Exploring Poland: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Auschwitz, Poland

I was really torn about writing this post. Auschwitz-Birkenau is such an emotional place and I felt such rage about how people behaved there. I felt really uneasy about people taking selfies, people filming videos of the exhibition rooms and saying crude things as they walked around. I snapped a few photos of the outside and then felt an feeling of guilt. But I honestly believe that everyone should make the trek to the camps at least once as it's so incredibly important to see it with your own eyes. This is why I decided to blog about it.

Everyone knows the background of Auschwitz-Birkenau. It's something we learn about all throughout School and from family members. Personally as well as my Secondary education, I also studied the rise of Nazism for A Level history. It's terrifying to see the signs today, it seems as if people have forgotten what happened in the 1930's. Forgotten how someone like Hitler rose to power. Being European, it's a place that's ingrained in our conscious. You know the horrors and the sheer brutality but I don't think you can truly quite understand what happened until you see it for yourself. Until you see those gas chambers. Until you see that execution wall. Until you see those mugshots on the wall of the people who passed through those gates. Until you see the tiny brick huts where prisoners slept. Until you see the endless pile of human hair piled up behind a glass wall taken from prisoners.

I left with such a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and filled with anger. It was terrifying to see just how close Hitler was to achieving his ultimate goal. But I was also so glad that I finally was able to visit. We did a guided tour with Escape 2 Poland and I learnt so much. I honestly thought I knew all about it but our guide was so knowledgeable that I found myself in awe. He really did make the trip.

If you find yourself visiting Krakow, then please do schedule in a trip to see the camps. Despite it being so difficult to visit, it's also so important to visit. It's so important to make sure history never repeats itself as sometimes, history can be forgotten.


  1. I visited here about 11 years ago on a school trip, and I felt exactly the same as you. There were school trips there who were laughing and joking (no selfies as it was pre-iPhones) and I was absolutely LIVID at those who didn't walk through respectfully. The whole experience really shook me and I totally agree that everyone should visit. I have a post coming up soon on 'how to do history properly' including my recent visits to Hiroshima and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg because I think people just ignore those parts of a destination to stick their heads in the sand. Well done for going, I really do know how hard it is.

  2. This is haunting, but so important. I'm glad it's still open, too, because it's a really important reminder as to what happens if we leave dictators unchecked... so scarry. I'm so glad you treated the tour with respect. I'd love to go some time.

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  4. Even though I do think it would make me incredibly emotional I would love to visit here one day for myself, it's something that was so horrific that I almost feel people should visit the camp, just to make sure that nothing ever even close to this happens again in anyone's lifetime.

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  5. I would like to visit one day, although I can't believe how some of the other tourists were behaving. I went to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a few years back and found all the selfie sticks so distasteful. x

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