Auschwitz Museum

Auschwitz Museum Overview

The Auschwitz Museum draw tourists from all over the globe for being a notorious reminder of the horrors committed by German Nazis against more than 1.3 million captives during World War II and the Holocaust. The Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum is located on the grounds of the Auschwitz concentration camps and includes Auschwitz I, the principal concentration camp, and the remains of Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Nazi Germans constructed and ran these camps during their occupation of Poland from 1939 to 1945.

Auschwitz concentration camp sites have been preserved by the Polish government to pay homage to the million people, including 960,000 Jews in Auschwitz, who died there during World War II and the Holocaust. These were designated a World Heritage Site in 1979 and are the only concentration camps that got this status. Tadeusz Wsowicz and many other former Auschwitz prisoners founded the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum in April 1946 under Poland's Ministry of Culture and Art directions to preserve the Auschwitz campgrounds. But it was formally opened on July 2, 1947, after the Poland parliament passed the act to establish the museum.

The museum grounds contain thousands of camp structures and ruins, such as the ruins of the Auschwitz gas chambers and crematoria, as well as more than 12 km of the camp fence and roads and the train ramp at Birkenau. The Auschwitz Museum also houses a plethora of artifacts with distinctive features, symbolic meanings, and historical value. The Auschwitz Birkenau Museum is now used for study, conservation, publication, and archival purposes.

Why Visit the Auschwitz Museum?

  • The Auschwitz tour to museum depicts the horrifying history of the Auschwitz Concentration Camps, telling the negative effects of hatred and discrimination.
  • The grounds of the former Nazi concentration camp in Oświęcim, together with all the buildings and equipment found there are preserved and displayed in the Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum to honour the Martyrdom of Jews and others.
  • It features documents and materials related to the Nazi crimes as well as works of art created secretly by Auschwitz inmates, including cards, tiny everyday objects, devotional pieces, and drawings that present the actual life in these concentration camps.
  • The museum provides a deep insight into life during the Holocaust through the personal belongings of the inmates as well as of the SS.
  • Here, you will also learn about the history of the museum itself as well as about Tadeusz Wąsowicz, a Holocaust survivor and the founder of the museum.
  • There you can also visit Wieliczka Salt Mine a fascinating pilgrimage into the past because they have hundreds of kilometers of galleries filled with artwork, buried chapels, and statues molded in salt.
  • Besides its permanent exhibits, the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions displaying its collections, archives, and borrowed objects from other Polish and international institutions to educate visitors about Auschwitz.

Things to See in Auschwitz Museum

The Auschwitz Birkenau Museum features treasures from the Auschwitz concentration camps, including personal items used by the SS and prisoners, artwork produced by them covertly or on order, and the ruins of buildings and equipment. These exhibits of the historical collection, works of art, and archives provide a glimpse into the arduous conditions in the camps and the effects of racism and hatred.

Historic Collections

Tens of thousands of items with unique characteristics, special significance, and unique symbolism are part of the historical collection at the Auschwitz Museum. The collection includes items that deportees brought with them and were later discovered there after liberation. Along with items related to the SS garrison, the perpetrators of the crime, Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum also includes items used by the camp's inmates like thousands of shoes, 3,800 pieces of baggage, more than 12,000 food utensils, 470 orthoses and prosthetics, 397 striped camp attire, and almost 4,100 pieces of art made by the inmates. There are also pieces of evidence of crimes directly related to extermination, such as Zyklon B cans and the ruins of gas chambers and crematoria.

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Works Of Art

The largest and only collection of its sort in the world, the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum's Works of Art portrays the feelings that the prisoners experienced on a daily basis. The fact that these pieces were created in extremely dangerous circumstances, the collection has a significant historical significance and emotional value. This collection includes works created both secretly and under the SS's command, depicting the hard life of the concentration and extermination camps. Other highlights of this collection include the drawings and small items created by prisoners for personal use as well as the artwork created by them for the Lagermuseum and art pieces produced by former captives after the war.

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The Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum's Archives collection includes original documents made by camp offices during the Auschwitz camps' operational times and original documents created by Auschwitz prisoners during the camp resistance movement. Additionally, the collection includes copies of Auschwitz-related materials acquired from other organisations, postwar sources like trial transcripts, witness reports, and former prisoners' memoirs, as well as drawings and audio-visual materials. The majority of the records kept in the Archives were found on the grounds of the freed camp or in locations where they were secretly sent while the camp was still in operation. Additional materials are collections from former inmates, their families, and different industrial sites that served as Auschwitz sub-camps.

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Know Before You Go

Essential Information
How To Reach

Location: Więźniów Oświęcimia 20, 32-603 Oświęcim, Poland


December: 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

January and November: 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

February: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

March and October: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

April, May, and September: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

June, July, and August: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Closure: January 1, December 25, and Easter Sunday

Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit the Auschwitz Museum is in April and September because of the mild weather and low tourist season. Additionally, scheduling your visit for the morning of a weekday is a great way to escape the weekend crowds.

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  • By Train: Take a train from Krakow to Oswiecim, which lies 2 km from Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum. There are local buses from the train station to Auschwitz I.
  • By Bus: Four bus companies run between Auschwitz I and Krakow.
  • By Car: You can get to the museum by car from Krakow in one and a half hours. Free parking is available at Stanisawy Leszczyskiej street.
  • By Air: There are two international airports Kraków-Balice and Katowice-Pyrzowice located about 50 km from Oświęcim.
  • Guided Tours: Book a guided tour from Krakow for hassle-free return transportation and access to both Auschwitz Museum sites.

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How old is the Auschwitz Museum?

The Auschwitz Museum was established in April 1946 on the former Nazi Germany concentration and concentration camp sites. However, it was formally opened on July 2, 1947, when the Polish parliament passed an act establishing the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum, making it about 75 years old.

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What is the best time to explore the Auschwitz Museum?

The best time to visit Auschwitz Museum is on weekday mornings around the time it opens to explore its grounds and collection with only a few people around. Additionally, plan your trip in the months of April and September to take advantage of the excellent weather and shoulder tourism season.

What is special about the Auschwitz Museum?

The Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum depicts the remains of the grave human crime that occurred during World War II and the Holocaust, as well as Nazi Germany's hate of Jews. It depicts the extraordinarily tough existence that prisoners had in the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camps through the remains of structures and equipment used, as well as the artworks and personal belongings of the victims.

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How long should one spend inside the Auschwitz Museum?

You must spend 2 to 3 hours at Auschwitz Birkenau Museum to fully understand the Nazis' heinous crimes during World War II and Holocaust. When travelling independently, you are free to spend as much time as you like. However, if you book a guided tour, your package will determine how much time you spend in the museum.

Who created the Auschwitz Museum?

A group of former prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camps led by Tadeusz Wsowicz established the Auschwitz Museum in April 1946 under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Art. Although it was officially granted the status of Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum by the Polish parliament on July 2, 1947.


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