Visiting Concentration Camps

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by Dieppe, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Dieppe

    Dieppe Senior Member

    Jean and I would like, sometime in the future, to visit one of the camps like Belsen or Auschwitz.
    We have only recently got interested in WW2 (our areas are WW1 and the 1745 Jacobite Rising) and that interest only really covers Dunkirk, D-Day and Arnhem (along with the units mentioned in my signature), so we know zilch about the Concentration Camps.
    However, we have obviously heard about them and feel that they are places we should visit; even if just to show we remember all those who were incarcerated in them.

    So, now to the question!!

    Is there a map showing the locations of the camps (even if it is just the major/infamous ones.
    Are there proper tours to the camps (like WWI battlefield tours)?

    Many thanks.
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

  5. Dieppe

    Dieppe Senior Member

    Ron, Owen & Paul: Thank you all for the info, it is very much appreciated.
    I did Google for a map, but when you don't know anything about a subject you're not sure if you're looking at the right info.
    Anyhoo, thanks for the help everyone!
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Lee, if you want to go on your own, which I suspect you do, use all of the tour itineraries we have linked to, and fire-up Google Earth. That will give you an idea where everything is.
  8. Dieppe

    Dieppe Senior Member

    Cheers Paul, we might well do that!
  9. Zoya

    Zoya Partisan

    From my experience, I would avoid a coach/organised tour if at all possible. You end up being rushed around in a group, with often not enough time to see everything, and more importantly, to take it in.

    My experience of Auschwitz was of being quickly moved from one horror to another, with no time to reflect or take a breather, and the end result was either emotional overload, or somehow switch off. I found I couldn't do the latter, and it made it very difficult for me to complete the tour. It really is horrific. Especially when you go straight from block 11, the punishment block to the small gas chamber at Auschwitz 1 (the only gas chamber not to be destroyed by the camp guards before deserting the camp). There also wasn't enough time, so we didn't get to see the remains of the gas chambers at Birkenau, and the selction platform we only saw from the distance of the guard tower.

    If you can, take a train to Auschwitz and then take a bus, or walk the mile to the camp from the station. Pay for an individual guide when you get there, it's not too expensive. I wishe we'd have done it that way. If you want to stay anywhere fairly close, Krakow is the nearest large city, and is a beautiful place. Unlike Warsaw, it was left virtually undamaged at the end of the occupation.

    Hth! :)
  10. chipmunk wallah

    chipmunk wallah Senior Member

    I heartily echo Zoyas thoughts. Do visit the state museum at Auschwitz ,Dont do it as part of a coach party! These people are generaly not respected by the guides as most tour buses turn up,spend a couple of hours gawping at the horror then go off for a nice jolly to the local salt mine(which is actually well worth a visit but on another day.)
    Also,as you are new to the subject I imagine,and I mean no disrespect,you will probably be basing some knowladge on say Shindlers list? Well,if that is the case,if you stay in Krakow his old factory is still in pretty much the same condition it was during the war.Easily located in the Podgorzedistrict just over the river from Krakows old town center. Also,if your feet are up to the walk,a couple of good miles away is the site of the former Plasow KZ .Not much there,a few memorials in Polish,the old SS barracks is now a private residence and all that remains of the butcher Goethes villa is the cellar,or rather a big hole.Still very spooky though.

    BERESFORD Junior Member

    tey holocaust camp locations tou can then enter the individual locations into google
    for more specific info
    If you go to Auschwitz which you can do from Krakow there is a guided tour
    of both the Main camp and might prefer just to go round on your own
    Also been to Dachau which is rather more interpretive of the development of anti
    semitism so has a different perspective albeit that 30,000 people died there 1933-45
    and only 1 building but the same atmosphere,


    BERESFORD Junior Member

    Re coach parties at Auschwitz

    Our driver had trouble finding the place ended up having to ask a local villager.
    Had no time at Birkenau. frankly if commercial firms are going to do this visit.
    Do the prep make sure your drivers know where the camp is and give it the time it deserves not just a stop, off on the route from Warsaw to Krakow.
  13. DaveBrigg

    DaveBrigg Member

    We booked a local tour to Aushwitz from Krakow, and although it was a 'full' day it didn't give enough time to see the whole site. We wanted to wander to the ruined (destroyed) areas furthest from the main gate, but had to return to the bus. To be honest, what happened there was so overwhelming that it was hard to comprehend the scale of the tragedy.

    Terezin, in the Czech Republic, (formerly Theresienstadt) is also well worth a visit. A lot of it is brick built, so in a better state of repair, and apart from a museum section most of it seems to be in the same state as when it was at the end of the war. I don't know if there are tours; we stopped off while driving back (north) from Prague. It wasn't a 'death' camp as such, but most of the occupants met their ends at other camps such as Auschwitz.
  14. Trincomalee

    Trincomalee Senior Member

    I don't know whether it's available in translation , but you could read "Der Totenwald" by Ernst Wiechert . He was imprisoned in Buchenwald before the war and this account was buried in the garden until after the war . It gives a sense of how much was already happening in the 1930's .

    BERESFORD Junior Member

    I don't know whether it's available in translation , but you could read "Der Totenwald" by Ernst Wiechert . He was imprisoned in Buchenwald before the war and this account was buried in the garden until after the war . It gives a sense of how much was already happening in the 1930's .

    Certainly was in the case of disabled people murdered in special centres in Germany and Austria after 1938
    Legislation regarding enforced sterilisation fromm 1933 if I remember correctly
    See The Nazis a warning from History for the story of one victim
    Manfred includes an interview with his sister
    she demonstrates how he waved to her the last time she saw him the Aplerbeck Hospital near Dortmund (see Wikipedia nfro more info)

    1 victim I know about among millions.

Share This Page