|2007||Name change||From "Auschwitz Concentration Camp" to "Auschwitz Birkenau. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)"|
|1979||Inscribed||Reasons for inscription|
|1978||Deferred||Maximum of 2 sites reached (Poland)|Paul A. Donais, Ph.D. (United States of America):
the true horror lies in the back of Birkenau, beyond the ramp, beyond the memorial, in the areas of Krema IV and V
as well as Bumker 2 beyond. Here millions were exterminated
and burned. You will be surrounded in a large wood (the
forest of Brzezinka) by mass graves. The main camp and
its displays are revolting, but in the forest lies the
true savagery of genocide. Take an entire day at Birkenau
to experience that which cannot be explained!
View the photographs at destinationinhell.com
Date posted: May 2011 Willem van Altena (Netherlands):
This is truly the most disturbing and terrible place on earth. We need to remind ourselves to which depths we can sink as human beings.
Date posted: January 2009 Klaus Freisinger (Austria):
It's hard to add anything meaningful to the other posts. This is really an incredible place, and even if you have been to other concentration camps before (like Mauthausen), Auschwitz is on a different scale. Of course you have read and seen a lot about the place, but actually seeing it is quite different. Unfortunately I had no time to go to Birkenau (there are shuttle buses, though), which I think is even more horrific. Definitely a must-visit site. By the way, I think the recent name change proposed by the Polish government to add the "German Nazi" part is a bit strange. Did anybody seriously think it was run by the Poles?
Date posted: September 2008 Basia (Poland, O?wi?cim):
To correct one of the previous reviews,Auschwitz is not near Oswięcim. Auschwitz is a German name for Oswięcim, just as Birkenau is for Brzezinka. I live here and I really recommend for everybody to hire a guide as one is not able to understand the history behind the site by oneself (even if you buy one of those thin guidebooks). Of course I do agree that it is not an ordinary site, as you visit it not for enjoyment or appreciation of art but for learning something about one of the greatest tragedies in human history. Unfortunately, not everybody understands that.
Date posted: August 2008 Jose Gomes (Portugal):
I've read all the comments did above and I agree with the majority of what is said there. However, I think that everyone if arrive as a normal tourist will in some minutes feel the atmosfere of the camps and will immediately adopt the most adequate conduct. I think that pictures of the site are not only necessary but crucial to tell our friends what we saw there and call their attention to tell them that what happened there was not only the killing of thousands of people. Those who suffered there had a name and picture, and were not only one more person.
I've heard some comments on the bus trip from Auschwitz II to Auschwitz I from other visitors that what impressed more those visitors were the shoes from kids and the hair. For me, those were not the items that impressed me significantly. What impressed me were the bags with a name painted on it that puts a picture on those who suffered and the fact that when they carried the suitcase they believed that they would make a trip for another horrible place but possibly they would be treated as war prisioners. In those bags and suitcases they carried dishes, polish for the shoes, etc. Also, the size of Auschwitz II and that road connecting directly the railroad to the gas-chambers...
Date posted: September 2006 David Berlanda (Italy / Czech Republic):
In our trip to Poland we have seen, near the town of Oświęcim and the village of Brzezinka, the concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, the largest in the Third Reich, where the Nazi commanded by Adolf Hitler systematically starved, tortured and murdered 1,5 million people from 24 countries, among them a great number of Jews. It was created by Himmler in 1940 and directed by Rudolf Höss. There are many tragical evidences, preserved in the conditions in which were in 1947, when the museum was founded: fortified walls, barbed wire, electrified fence, platforms, roll call square, sectors of wooden and bricks barracks for men and women with cells and small latrines, deposits for the belongins of the deportees, the Russian graveyard, gallows, false hospitals (wainting rooms to the gas), gas chambers, five cremation ovens, false showers, laboratories for experiments on people, Gestapo camps, entrance gates, railroads, a barrack (work camp for the Russian soldiers) where was for the first time used the gas Zyclon B for extermination, a wall (Death Wall) where were shot 20000 prisoners, bunkers, a barrack where are 70 tunes of hairs, 48000 pairs of shoes, glasses, brushes and dentures. There is also the terrible writing on the entrance arch: “Arbeit macht frei”, that means “The work makes free”.
I was really schocked by the tragical evidences of the camp, but it's absolutely worth to be visited for more understing the horrors of the genocide. However I think it don't justifies the inscription because, in my opinion, tragical war places like this (or like Hiroshima or Robben Island) can't be in a list where are inscribed the treasures of the humanity and of the nature. Anyway it represents well all the concentrations camp because it is the most important.
Photo: Oświęcim - Entrance gate and barracks of the concentration camp of Auschwitz
Date posted: February 2006 Rob Wilson (UK):
I full agreement with the others here, that this isn't a place to be treated lightly.
One does get the feeling from some of the displays that the Final Solution was a crime against the Polish people rather than the anti-semetic genocide that it actually was.
Nonetheless this does not 'spoil' (for want of better word) what is a heart-wrenching experience.
This is a place that everybody should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Date posted: July 2005 Natalie (Canada):
Having recently visited Auschwtiz and Auschwitz-Birkenau, I feel impelled to contribute my own response here. In agreement with previous reviews, I would like to reiterate that this is not a trip or tourist destination to be considered light-heartedly. Many visitors come to the camp, wanting to stroll through and catch a glimpse of the site of such dehumanizing and barbaric acts. This is not something (in my humble opinion) that can be achieved in a matter of hours.
If anyone reading this is planning to visit or looking for advice, I would strongly recommend devoting an entire day in order to absorb the full effects of everything here that deserves observing. In my experience, I felt as though I was in a state of semi-shock upon entering the camp(s). I was reluctant to take any pictures. I felt that saving the images of what I saw as a personal "souvenir" of my trip was somehow disrespectful to all of the atrocities that occurred there.
In retrospect, I think that if I had spent more time at each of the camps, perhaps I would have overcome such feelings. I now regret not taking any photos personally, not for the purpose of displaying them for others when recounting my experiences, but just for my own memories. Everyone undoubtedly experiences different reactions and feelings when visiting Auschwitz. Those emotions cannot be recreated by hearing the stories on TV, nor by seeing the images on the internet.
I strongly urge visitors to make the most of their visits and, yes, even to personalize their visits. A guided tour is definitely worth the time and/or expense. Auschwitz will perhaps be one of the most disturbing and horrific things you see in your life; and yet it is most deserving of being remembered properly.
Ian Cade (England):
This is not a place that should be visited light heartedly, I was a little distressed to see that some people had come here just as casual tourists; it really is not the place for this type of trip.
I visited in both the winter and summer and the difference in temperature is massive, I can not think of living in these conditions (-15° in winter 35° in summer).
I would strongly recommend having a guided tour as this gives you an insight to some of the most unimaginable parts of the complex. The Auschwitz area is the most intact part of the site and contains lots of exhibits (rooms full of shoes and hair being particularly poignant), and the only standing charnel house and gas chamber, the absolute horrific sense of the place hit me upon entering here, it was perhaps the most unpleasant feeling I can imagine and took me a long time to get over.
The Birkenau complex is a necessity to visit the sheer scale of the area is soul destroying. This part of the camp was built for one purpose, and this can be crippling when you view the vast compound. It seems like a huge machine designed for the most ruthless and efficient process of murdering people.
The site can be reached easily from Krakow via Oswiecim station and there are buses to Auschwitz from there (it is possible to walk) Birkenau is a little further on you will probably be able to quite easily pick up a taxi to make the short transfer there.
Nothing can sum up the scale and effect this place had on me and I am sure has had on almost every one who has seen it.
Jeremy Tollpuddle (England):
Don't treat a trip to Auschwitz like you would a trip to any where else on the UNESCO list. this was a truly horrific journey and one which should not be taken lightly. the order of the Auschwitz complex and the sheer massive scale of Birkenau. The site achieves the utmost respect from every visitor. It is worth getting a guided tour as this gives much more information. Visits at different times of the year will give you a view of the different features of life in the camps from the bitter winter conditions to the blistering heat of summer. the station is Oswiecim and is on the line from Krakow, the main camp is a short walk/bus ride from the station and the birkenau complex is further out, best to have a short taxi ride. This is not a tourist destination and is geniunly the most Harrowing place imaginable.
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