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21. Posted by dougj (Budding Member 32 posts) 11y

you can get a bus from krakow to auschwitz and birkenau.
it's a surreal and sobering experience. I'm glad that I went though.

22. Posted by steff (Travel Guru 1160 posts) 11y

Being German I have more or less always been confronted with my country's history and when I was in school we did various trips to camps within Germany. I also went to Ausschwitz with my parents.
As I was fairly young then (around 11) it was a very surreal and moving experience. Thinking back it still puts a big lump in my throat today.

23. Posted by schept (Budding Member 16 posts) 11y

I would really recommend going to Krakow and Auschwitz. In Krakow, you can actually take a "schindler's list" tour past both original (factory/museum) and cinematic (the cliff/the bridge) places.

Auschwitz is indeed chilling. I can't really say much about it, since I don't have the ability to reach inner emotions with the words i write. I do have some advice. Do try to read some people who have that ability. There's plenty of literature. Especially Primo Levi's "Is this a Human"(literally translated from Dutch, so the title could be something different) is very good. I believe this is "the Auschwitz classic". It's about the social dynamics inside the camp. Also Anne Frank's diary is advisable. It's not about auschwitz, but about her teenage life in Amsterdam during the war years. She was sent on the last train leaving for Poland and died in Auschwitz.

Another advice. Don't forget to go to camp II: Birkenau. It was very crowdy in camp 1 where the expositions are (strange term, when it refers to thousands of glasses/suitcases with names/zyklon B capsules and women hair. Apperently people seem to skip Birkenau, because there were hardly people there. The sheer size and the absence of many people make it even more impressive. Schindler's List viewers may recognise some shots.

P.S. don't think however that a trip to Krakow will be all about the war etc. This city is great and has a milion other interesting things besided the near murder camp.

24. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Quoting schept

go to camp II: Birkenau...The sheer size and the absence of many people make it even more impressive.

That's what struck me...the SHEER SIZE, it was way bigger than I would have ever imagined. When I was there, there also were very few other visiters there, which helps when imagining what it was like there 60 years ago.

25. Posted by angela_ (Respected Member 1732 posts) 11y

Quoting Travel100

Quoting angela_

For a history course I took once I read Schindler's List and wrote an essay on Brinnlitz, Schindler's work camp. It was chilling to see how people were treated but good to see kindness prevail in such a harsh enviroment.

Did you ever see the movie? It was an excellent film!

Yes, I did. I really thought it was amazing but the book moved me even more.

26. Posted by DBusby (Budding Member 17 posts) 11y

I am visiting at the end of June. Is it worth getting a tour guide? Or is it better to wonder around on your own?

Also, where's the nearest train station?

Thanks.

27. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Quoting DBusby

I am visiting at the end of June. Is it worth getting a tour guide? Or is it better to wonder around on your own?

Also, where's the nearest train station?

Thanks.

I think you'll be fine wondering around by yourself. I really don't think I'd want to listen to someone constantly talking while visiting such a place. Just read up on it before you go.

Not sure about train because I drove from Krakow.

PS--When you're in the area (I assume you're visiting Krakow) be sure to also visit the Salt Mines just outside Krakow.

28. Posted by dbgomes (Respected Member 72 posts) 11y

What were the Salt Mines like then Travel100???

Why did you like them so much?

29. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Quoting dbgomes

What were the Salt Mines like then Travel100???

Why did you like them so much?

The Salt Mines are like 900 years old and absolutely huge. But the reason they are so "cool" is that the miners carved all kinds of statues, etc. right in the mines. Way down below they have an entire Chapel (pretty large room), with reliefs carved on the walls, statues, chandeliers, etc., and EVERYTHING is carved out of and made with Salt.

http://www.krakow-info.com/wielicz.htm

30. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Check out this picture of the chapel down in the Wieliczka Salt Mine:

Wieliczka