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The concentration camp of Auschwitz (in Polish: Oświęcim) is one of Poland's major sights. Even today it is not hard to imagine what this place must have looked like in the 1940-1945 period. The fortified walls, barbed wire, barracks, gas chambers and cremation ovens show the conditions within which the Nazi genocide took place in the former concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was the largest concentration camp. It is believed that as many as 1.1 million people were systematically murdered in the camp's gas chambers, those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, lack of disease control, individual executions, and medical experiments. 90 percent of those people were jews. The other were mainly Polish citizens, Roma, Sinti and prisoners of war. It is suprising how close the camp is to the village itself. The day Auschwitz was liberated (27th of January) is commemorated around the world as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
These days, it stands as a symbol of humanity's cruelty of the holocaust. The camp serves as a museum. From the hundreds of original baracks only 19 survived.
The camp is closed on January 1, December 25, and Easter Sunday.
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The entrance to the museum is free.
Guided tours are organised and a general tour which takes about 3.5 hours, costs PLN 236.00 and can be booked on the website.
From Krakow you can take the train every hour to Oświęcim. The trip takes 1.5 hours. From the station the distance to the entrance to the camp is walkable.
From Krakow, you can follow the A4, and change it for the 933 at Chrzanów, or follow the 44, that starts just south of Krakow.
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