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Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

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Auschwitz-Birkenau is the best-known of the concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. It was the site of at least 1.1 million deaths, predominantly of Jews, but also of Romani people, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, and gay men. The camp was liberated on January 27, 1945, and has been the site of a museum and memorial since 1947. Today it receives over 2 million visitors per year.
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Tickets & Transportation

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From Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Visit and Transportation
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Guided Tours

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From Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour with Pick-up Options
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Auschwitz Ticket and Full-Day Tour from Krakow
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Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial full-day guided tour from Krakow
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Auschwitz Birkenau: Complete Guided Tour with Private Transportation
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Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour Hotel Pickup & Lunch Options
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Krakow: Auschwitz Guided Tour with Optional Lunch and Pickup
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Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour with Pickup & Lunch Options
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Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour Pickup/Lunch Options
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4 Tips for Visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

Sign at the entrance: Arbeit Macht Frei | Photo: Flickr, Greg Clarke - CC-BY-ND 2.0
The site is extremely popular with tour groups, and it can be extremely busy on summer afternoons. If you’d like to visit when the site is less crowded then try to be there early in the morning when it opens.
Auschwitz-Birkenau | Photo: Flickr, Pedro Dias - CC-BY 2.0
There are two parts of the site which can be visited, the older camp in Auschwitz I, and the larger camp built later at Auschwitz-Birkenau II. There’s a free bus to take you from one to the other, make sure to visit both in order to see all the exhibits.
You can’t consume food and drink inside the museum and memorial, so make sure to eat before your visit. There’s a café at the entrance of the site at Auschwitz I, but there aren’t any other food options nearby. You can bring a bottle of water into the site, which is important to remember on hot summer days.
There’s a lot of walking at both sites, sometimes over uneven ground, so wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes. If visiting during summer then make sure to bring a hat and sunscreen as quite a large portion of the tour will be outdoors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I see on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau?

The permanent exhibition at Auschwitz was opened to the public in 1955 and is located in blocks 4, 5, 6, 7, and 11 at the site of the Auschwitz I concentration camp. Visitors will see the names and belongings of the different groups who were sent to the camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, photographs of the camp when it was running, copies of camp records, and original items which were present at the camp. There are exhibits which describe the process of entering the camp, reconstructions of living areas and the living conditions, and the block which was used as cells in the prison jail. Visitors will also see the yard where executions were carried out and an original gas chamber. In addition to the permanent exhibition, each country whose citizens were imprisoned or killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau has been given the opportunity to set up a national exhibit, detailing the connection between that country and the camp. Read more.

What’s the difference between Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau II?

Auschwitz I is the earlier site and was approved in 1940 as a concentration camp for political prisoners. It ended up also being the administrative center for the three camps which made up the Auschwitz complex. Auschwitz I was also the site of the first crematorium and was the location of the first experimental gassing of prisoners with Zyklon B in September 1941. Auschwitz-Birkenau II was a much larger site built in late 1941 and was a combination of labor and extermination camp. It could house 125,000 inmates at a time and had 4 crematoria which were used to gas prisoners. This huge scale meant that most deaths at Auschwitz took place at Auschwitz-Birkenau II. Today most of the exhibits are located in Auschwitz I, but visitors should take the time to see Auschwitz-Birkenau II in order to get a better sense of the size of the camp. The crematoria of Auschwitz-Birkenau II were purposefully destroyed before the liberation of the camp in order to hide evidence, but visitors can still see their remains, in addition to the barracks where prisoners lived, train lines, and some of the freight cars which brought prisoners to the camp. Read more.

At what age is a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau suitable?

The museum recommends that only children over the age of 14 visit the site, but younger children will be allowed inside if their parents decide they’re mature enough for the visit. There’s no separate itinerary or signage for children, so children will need to be able to follow a guide or their parents will need to explain the exhibits to them. Read more.

Are we allowed to take photographs while visiting?

In general, you can take photos while visiting the concentration camp, as long as you aren’t using flash or a tripod inside the buildings. Photography is strictly forbidden in room 5 of block 4 and the cellars of block 11. Visitors are also asked not to use cell phones inside any of the exhibition buildings or in the zone reserved for silence in the courtyard of Block 11. The concentration camp is a somber site of reflection and remembrance and visitors are asked to respect this during their tour, and selfies, in particular, are not recommended. Read more.

General Information

Opening Hours:

The museum is open daily except on January 1, Easter Sunday, and December 25. It opens at 7.30 am all year round, and closes at 2 pm in December, 3 pm in January and November, 4 pm in February, 5 pm in March and October, 6 pm in April, May and, September, and at 7 pm during June, July, and August. Visitors already inside may stay on the site for 90 minutes after the museum closes. The site may be closed temporarily during official state visits, ceremonies of remembrance, and other occasions.


Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
Więźniów Oświęcimia 20
32-603 Oświęcim


Tickets to enter are free, but visitors will need to present a ticket in order to enter. Groups of more than 10 people are required to book a guide, and this should be done at least a month in advance of your visit.

How to get there:

Visitors can arrive via PKS buses or minibusses from Krakow or Katowice. A car park is available at Stanisławy Leszczyńskiej Str. no. 16. The museum is about 2km from the train station of Oświęcim, and the museum is about 20 minutes walk away, or you can take a local bus. Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau II are 3.5km apart, and there is a free shuttle bus which takes visitors from one to the other. Visitors can also walk this distance, there are a few things to see related to the camps while you walk.
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