Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps

Located in the town of Oswiecim (German name - Auschwitz)Auschwitz must be the best known of the German World War II concentration camps, but Birkenau - a little more than a mile away - is much larger.  Both are open to the public.  I had visited Auschwitz in 1992 with Staszek, Ania, and Andy and returned this time with Edward, Dana, and Rita.   Auschwitz is an emotionally difficult place to visit; children under 14 are not even allowed inside the camp.

AuschwitzWorkMakesFree92-.jpg (18827 bytes)

The main entry gate to Auschwitz carrying the inscription "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work makes free) (1992)

The visits started with a movie about the liberation of the camp, shown in the vistor center, then a walk through the main entry gate into the camp, which is surrounded by an electrified barbed wire fence.

AuschwitzFence92-.jpg (17616 bytes)

Electric fences surround the camp. (1992)

The visit continues with exhibits highlighting the Polish prisoners, Jewish prisoners, Gipsy prisoners, and others.  There is a barracks displaying large piles of eyeglasses, suitcases, artificial limbs, and hair taken from prisoners.

AuschwitzBarracks92-.jpg (20053 bytes)

Many of the remaining barracks have been converted to museums covering different aspects of the camp's history. (1992)

AuschwitzPictures92-.jpg (10690 bytes)

Pictures of former prisoners line the wall of a barracks. (1992)


About 4 million people were murdered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, including 2.5 million Jews.  Today, it is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site

AuschwitzKillingWall-.jpg (13136 bytes)

The Killing Wall  at Auschwitz where many prisoners were shot.

AuschwitzOvens92-.jpg (11029 bytes)

Two of the Auschwitz cremation ovens. (1992)

(Click on framed pictures to see a larger version.  Use your browser's back arrow to return to this page.)

Back   Home   Next City

Page last updated May 02, 2004