Visiting a place like this will leave you deeply affected. Seeing the things I’ve only read about or seen pictures of left an impression that will last for the rest of my life.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is the worst place on earth. It always will be.
Our original plan was to visit Berlin and see Lady Gaga but she had to cancel due to an injury. That left us with 10 days in Berlin which we thought was way to long.
We had talked about visiting Auschwitz before, so decided this was the time. Krakow is close enough to Berlin for a quick trip within a trip. It cost about $100 CDN each for us to fly into Poland and the Holiday Inn located right in downtown Krakow was only about $80 CDN a night.
You need advance tickets to visit Auschwitz. They are free of charge and you can get them here. It’s strongly recommended you don’t just show up as you may have to wait hours to get in. Also, tickets give you a tour with a guide and you really should have someone explain everything you’ll see.
It’s one thing to see pictures. It’s another thing altogether to look upon piles of human hair, shoes, toys, luggage with names scrawled on them, the barracks, and a wall used as a backdrop to stop bullets as they passed through people.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a tourist destination, it’s a memorial. Remember that.
There are rules for photography. Don’t take a photo of the human hair or anything else you’re instructed not to. This isn’t the place for a selfie.