It started in 1940 as a concentration camp for Polish political prisoners, and then in 1942 Auschwitz became the focal point for the extermination of European Jews. During 1940-1945 period, the Nazis killed about 1,500,000 here, mainly Jews but also Poles, POWs, Gypsies, Russians, and other nationals. The museum-guide shows you the exhibitions in some of the surviving prison blocks, the gas chamber, and the crematorium. After a short break, you will continue to Birkenau / Auschwitz II, where you will ascend the watchtower above the entrance gate to catch a glimpse of this largest of all Nazi extermination camps.
You can either participate on the popular organised daily coach tour (including pick-up/drop-off from some Krakow hotels) or enjoy our private tour with an English-speaking personal driver. It is good to have one’s own driver, because Auschwitz I and II are quite distant from each other.
Visiting Auschwitz for the first time can be shocking and we do not recommend the trip for children under 12, though on the other hand it is a place which is maintained as a memorial and people should not avoid it. We suggest that you prepare yourself for the trip by reading some of the numerous books or articles on the topic.