Wroclaw Auschwitz Tour
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Despite the substantial distance (more than 230 km), the drive to the museum takes about 2.5 hours and is mostly by highway. Auschwitz was the largest German concentration camp during the Second World War. The camp has been preserved as museum and you can visit it individually or as part of group with a guide. Visiting the camp in a group tour takes about 4.0 hours, including the second part of the camp, Birkenau.
Oświęcim (Auschwitz – was a german name of this polish town)- a silent witness of the most terrible years of XX-th century
Oświęcim ( Auschwitz) is a town of tens of thousands, the first mentions come from the XI-th century. Despite many monuments and dynamically operating cultural institutions, in Poland and in the world, Oświęcim is usually associated with one of the darkest pages of human history – the extermination of the Jews during the World War II. Visiting Auschwitz Museum and the town is a difficult journey to times that have no right to be repeated.
Tours to Auschwit should start by getting to know its main attractions. In 1272, Oświęcim (Auschwitz) was granted borough rights on the Lwówek Śląski model. After 19 years the city was given additional judiciary and farm privileges. From that time comes a castle with a fortified tower, unfortunately a big part of it flowed with a river that changed its course many times. The most important part of the city is the renovated market square, surrounded mainly by XIX-century tenement houses. Nearby the Old Market you can see Church of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (rebuilt several times), which was first mentioned in the 20s of the XVI-th century. Even older objects of religious architecture are: built for the Dominicans in the first half of the XIV-th century Church of Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians and St. Jack’s Chapel. In 1899 in Oświęcim, the only brick neo-Gothic Seraphic Sisters temple in the world- Church of Our Lady of Sorrows – has been blessed.
History of the Jews in Oświęcim (Auschwitz)
While driving from Wrocław to Oświęcim, you should be aware of the seriousness of the place that is the purpose of the trip. In Oświęcim, the presence of the Jews is still visible. The first Jews came to the town in the mid XVI-th century, and in 1588 the first synagogue in the Jewish cemetery was built at today’s Berek Joselewicz street, it was burned down in the fire in 1711. Oświęcim guides who show visitors the history of the local Jews, before visiting the museum, they will also show Chevra Lomdei Mishnajot Synagogue from the beginning of the last century and a Jewish cemetery with over 1000 tombstones, the oldest of which dates back to 1757.
Visiting Oświęcim – Auschwitz-Birkenau museum
The darkest card of Judaism history was written by the Nazis in Auschwit and its surroundings. On October 8-th, 1939 the city was incorporated into the Third Reich, and in 1940 the camp was created, initially political opponents, mainly from Poland, were put there. Over time, the camp was expanded, turning it into a place of extermination of million European Jews, but also Romanies and prisoners from the Soviet Union and other countries. In 1945 the largest death camp in human history occupied an area of 200 hectares.
After rebuilding, Auschwitz camp was divided into three parts: the first – the main camp primarily a place of forced labour and an administrative centre of the whole complex of Auschwitz I (Oświęcim), the second – a concentration camp with gas chambers and crematories Auschitz II-Birkenau (Brzezinka) and third –a forced labour camp with a chemical plant Buna-Werke Auschwitz III-Monowitz (in Manowice). Auschwitz II-Birkenau was the largest Nazi death camp – it is estimated that over one million people have been killed there.
Auschwitz-Birkenau – the memory of the victims
It was already in 1947, when the Polish authorities decided to create the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum (its official name since 1999) on the site of the former concentration camp. The facility includes about 150 buildings, infrastructure and objects left behind by the prisoners (that is -clothing, shoes, suitcases, striped uniforms) and fleeing SS-officers. The exhibition is divided into: the main one and several national exhibitions, where the citizens of a given country, imprisoned in the camp, were commemorated. In 1979, Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List, although the organization said that by putting this particular camp on the list, wants to commemorate all concentration camps and extermination camps created by the Nazis.