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20-06-2013, 19:34   #1
goose1
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Auschwitz

Anyone been? Is it well worth the visit? Anything in particular to look out for? I'm hoping to head soon, its been mydream so long I don't want to miss anything!
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20-06-2013, 19:54   #2
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Absolutely worth visiting! It'll be a life changing experience.
If you go with a guide you wont miss anything. Theres no point in going out there and just wandering around, you'll miss out!
When you get out there, the guides are waiting and take people in groups.
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20-06-2013, 22:05   #3
jonniebgood1
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I would say it is worth seeing. I recommend that you read up on the place from reliable sources before going. Make sure you go to the birkenau camp. It is separate from the original camp and is sometimes omitted for some reason by people when there.
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21-06-2013, 10:38   #4
 
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I would say it is worth seeing. I recommend that you read up on the place from reliable sources before going. Make sure you go to the birkenau camp. It is separate from the original camp and is sometimes omitted for some reason by people when there.

Absolutely worth visiting. As poster above says make sure Birkenau is on the tour and walk down to remains of crematorium. Also ask tour guide for location of Schindlers factory in Cracow
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21-06-2013, 10:43   #5
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Definitely worth visiting. I went last year with a group and we had a brilliant tour guide who showed us everything including Birkenau. Its such an experience being there in person, much better than what you'd see on television or in pictures.
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21-06-2013, 18:48   #6
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Id recommend staying in, or at the very least, visiting the Kazimierz district. It ties the whole thing together.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazimierz

Any taxi driver will take you to Schindlers factory and wait for you if you want.

Edit: Just found this, it might be useful to you:
http://www.oskarschindlersfactory.com/

Last edited by Chucken; 21-06-2013 at 18:50.
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21-06-2013, 18:51   #7
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I've been once in the winter as part of a ski trip to Zakopane with the lads.
Well worth a visit!
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22-06-2013, 08:40   #8
tac foley
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I've been to Buchenwald, Birkenau and Auschwitz, just to be able to tell my child and grandchild what can happen when people get strange ideas of ther inate superiority to other people. One person accompanying me was my cousin, and reform rabbi in London.

It broke his heart.

Mine, too.

Every child should be taken to any of these awful places when they are old enough to know what they signify.

In Israel we have Yad Vashem - a place to which EVERY Israeli child is taken. It was built long after my Bar Mitzvah, but most folks I know take their sons there at that time of their life.

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02-07-2013, 22:00   #9
 
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A must see

I agree with other posters. Have been there, Auschwitz 1 is where the famous 'Arbeit macht frei' sign is. This site mainly has brick buildings and was the original camp, there is a good tour around the camp and you are shown the execution wall. It was a strange experience to be honest, they have pictures on the walls of prisoners, and with their shaved heads and sullen expressions you would nearly think they were guilty of something, this was of course the psychology of the oppressors to de-humanise the inmates and make it easier to kill them without any mercy or empathy.

They say seeing Birkenau now is nothing like it would have been back then. There was no green grass and of course the smoke would have belched incessantly back then. There is a good tour around the site and they still have all the rooms displaying the personal possessions of the victims, shoes, suitcases, a mountain of hair, and of course the opened cans of zyklon B, I remember looking at all these things and thinking of the individuals who owned them, many of the suitcases had chalked names on them because they were told when then put them down that they would get them back again.

I would say that the enormity of the numbers killed there does numb your senses, it was just too much for my little brain, I found that Ann Franks house had a bigger impact on me because I could process the individual story better. It still amazes and shocks me that there are so many Holocaust deniers out there, these places should always be visited to make sure this never happens again.

I would get a good book on Krakow as well, we didn't and we missed out on a lot. For instance, outside our hotel beside the tram stop was a collection of sculptures showing various chairs, ie kitchen chairs, arm chairs etc. It was a strange place for a sculpture as it was out in the 'burbs and we thought it nice but slightly odd. It was only when my mother visited a second time and was on a tour that she was told the story behind it. This was the place the Jews were told to assemble one night for deportation to the 'East', they brought all their valuables with them including their furniture, when the Poles got up the following morning all that remained there were the chairs......
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04-07-2013, 09:48   #10
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Absolutely worth visiting! It'll be a life changing experience.
If you go with a guide you wont miss anything. Theres no point in going out there and just wandering around, you'll miss out!
When you get out there, the guides are waiting and take people in groups.
In the summer months visitors have to join a tour, but in winter you are free to explore at your own pace, which is what I did last February, with the aid of the excellent guide booklet you can buy in the shop at the entrance. I had loads of time so I spent the whole day there, and walked from Auschwitz 1 to Birkenau (about 2 miles, but I think shuttle buses are provided also).

It's eerie and upsetting (especially the mountains of long dead people's personal posessions - and hair), but a must-see, I came away with a deep sense of how lucky I am to live without persecution. The sheer scale of Birkenau is mind-boggling.

Do visit the Schindler factory for a sense of what Krakow was like under Nazi occupation, a very well put together and interactive exhibition!
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04-07-2013, 13:42   #11
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In the summer months visitors have to join a tour, but in winter you are free to explore at your own pace, which is what I did last February, with the aid of the excellent guide booklet you can buy in the shop at the entrance. I had loads of time so I spent the whole day there, and walked from Auschwitz 1 to Birkenau (about 2 miles, but I think shuttle buses are provided also).

It's eerie and upsetting (especially the mountains of long dead people's personal posessions - and hair), but a must-see, I came away with a deep sense of how lucky I am to live without persecution. The sheer scale of Birkenau is mind-boggling.

Do visit the Schindler factory for a sense of what Krakow was like under Nazi occupation, a very well put together and interactive exhibition!

I suppose what I meant was that I'd recommend a guide. We went there on January 27th (liberation day) about 6 years ago and it took all I had for my brain to comprehend what I was seeing. I feel without a guide, I would have stopped half way through.

We also walked to Birkenau in the snow....that eerie feeling will never leave me, I was physically sick at the end of the day.

Schindlers factory was only being made ready at that time so we just stood outside. I would go back to visit that now thats its open to tourists.

That trip to Kracow was the start of a deep appreciation of Poland and its people for us. Any trip we've been on since hasnt evoked those feelings.
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04-07-2013, 14:03   #12
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We also walked to Birkenau in the snow....that eerie feeling will never leave me, I was physically sick at the end of the day.
I know what you mean. I lost my appetite for about two days afterwards.
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05-07-2013, 09:59   #13
 
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Apart from Auschwitz if ever in Berlin make sure to visit Sachenhausen Camp out in East Berlin. It was the first camp set up after the Nazis took power. Within hours they had rounded up a number of trade unionists etc. It was at this camp that the Arbeit Macht Frei sign was first erected. There was a slight mistake in the lettering but it became the norm for all the camps. It was here that Camp Commanders received their training before being allocate the other camps. It was also the camp where V.I.P. prisoners were held e.g relatives of prominent international politicians, leading clergymen, trade union leaders etc. It is nearly impossible to believe that these places existed just 70 years ago.
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27-07-2013, 22:58   #14
 
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Go! The way to do it is to visit the Jewish Quarter in Krakow (the Pharmacy - which is very hard to find but well worth a visit), Schindler's factory and then Auschwitz. I had heard so many stories of peoples' reactions to Auschwitz and Birkenau. It depends really on how much you know. For me, the big thing was wanting to touch the walls, the doors. Not that I didn't think it was real but because I thought through touching the walls etc that I could connect with the people that suffered and died there. In a tiny way, showed that I cared.
Please watch the movie Inheritance which shows Amon Goeth's daughter meeting his Jewish housekeeper. Its incredibly moving.
This period in history stays with me every day. I didn't get 'the feeling' that people describe when they go there. Its an eerily beautiful place with so much horror.
Its somewhere everyone should visit at sometime in their lives to understand and pay respect.
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29-07-2013, 23:27   #15
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If you are staying in krakow make sure to check out the free walking tour of krakow, it is very good.
They also have a walking tour of the jewish district.
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