Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
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Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau: Tours & Tickets

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5 historical facts about Auschwitz-Birkenau

With the world distracted by war, the Nazis brutally reshaped the demographics of Europe in the south of Poland. The harrowing truth wasn't revealed until far too late, but here are a few of the many things you'll learn on your tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Auschwitz-Birkenau is just one camp in a complex

Auschwitz-Birkenau – or Auschwitz II – was used as a death camp from 1942, primarily for Jews. Auschwitz I had already been holding Polish political prisoners for two years.

It wasn't all run by the state

There was a third camp too. Monowitz – or Auschwitz III – was set up to provide slave labor for IG Farben. The Allies dissolved the chemical company the war.

1.1 million were killed

90% were Jews, but thousands of Poles, Romani, Soviets, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals also died at Auschwitz. As did prisoners from other nationalities.

The world had no idea

Not even most Germans knew what was happening at the camps. Arrivals were met with the slogan "Work sets you free." In hindsight it's hard to say how convincing that actually was.

The camp commander went into hiding

Disguised as a farmer in Gottrupel, Rudolf Höss evaded capture for a year after the war. In spite of his expressed remorsed, he was hung outside the camp's crematorium in 1947.

Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau: Our Tips

What are the opening times?

The Auschwitz-Birkenau museum is open daily from 8am except for January 1st, December 25th, and Easter Sunday. It closes at 3pm from December to February, 4pm in March and November, 5pm in April and October, 6pm in May and September, and 7pm from June to August. The site can be accessed for free but it is advisable to take a tour. If you decide to do so, book your tickets in advance. The best ones fill up very quickly!

How to get there from Krakow?

The easiest way is simply to book an all-in-one tour that leaves from the city. Alternatively, inexpensive buses frequently leave from the basement floor of Krakow's main bus station. You can also take a train to the nearby town of Oświęcim.

When to visit?

Krakow is a wonderful city with a great deal of attraction to please tourists. Though Auschwitz may be an essential part of your trip, it can be emotionally overwhelming. We recommend that you leave it till last.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    8:00 AM - 3:00 PM December through February 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM March, November 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM April, October 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM May, September 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM June, July, August
  • What is the price?
    Basic entrance is free, but it is highly recommended take a tour which will have a cost depending on which one you choose.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It's not required but highly recommended. Best to book in advance online!
  • How to get there
    There are direct buses from Krakow. Alternatively, take the train to Oświęcim and then hop on local bus to the site.
  • Additional tips
    Not recommended for children under 14.

What People Are Saying About Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau

Excellent could be booked from your phone

Excellent from pick up to drop off .Tour guide very knowledgeable and friendly ?

Sad but guide was well versed in the history of Auschwitz

Felt guilty leaving the camp and arriving back at the hotel for a hot shower, how can we be so cruel to another human being? War is War kill or be killed but brutality and cruelty is beyond humanity, to try and destroy the evidence tells me they knew it was wrong so how can you be so scared of a system and lower the standards of a great country like Germany and but those men, women and babies through months, years of torture the lucky ones died on arrival......................sad to say the least, beyond belief.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum & Camp Tour from Krakow Reviewed by Raymond, 10/17/2016

Astonishing experience. Great service and passion.

Great guided tours with a passionate tour guide. Transfers to both camps were easy and great value for money.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum Full-Day Tour from Krakow Reviewed by Stephanie, 10/17/2016

A trip which is a 'must do' on your visit to Krakow

An excellent, well organised trip, with the guide providing so much information about the history, life and conditions within the camps. We were given a valuable insight into the full horrors of what was endured by so many in Auschwitz and Birkenau. A very emotional day, which leaves a lasting impression, but a trip we feel is so worthwhile.

Excellent tour with excellent tour guide

Very interesting tour guide who felt passionate about the history of Auschwitz and Birkenau. It would have been helpful if I had been informed before the trip that medium handbags are not allowed in the museum and must be left in luggage storage or on the bus
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum & Camp Tour from Krakow Reviewed by Deirdre, 10/03/2016

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Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
Based on 360 reviews by GetYourGuide customers