Places That Have Made History


There are places in the world that evoke many emotions in us. Some of them we cannot forget, they remain vivid in our memory even after a long time. For some, these are stately castles, temples, or natural landscapes. Others are most affected by visits to museums and historically shaped places.

Memorials are usually associated with negative feelings. So why should they be visited? They help us to learn more about the past and therefore about the world around us. Moreover, they lead to reflection and deep thought.

Without a doubt, some of the most difficult locations to visit are the remains of the Second World War. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is the most recognizable symbol of the tragic events that took place in Europe several decades ago.

Shocking and Difficult to Imagine

Some events in history are hard to talk about even after many years. The first concentration camps were established long before the outbreak of the Second World War. Initially, they were intended to be prisons for political opponents who posed a real threat to power. However, plans soon changed, and gradually citizens of other countries and Jews began to be sent to the camps. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest concentration camp of its kind. Numerous revolts and groundless arrests in the Polish streets prompted the Nazis to build dozens of barracks.

The first convicts appeared there in 1940 and since then new people have appeared there regularly. Their transport was almost identical each time. Prisoners were brought in cramped freight cars, where access to oxygen was limited. Conditions were proving extreme right from the start. Many people did not live to see the end of the journey.

People were then divided into groups. Young men and women capable of physical labor were placed in one of them. The other included the elderly or sick, who were sent straight to the gas chambers. The prisoners on their way to death were accompanied by the music of the camp band. This fact makes the place even more terrifying and difficult to visualize.

A Symbol of the Human Tragedy

The prisoners in Auschwitz gradually lost their humanity. Survival became their overriding goal for them. People were able to do anything for a piece of bread or an extra portion of camp soup. There were many instances of mothers renouncing their children to avoid being sent to the gas chamber.

The SS men officiating in the camp can hardly be described as people. They did everything to make the prisoners’ lives even more miserable. There were exceptions, of course, but most of them were devoid of any compassion or empathy.

Prisoners were dying of exhaustion and starvation. Diseases resulting from a lack of vitamins and nutrients effectively made it impossible to work.

The Museum Today

Auschwitz Birkenau is visited by millions of tourists every year. People from all continents come to the Krakow area sometimes just for this one tour. Such a trip is not relaxing or enjoyable, but it is definitely something everyone should experience. The buildings have been preserved in very good condition. In the exhibitions, we are able to see authentic documentation of the camp, real photographs, and descriptions of the prisoners. A book of remembrance with the names of Auschwitz victims is also on display.

Some of the most striking exhibitions are those featuring the personal belongings of prisoners. Suitcases, clothes, ceramics, and, above all, children’s toys are the most notable part of the tour. 

The Auschwitz tour is not recommended for children under the age of 14. On the walls of the barracks are displayed, among other things, photographs documenting the medical experiments conducted there. Inhumane procedures led the prisoners to a state where they no longer resembled human beings. Another shocking sight may be the cut hair stored in one of the blocks.

Preparing for a Tour in a Nutshell

Tourists wishing to visit the memorial usually stay overnight in Krakow. Getting to the museum from this city proves to be very easy and fast. When organizing trips to Auschwitz, it is worth betting on proven companies such as KrakowDirect.

It is not necessary to diametrically explore your historical knowledge before the Auschwitz tour. The guides at the museum explore the subject in depth and are able to answer even the most difficult questions.

Depending on the season, you should adapt your outfit to the weather. Remember that in winter, especially at the end of January and the beginning of February, the temperature in Poland drops drastically. A huge part of the Auschwitz tour takes place outdoors so wear insulated jackets and hats. Please note that this is a memorial site, so shorts and body-revealing tops are not welcome in the summer. Above all, wear comfortable shoes. The camp covers an area of 140 hectares and although tourists only visit part of it, there is plenty of walking.

It is worth adding that in most buildings it is possible to take photographs. However, do not take large backpacks. It is better to pack the most necessary things into small bags. This will save us money for a mandatory locker room.

The Tour That Will Stay with You for a Long Time

Auschwitz is one of the places that are not easily forgotten. However, such a visit can change the way we look at certain things. Be prepared for a huge history lesson, presented in a fairly accessible but also shocking way. Everyone should see the memorial at least once in their lifetime.

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