Editors' Picks

Day Trip: Auschwitz

Więźniów Oświęcimia 20, 32-600 Oświęcim, Poland

Located one hour by car from Krakow, Auschwitz and Auschwitz II-Birkenau are perhaps the most important sites in all of Poland. The site where more than one million people were killed, Auschwitz has been visited by more than 45 million people since 1945 and while the content is incredibly graphic and deeply disturbing, the memorial employs 300 guides and educators who have been trained on how to explain this sensitive material to visitors. Tours here will cover Auschwitz I, the original concentration camp in the Auschwitz complex, and Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a massive concentration and extermination camp that became one of the most efficient camps for the mass murder of Jews, Poles, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and more.

Tips for visiting:

  • There is little shade at Auschwitz II-Birkenau and it is very hot and sunny in the summer, so don’t wear dark clothing and consider bringing a hat, sunglasses and/or an umbrella for shade
  • While there is no dress code, be mindful of the significance of Auschwitz and dress in a manner that is respectful (cover your shoulders, don’t wear revealing clothing)
  • Come prepared. There is an overwhelming amount of information to take in and just 3-4 hours to absorb it (although you can do two days of touring or an 8-hour tour, but these are both very emotionally taxing). Read books and watch films from our Recommending Viewing and Reading List prior to your visit and have your questions prepared in advance for your guide.
Note: After the tour it is recommended to take time to process what you’ve just seen and learned and leave the afternoon open.

Written by Emma Pierce

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