History that should not be forgotten: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial
It is our responsibility to never forgive and never forget the events that took place in a little towns Oswiecim and Brzezinka in Poland, and preserve it for future generations. It is true that people learn from mistakes. But it would be much better if such a mistake had never happened. To commemorate those who suffered there, the concentration camp became a State Museum which leaves too many questions without an answer.
More than 1.3 million people visit Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial every year. The number of visitors is constantly increasing. What was once a large Nazi German concentration camp is now a world-famous symbol of Holocaust. The original grounds and buildings leave an incredibly authentic feeling.
Right at the entrace there are some markets where you can buy a printed guide in many languages for a few amount of money. A lot of postcards, souveniers and light refreshements cannot miss. The tour of the first part of the museum then lasts at least 2-3 hours depending on you pace. The second part usually takes you maximum of 2 hours. This kind of visit is free of charge.
If you prefer to tour with a commentation, you can reserve a tour guide who explains you the system of the main camp and tell you stories about some prisoners. They speak many languages there. The length of a commented tour lasts from 3,5 to 8 hours, depending on which programme you choose. This tour is paid.
Horrible lie: ''Arbeit macht Frei''
From the entrance hall you can see the famous main gate boasting with a sign Arbeit macht frei gives you immediate anxious feelings. Suddenly you stop talking and walk silently through the premises. Not all of the buildings are accesible but the others that are give you enough to capture the horrors that happened here. The buildings are numbered and each of them belonged to a certain nationality. Building n. 16 was for prisoners from Czechoslovakia. Several movies and documentaries are screened there. Surrounded by barbed wires, warned by various signs, you will experience the dense atmosphere of watchtowers, crematory, pile of shoes and other personal possesion confiscated by the Nazis. You can also look into the first gas chamber ever put in operation here in Auschwitz.
Tracing the steps of the suffering
After the first part you shouldn't miss to visit the neighbouring Auschwitz II known as Birkenau. It was the biggest extermination camp. You enter the camp through the Gate of Death along the railway which leads to the camp since 1944. You can explore the vast complex on your own and see sleeping quarters representing the horrendous conditions in which the prisoners lived. At the back of the camp you can find the debris of gas chambers and crematory.