February 2013
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Poland – Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum – Part 1

Poland is a country located in Central Europe. It has a long Baltic Sea coastline. It is bordered by:
• Belarus
• Czech Republic
• Germany
• Lithuania
• Russia
• Slovakia
• Ukraine

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is a memorial and museum in Oswiecim which is in Poland.

Overview of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

• This museum includes the German concentration camps Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
• It is built in the memory of the murders in both camps during World War II.
• The museum performs many tasks which include the research into the Holocaust.
• This museum was established in April 1946.
• It is confirmed by an act of the Polish parliament on July 2, 1947.
• The director of this museum is Piotr Cywinski.

The Museum
• The museum was founded by resolution of the Polish parliament.
• It was founded on July 2, 1947.
• The area of this museum is about 191 hectares.
• Out of which twenty of them in camp Auschwitz I and 171 in camp Auschwitz II.
• 1979 the former concentration camp has belonged to the World Cultural Heritage.
• More than 25 million people have visited this museum.
• From 1955 to 1990 the museum was directed by one of its founders and former inmates, Kazimierz Smolen.
The areas of remembrance are:
– Auschwitz I
– Auschwitz II-Birkenau
– The train ramp between Auschwitz and Birkenau.
– This train was used as a “debarkation-stop” during 1942–1944.
• The three kilometers distance between Auschwitz and Birkenau are within walking distance.
• The museum is situated in several original buildings.

The National Exhibitions
• The so-called “national exhibitions” have been located in the former concentration camp Auschwitz I since 1960.
• Most of them were renewed from time to time. Out of which are of:
– Belgium
– France
– Hungary
– Netherlands
– Slovakia
– Czech Republic
– The former Soviet Union
• The German exhibition, which was made by the former GDR, has not been renewed since.
• The first national exhibition of the Soviet Union was opened in 1961.
• It was renewed in 1977 and 1985.
• The Soviet part of the museum was closed.
• In 1978 Austria opened its own exhibition.
• It presented itself as a victim of National Socialism.
• The Austrian political scientist Andreas Maislinger came to work in the museum within the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP).
• This was in 1980-81.
• Later he founded the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service.

The museum has allowed scenes for three films to be filmed on the site:
• Pasazerka (1963) by Polish director Andrzej Munk.
• Landscape After the Battle (1970) by Polish director Andrzej Wajda.
• A television miniseries, War and Remembrance (1988).

• The Auschwitz Memorial is more than extensive grounds.
• It is an original camp blocks, barracks, and guard towers.
• It is also tens of thousands of objects of a special nature.
• They have special meaning, and special symbolism.
• It is the personal possessions that were brought by deportees and found at the site after liberation.
• They make up a unique collection of items.
• These items are connected with the suffering of the people deported to Auschwitz to be killed immediately.
• Some were those forced into slave labor by the Germans.
• There are also the objects connected with the life of prisoners in the camp.
• They bear testimony not only to the primitive living and hygienic conditions and starvation.
• It shows how to preserve humanity behind the barbed wire of Auschwitz.
• The Museum collections also contain objects that are connected with the SS garrison who were the perpetrators of the crime.

Best time to visit / climate

• The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country.
• The climate is oceanic in the north and west.
• It becomes gradually warmer and continental towards the south and east.
• Summers are generally warm.
• It is with average temperatures between 18 °C (64 °F) and 30 °C (86.0 °F).
• Winters are rather cold.
• There are with average temperatures around 3 °C (37.4 °F) in the northwest and 6 °C (21 °F) in the northeast.
• Precipitation falls throughout the year.
• The warmest region in Poland is Lower Silesian that is located in south-western Poland.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get to Poland?

1. By plane
• Most of Europe’s major airlines fly to and from Poland.
• Poland’s national carriers are LOT Polish Airlines.
• There are also a number of low cost airlines that fly to Poland. These include:
– WizzAir
– EasyJet
– Germanwings
– Norwegian
– Ryanair
There are also direct flights from United States and Canada. LOT operates direct flights from:
– Toronto
– New York
– Chicago
– Non-direct flights from other cities
International airlines fly mainly to Warsaw (WAW). Other major airports in Poland are:
– Krakow
– Katowice
– Gdask
– Pozna
– Wrocaw
– Szczecin
– Rzeszow
– Bydgoszcz
A new terminal has been opened at the Warsaw Chopin airport which will significantly increase the airport’s capacity.

2. By Train
Direct connections with:
• Berlin
• Amsterdam, via Koeln, Hannover
• Kiev via Lviv
• Vienna
• Prague
• Moscow

3. By Car
You can enter Poland by one of many roads linking Poland with the neighboring countries.

4. By Bus
There are many international bus lines that connect major Polish cities.
• Voyager
• Eurolines
• Ecolines
• PolskiBus.com
• Simple Express

5. By Boat
• From Sweden
– Ystad by Unity Line
– Karlskrona by Stena Line
– Nynashamn
– Visby
– Ystad by Polferries

• From Denmark
– Copenhagen
– Bornholm

• From Finland
– Helsinki by Finnlines

• From Germany
– Rostock by Finnlines

6. By Yacht
There are more and more ports along Polish coast. Bigger marinas are located in:
– Szczecin
– Eba
– Hel
– Gdynia
– Gdask

7. By plane
– Polish national carrier LOT has daily connections.
– These are between the biggest cities with a hub in Warsaw.

8. By train
– In Poland, the national railway carriers are PKP InterCity and Przewozy Regionalne.
– There are few local carriers that belong to voivod ships or major cities.
– Train tickets are quite economical.
There are new InterCity routes such as:
• Warsaw – Katowice
• Warsaw – Krakow
• Warsaw – Pozna
• Pozna – Szczecin
Train types
• E-IC (ExpressInterCity) / EC (EuroCity) / Ex (Express)
• TLK (Twoje Linie Kolejowe)
• RE (RegioEkspress)
• IR (InterRegio)
• REGIO / Osobowy
• Podmiejski
• Narrow gauge

Some Travel Books on Poland

Poland Lonely Planet Poland Poland: A Unique Country & Its People

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.in
Hotels at staypoland.com
Hotels at travelpoland.com

Blogs / Sites about Poland

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at tripadvisor.in
Blogs at en.auschwitz.org
Blogs and reviews at lonelyplanet.com

Images and photos of Poland

Images at google.com
Images at wikipedia.org
Images at bbc.co.uk
Images at tripadvisor.com

Videos of Poland

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