Non-motoring > Auschwitz Miscellaneous
Thread Author: Bobby Replies: 26

 Auschwitz - Bobby
For years I have been wanting to visit and I still have 5 days holiday to be used before end of March. Thinking of getting a cheap flight to Krakow, stay for a few nights and also take in one of the trips to Auschwitz.

Anyone done this, any pointers / advice etc? Assume it will be very cold in this timescale?

 Auschwitz - Focal Point
" Assume it will be very cold in this timescale?"

If you go in March, it probably won't be very cold, but still fairly cold. Average daytime temperature for Kraków in March is around 7°C, nights nearer freezing. If you go in January or February it will be considerably colder.

As I know from bitter experience in Poland one December, any wind will make a big difference. I ended up wearing thermal long-johns on that trip.
Last edited by: Focal Point on Thu 29 Dec 16 at 17:11
 Auschwitz - CGNorwich
"Anyone done this, any pointers / advice etc?"

My advice would probably be don't go. One of the most depressing and harrowing places I have been in my life. Took me a long while to get that place out of my mind. That is of course good in a way and the people who died such horrible deaths there must be remembered but I found it very difficult personally.

Krakow is a lovely city.
 Auschwitz - rtj70
We did Krakow one summer (very hot!) and made a conscious decision not to go to Krakow. Some friends and relatives kept saying before we went that you have to go... well I know it would be very upsetting and I didn't need to go.

Krakow is an excellent city. It's on our list to return to. It is quite compact in the centre.

We did go to the Schindler factory/museum though. That was interesting.
 Auschwitz - BiggerBadderDave
Visit the salt mines. Absolutely stunning. And you can lick everything, just not the women unfortunately.

If you do Auschwitz, do the mines - bipolar emotion ride.
 Auschwitz - Haywain
"Anyone done this,"

My wife and I visited Krakow some four years ago and I would thoroughly recommend going there. I wouldn’t be too sure about the Jan/Feb/March period, however; we went in mid-October, but it was a very sunny, pleasant, dry autumn and we could walk about the city comfortably.

We used a company called escape2poland and istr that they helped with the hotel booking and excursions while we dealt with the flights. They also dealt with transfers, which was handy. Their help was very useful and it didn’t cost much more than doing it all ourselves, and hoping for the best.

We stayed at a small hotel in the old Jewish quarter, and ours was a quiet backroom overlooking the Remu cemetery. We stayed for 4 nights but we could have saved money by leaving on the 3rd evening rather than hang about for an early departure on the last day.

I thought that I knew all about Auschwitz or, at least, all that I needed to know; I was reluctant, but my wife wanted to go there. We followed our guide in reverential silence as all those black and white photographs that I had seen in books came together as a backdrop. How did I feel? I think the best word would be ‘numbed’. I would describe myself as mildly patriotic, but I hate flag-waving nationalism and, to me, one of the most depressing sights were the crowds of visiting Israeli teenagers waving large Star of David flags. This was not the place to waving any sort of flag.

We visited the salt mine, Schindler’s Factory Museum and had plenty of time to explore the old town and the cafes and restaurants of the arty Jewish quarter. I paid my extra 10 zloty to stare at da Vinci’s ‘Lady with an Ermine’ for 10 minutes in the castle. It felt very odd at one point when, in the room, there was just the lady, the ermine, me ………… and a man with a machine gun.

Would I go again? Yes, I would – most certainly; Krakow is a beautiful city and, again, I would stay in the Jewish quarter and avoid the stag/hen parties in the main tourist area. But, I doubt that anyone would want to look at Auschwitz for a second time.
 Auschwitz - mikeyb
I went about 6 years ago and would recommend it. Yes, it was a sobering experience, but I didn't find it as depressing as everyone told me I would.

I had gone on a boozy boys weekend, and we decided that as we were so close we should make the effort to go. On our way from the airport by taxi we got chatting to the driver and he was really helpful. When we said we thinking of going he offered to take us. Anyway, the guy who took us turned out to be an ex Curator from Auschwitz, and knew the staff so we had our own personal guided tour which made the experience more intimate.

I would really make the effort to do it - I think its one of those experiences that everyone should try to do if they can
 Auschwitz - zippy
>>would really make the effort to do it - I think its one of those experiences that everyone should try to do if they can

I would like to go, but get very upset when I see an animal being hurt let alone other humans.

The place must be harrowing!
 Auschwitz - MD
I tend to get more upset when I see an animal being hurt. Just me.
 Auschwitz - Dutchie
Going back to when I was sixteen I worked with a older chap who had been in Auschwitz Birkenau.

It was a deathcamp he still didn't know how he got out.Seeing a animal hurt is upsetting.

Mass murder innocent children is even more upsetting.Just me.
 Auschwitz - Dutchie
Go and see the place if that is what you want.History is what it is, how humans can behave towards each other and are so easily brainwashed.

 Auschwitz - Dog
- - - Dutchie

A book you may be interested in reading:
 Auschwitz - Armel Coussine
I remember the photos of the death camps from the forties, and very horrible they looked to my child's eye, skeletal corpses lying in the mud like a lot of discarded clothes. .

Much later had the opportunity to visit the sites, but really didn't want to, so didn't.

Sweet little man that Hitler, wasn't he? My very kind father had a similar moustache.
Last edited by: Armel Coussine on Wed 4 Jan 17 at 15:10
 Auschwitz - Ambo
Newsreel coverage of the camps in the forties was so terrible it penetrated my very soul and the images have haunted me ever since. By comparison, actually seeing Buchenwald in the seventies left me cold.
 Auschwitz - Mapmaker
Krakow is a lovely city.

Fly to the airport, catch the train to the city centre and then take trams if you need to. Book your hotel on or - or airbnb.
 Auschwitz - smokie
I've no idea how Auschwitz compares but I visited Dachau last year and found it very moving. Very nicely and "appropriately" presented, warts and all.
 Auschwitz - Bobby
Forgot to update this.
Going out on a cheap Ryanair a week on Sunday. Booked apartments minutes from train station in Krakow so hoping it's a straightforward journey.

Planning on doing Auschwitz, Salt mine and Schindler factory at least. Will try and do some of the Jewish quarter as well. Seem to be loads of churches, Cathedrals etc and even a castle.

Have heard food and drink in square is good value?
 Auschwitz - Focal Point
Food and drink anywhere in Poland will seem incredibly good value!

You may wish to try some Polish favourites: gołąbki (stuffed cabbage leaves in sauce - juicy and tasty), pierogi (like big Italian ravioli, with all kinds of filling, from meat or cheese to fruit), barszcz czerwony (red beetroot soup), and the various sausages and cut meats.

I recommend Tyskie beer (a pale lager). And, of course, there's wodka (vodka), a posh brand of which is Żubrówka (bison grass) - a delicately flavoured drink (40% alcohol).

Have a good time!
 Auschwitz - BiggerBadderDave
Most beers have a 'mocne' version. Darker, stronger and as close to decent beer as you'll get.

If you do fancy a bottle of vodka, don’t get the cheapest. You'll taste the difference between the big brands and the crap. The good stuff is hangover-free, the rubbish It’s hangover fuel. Wyborowa is my fave and the good hotels serve it. Bison Grass is for tourists, they don't drink it but it is tasty for a shot or two. Zubrowka do the proper white stuff too.

And since you're in Poland, drink like a Polish man. Shots chased with juice or coke or water as some do. Tiny shot glasses though, not the silly big ones, the body has reflexive protection mechanism and it can vomit it straight back out again.

Try the golabki as FP said, I love it, fantastic food, the translation is Pigeon although it certainly isn't that. Soup? A carrot and a turnip in a pan of water? I call it warm, dirty water.
 Auschwitz - Dulwich Estate II
Dutchie said "Go and see the place if that is what you want. History is what it is, how humans can behave towards each other and are so easily brainwashed."

Unfortunately although this camp is history, us humans keep on getting brainwashed and keep on doing similar nasty things to other human beings: recent massacres in the Balkans, earlier Pol Pot, Chairman Mao, numerous other cases and now ISIS just tell us that we can't ever end it.

Pretty depressing really.
 Auschwitz - Bobby
Went today. Now sitting in the square in Krakow with a cold beer.
Wife started bubbling as soon as we walked through the gates. Coming the other way, holding on to two helpers, was a Jewish Auschwitz survivor. His first ever visit back to the camp.

Must admit my hay fever kicked in badly at that point.
 Auschwitz - MD
Good man.
 Auschwitz - Bromptonaut
The Lad went as part of his Uni Philosophy course. Affected like you Bobby.
 Auschwitz - rtj70
Enjoy Krakow - it's a great (small city). Lots of walking is in order. We did it in August and it was hot.
 Auschwitz - Bobby
Averaging in excess of 20k steps a day on my Fitbit....
 Auschwitz - Ian (Cape Town)
>> Must admit my hay fever kicked in badly at that point.
Nothing wrong with a manly tear, Bob.

And yet there are still cretins like Irving who claim the whole thing was all made up.
 Auschwitz - Bobby
Before we came out went to see the film about him, Denial.
Then in our tour of Birkenau, the tour guide told us he was involved in the making of that film.
Rules are very strict that no commercial filming is allowed inside any of the camps so he showed where parts were filmed for Denial. He was also the logistics manager for the parts filmed in Poland.
Also in Schindlers list the train was effectively filmed leaving the camp rather than arriving as the cameras weren't allowed inside the camp.
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