One of tours provided by our company Legendary Krakow, will take you to absolutely unique place in the world. Our professional drivers speaking fluent English, will take care of you since beginning till the end of this trip. Around 60 kilometers away from city center is located one of the most horryfing places on earth, Auschwitz, the biggest and most known former Nazi German concetration camp, the place where humanity was forgotten and dignity of a man was an empty word ,in fact it became the symbol of genocide. The programm of mass immediate extermination of Jews known in history as Holocaust was run here, other nationalities like Poles, Gypsies, French, Greek, Italians and others were victims of that crime as well. To run this process, executions, cruelty, terrror, slavery work, gas chambers and starvation were used as tools.
At the beginning you`re crossing the gate with famous or it is better to say with infamous german sentence above it, Arbeit macht frei – The work will set you free. Of course there`s a lot of cruel irony behind those words, because everyone could be dead but not free here. How this nightmare began? Looking for origins of this place,we must go back in time till the year 1939, on 1st of September that year, early in the morning Poland was attacked by the Nazi Germany from the west,two weeks later on 17th of Septeber soviet Red Army invaded Poland from east side. Due to that territory of Poland was divided into two parts, the western part of the country till 1945 was occupied by the Germans. After loosing so called September Campaign, first signs of resistance against Germans appeared, so a lot of arrestings began, prisons were overcrowded and Germans began to think about good, convenient place to be able to lock bigger number of prisoners in one place. In the spring of 1940 some German commissions began to travel around to look for such a place, and they found a small city of Oświęcim renamed later to Auschwitz ( it was typical policy of occupiers, to change polish names to german), with not more than 15~16 thousands of inhabitants during the time of war. The whole area is perfectly isolated by two rivers flowing nearby, what more important the camp was almost ready to be used as a place of prisoners isolation with good developed network of rail lines, it was industrialiased region of Poland like today. Before the II World War it was the place used by Polish Army, artillery troops, so Germans just adopted all buildings inside the complex to the needs of a concentration camp. Originally there were twenty buldings mostly with basic floor, later when camp began to expand, the first floor was added to each building and eight new ones were build to keep prisoners inside.
When entering the camp it is worth stopping for a while just behind the main gate, because on the right side you`ll see the bulding with row of chimneys on the roof and an unusual photograph in front of it. The building was a camp kitchen preparing meals for prisoners, and the photograph shows strange almost idyllic view, there`s orchestra standing in front of camp kitchen and playing. Every morning prisoners formed in so called commandos (groups, teams, squads) were leaving the camp to work in nearby located factories and farms, they were used as a workforce. Every evening they were coming back to camp, and Germans found it will be easier, faster, more convenient if prisoners are marching according to the rhythm of the music. Every time leaving or returning, prisoners were counted by the guards at the gate and number every time should be the same. It means if someone was killed or died due to hard work during the day, in the evening his cofellows, coprisoners were carrying dead body back to the camp, the number all the time should be the same.
On the other side of the main alley, opposite the camp kitchen building (so called bloc) number 24 is located. There was a special room, space for the camp orchestra to make rehearseals inside, nowadays archives of the museum Auschwitz – Birkenau and other offices are situated here. But bloc number 24 was a scene of other unusual event in history of this concetration camp. For many years after the war it was covered with silence, for many people it was not seroius to talk about that facing suffering and death of thousands in this place.