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  #21  
Old 01.08.2011, 13:08
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

I would also like to go, I believe I have to for some reason (yes you can call me crazy)
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  #22  
Old 01.08.2011, 14:03
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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Copernicus came from there and there is a museum dedicated to him.
Copernicus was born in Torun, which is another beautiful city in Poland.

There aren't any museums dedicated to Copernicus in Krakow.
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  #23  
Old 01.08.2011, 14:16
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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Copernicus was born in Torun, which is another beautiful city in Poland.

There aren't any museums dedicated to Copernicus in Krakow.
Well maybe not dedicated to him but the guide that took me on a tour of the university museum definitely showed me a lot of stuff that had to do with him and about 90% of the stuff she told us was about him, though it could be she was skipping the other bits of the museum as this was a Copernicus tour.
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Old 01.08.2011, 14:19
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

There's another peculiar attraction in Krakow, which might interest museum

buffs, like the OP. I know quite a few tourists who enjoyed a Nowa Huta tour,

during which they visit this post-communist centre of heavy industry.

Link here:

http://www.krakow-tours.com/tour/Com...wa_Huta-Krakow
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Old 01.08.2011, 14:21
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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There's another peculiar attraction in Krakow, which might interest museum

buffs, like the OP. I know quite a few tourists who enjoyed a Nowa Huta tour,

during which they visit this post-communist centre of heavy industry.

Link here:

http://www.krakow-tours.com/tour/Com...wa_Huta-Krakow
Yeah, I didn't do a proper tour but we hopped on a tram and looked at that part of town and the scale of it is pretty mind-numbing.
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Old 01.08.2011, 14:21
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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Well maybe not dedicated to him but the guide that took me on a tour of the university museum definitely showed me a lot of stuff that had to do with him and about 90% of the stuff she told us was about him, though it could be she was skipping the other bits of the museum as this was a Copernicus tour.
Yes, you are right. He wasn't born in Krakow, but he studied there. I completely forgot about that.
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Old 01.08.2011, 14:31
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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Dachau is well worth the visit, the museum is good, well balanced and not overpowering, although Dachau was not a Vernichtungslager but a workcamp I would not say you can leave without tears in your eyes.
Yes, I second Slammer's expericence of Dachau, I would highly recommend it. While it was many years ago, it was a very good museum and I recall taking my time to stroll through all the parts at my own leasure, no pressured tours. I recall going on a weekday, which may make a big difference to a weekend/holiday period.
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  #28  
Old 01.08.2011, 14:52
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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It sounds dreadful - for all the wrong reasons!

I don't want to derail LiB's thread (although he might also be interested in the answer), but do you know of any similarly preserved sites which haven't been turned into a tourist resort, where one can sit and contemplate things without being jostled and hustled from one room to the next?
I think he is talking about Auschwitz I, which is relatively small and restored to a museum where you are led through several stone buildings (former barracks) with exhibitions. Auschwitz II / Birkenau (on the pictures) is so huge that it is impossible to get crowded, this has not been restored and is in fact a graveyard as the ashes of the victims were scattered between the barracks. It is extremely impressive.

I also recommend to take Krakow as a base for your visit and also to visit the salt mines in Wieliczka
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  #29  
Old 01.08.2011, 15:11
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It sounds dreadful - for all the wrong reasons!

I don't want to derail LiB's thread (although he might also be interested in the answer), but do you know of any similarly preserved sites which haven't been turned into a tourist resort, where one can sit and contemplate things without being jostled and hustled from one room to the next?
I went to Sachsenhausen, just outside Berlin. It wasn't touristy at all, and you have a chance to think and reflect. It has the distinction of being one of the only camps in a city, which I found overwhelming.
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  #30  
Old 01.08.2011, 17:08
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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I think he is talking about Auschwitz I, which is relatively small and restored to a museum where you are led through several stone buildings (former barracks) with exhibitions. Auschwitz II / Birkenau (on the pictures) is so huge that it is impossible to get crowded, this has not been restored and is in fact a graveyard as the ashes of the victims were scattered between the barracks. It is extremely impressive.

I also recommend to take Krakow as a base for your visit and also to visit the salt mines in Wieliczka
I've just finished a book called 'Sarah's Key' by Tatiana de Rosnay.
Whilst it is a work of fiction, it's based on the actual treatment of thousands of Jewish children, rounded up in the Velodrome d'hiver in Paris in 1942 and who were then sent to concentration camps without their parents, and from where thousands were exterminated.
I gather the book is being made into a film, which will undoubtedly be as poignant and sad as Schindler's List.
Although I lived through the bombing in London during the last world war, I know very little of the treatment of the Jews by the French themselves, and by the French police in particular.
It's uncomfortable reading, but very well written.
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  #31  
Old 01.08.2011, 17:26
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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I think he is talking about Auschwitz I, which is relatively small and restored to a museum where you are led through several stone buildings (former barracks) with exhibitions. Auschwitz II / Birkenau (on the pictures) is so huge that it is impossible to get crowded
Yes that is the place I was referring to.
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  #32  
Old 01.08.2011, 17:44
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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It sounds dreadful - for all the wrong reasons!

I don't want to derail LiB's thread (although he might also be interested in the answer), but do you know of any similarly preserved sites which haven't been turned into a tourist resort, where one can sit and contemplate things without being jostled and hustled from one room to the next?
We went to Bergen Belsen which is north of Hanover and it was very much like that. There were some exhibits, a pretty harrowing film and otherwise you were free to wander as you like. There were no actual buildings left but plenty of opportunity to sit and contemplate. I have the book somewhere, I could send it to you if you want.
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  #33  
Old 01.08.2011, 17:44
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

Oświęcim and Brzezinka are definitevly a must, they are close to Krakow and Katowice.
I liked Krakow very much!

I don't think that Auschwitz is crowded - there are plenty of museums in the area, almost all the buildings are transformed into it. There are many national installations which are also worth visiting.
The prison area and the gas chambers are crowded only.

Birkenau is schocking, it is worth to start with the first ramp or first stop outside the camp. When the camp was opened the people had to get off those trains outside of the camp and walk into it. Just be there and feel this and then walk that route inside.

There are children's drawings on some walls, inscriptions in the common toilet (imagine a huge room with a long board with a lot of holes in it - that was the toilet) and there is a text on the wall: Verhalte dich ruhig! (or something similar).
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  #34  
Old 02.08.2011, 10:52
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

Thank you everybody for the useful information and links provided.
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  #35  
Old 02.08.2011, 11:22
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

I went two years ago. We hired a car, mainly because I took my elderly other on her pilgrimage. Auschwitz/Birkenau is quite far from Krakow and a car helps you to do things at your own pace. Poland is easy to drive around in.

Krakow is an awesome city and I loved it. There are so many nice restaurants and I feasted on Duck, Boar, Barszcz (Polish Beetroot Soup) and Pierogi (Dumplings). The people in Krakow are super friendly. Be sure to visit some lovely restaurants and coffee houses in the Jewish Quarter.

The camps were not crowded when I was there (November) and I strongly recommend a guide for Auscwitz. Birkenau is pretty self explanatory as there is nothing but barracks and destroyed ovens. There is so much to learn from the guides in Auschwitz that I believe you might miss if you do it alone.

I was not rushed or ushered about by the guides.

Photos can be taken, but not everwhere. For example you cannot take pictures of the ovens or belongings taken from the prisoners.

The drive to the camps is eery as everything within a 1-2 radius of the camps seems to die. There are no birds and even the trees seem lifeless. The place reeks of death.

I urge you to go and commend your intent.

I can also recommend The Angel House B&B - clean, nice, cheap and very friendly.
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  #36  
Old 02.08.2011, 11:29
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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I went two years ago. We hired a car, mainly because I took my elderly other on her pilgrimage. Auschwitz/Birkenau is quite far from Krakow and a car helps you to do things at your own pace. Poland is easy to drive around in.

Krakow is an awesome city and I loved it. There are so many nice restaurants and I feasted on Duck, Boar, Barszcz (Polish Beetroot Soup) and Pierogi (Dumplings). The people in Krakow are super friendly. Be sure to visit some lovely restaurants and coffee houses in the Jewish Quarter.

The camps were not crowded when I was there (November) and I strongly recommend a guide for Auscwitz. Birkenau is pretty self explanatory as there is nothing but barracks and destroyed ovens. There is so much to learn from the guides in Auschwitz that I believe you might miss if you do it alone.

I was not rushed or ushered about by the guides.

Photos can be taken, but not everwhere. For example you cannot take pictures of the ovens or belongings taken from the prisoners.

The drive to the camps is eery as everything within a 1-2 radius of the camps seems to die. There are no birds and even the trees seem lifeless. The place reeks of death.

I urge you to go and commend your intent.
Thank you for your detailed post.

I was thinking of driving overthere from Switzerland to visit the former concentration camp and then head up to Berlin. However, as more people seem to suggest a visit to Krakow, I feel that I might stay a day or 2 and experience the culture as well.
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  #37  
Old 02.08.2011, 11:39
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

Going there to Krakow in 3 weeks, with a visit to Danzig / Gdansk Stutthof camp up north ( Sztutowo ).

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  #38  
Old 02.08.2011, 11:56
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

Maybe I can give you another alternative, maybe this is now the right time fro this post.

Autumn trip
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  #39  
Old 02.08.2011, 12:01
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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Maybe I can give you another alternative, maybe this is now the right time fro this post.

Autumn trip
the pictures gave me goosebumps
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Old 02.08.2011, 12:24
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Re: Visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp

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The drive to the camps is eery as everything within a 1-2 radius of the camps seems to die. There are no birds and even the trees seem lifeless. The place reeks of death.
Maybe there are more places like that?

When I first arrived at Krakow airport we took the wrong way out and ended up in an area that was really totally eerie. There were ruined pill boxes and disintegrating watch towers stretching on for miles and zig-zagging concrete walls and fences of rusted barbed wire and deep trenches that had partly collapsed and it was all overgrown with birch trees, nothing else. You'd expect some ruin like that to be smothered in graffiti but it was all untouched and there were very few signs of people coming there at all. I have no idea what that was but it reminded me of some Nazi concentration camp. Does anybody with local knowledge know where I might have been? It was very close to the airport.
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