – So-called maternal camp and its first part. It contains numerous Nazi administration blocks where officers were working every day. We’ll find there prisoners blocks as well as places of cruel penalties and death sentences. It’s also a place of inhuman experiments on sick and weak inmates. The death wall in Auschwitz I is a memorial for victims of shooting executions. What’s more, if you visit Auschwitz I, you’ll walk through the famous Arbeit macht frei” gate.
  • Auschwitz II Birkenau – the biggest part of the camp, covering 161 ha. Entrance gate to Auschwitz Birkenau is probably the most photographed object on the whole museum. There are numerous wooden barracks in Birkenau. Additionally, there are plenty of gas chambers ruins which are silent witnesses of mass exterminations.

Arbeit Macht Frei GateAuschwitz Birkenau gate

See it on a map:

How many people died in Auschwitz?

At first, transports to Auschwitz camp consisted mainly of Poles. In fact, the camp was supposed to be only a labor camp for Polish prisoners. However, soon it turned into the biggest Nazi Death camp… Although it’s hard to say exactly how many people died in Auschwitz, there are some official numbers.

According to Auschwitz Birkenau official documentation, Nazis murdered:

  • 1 000 000 Jews
  • 70 – 75 000 Poles
  • 21 000 Gypsies
  • 15 000 Soviet captives
  • 10 – 15 000 other nationalities.

There is also small group of prisoners who survived Auschwitz horror. However, in comparison with number of victims, they constitute really small percent.

Auschwitz victims international monument
Auschwitz victims international monument

In Auschwitz Birkenau camp, there is an international monument of Auschwitz camp victims.  It was built in 1967 and it has 17 description boards in different languages.


How to prepare if you visit Auschwitz?

If you decide to visit Auschwitz, you need to be aware of several things.

First of all, prepare for disturbing and violent images. The incredibly rich collection of Auschwitz Birkenau museum enables its visitors to see original photographs of the Holocaust. Even simple photographs of inmates faces can be really disturbing, expressing overwhelming suffering. On the other hand, many images strike with exhausted and totally empty eyes, with no emotions. There are also photographs of human experiments and numerous dead bodies.

Prepare to visit Auschwitz

According to Museum rules and regulations, it’s not advisable to visit Auschwitz with children under the age of 14.

Another crucial fact, that you should be aware of before you visit Auschwitz, is that it’s a place that requires appropriate behavior. Considering the fact, how many people died in Auschwitz, everyone should behave with dignity and be serious. One of the most often

You can take your camera with you and take pictures in the museum. There are only several places where it’s strictly forbidden, but your guide will inform you about that. However, remember that taking smiley selfies in Auschwitz Birkenau is something you should not do at all.

Visit Auschwitz Birkenau with a private tour

Due to the extreme popularity of the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum, numerous tours to Auschwitz are organized all year long. As the major Polish city closest to Auschwitz, Krakow is number one in Auschwitz private and shared tours.

You’ve got several options to choose:

  1. Auschwitz tour – basic tour including visiting 2 parts – Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau.
  2. Schindlers Factory and Auschwitz Birkenau Tour – visiting 2 parts of Auschwitz camp and Schindler Factory in Krakow
  3. Salt Mine and Auschwitz Birkenau tour – visiting 2 parts of Auschwitz camp and Salt Mine in Wieliczka.

All of the tours offer comfortable, modern cars, English-speaking drivers assistance and additional, tailor-made services. One of the most important features of such tours is that you don’t have to stay in the long line for tickets.

There are also numerous public buses as well as trains going to Auschwitz Birkenau from Krakow.


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