Blog Article / 15 February 2018
Visit death camps built in Poland during World War 2
The museums and memorials on the grounds of the former concentration camps can help tell the horrific story of Europe’s 20th century fascism. Although few tourists in Europe will dwell on thoughts of the horrors of Nazism, most will treasure visiting the memorials of the fascist reign of terror and honoring the wishes of its survivors, and some will visit these camps to pay their respect to those who perished at the camps. The camps built in Poland during World War II are there to demonstrate the intolerance and fascist nature of the time. It is also a place to show all of the saved remains within the museums. Below we present some of these horrendous camps and the activities carried out by the Nazis.
Auschwitz is a compulsory visit area for every human being on earth. It has gradually become one of the most powerful symbols of our civilization and 20th century history. To visit Auschwitz is an emotive journey and a deeply personal experience for everybody. The place expressively shows the anatomy of horror – both the obvious horrors and their link with hidden, everyday evil.
It was the largest Nazi extermination camp, and the site of the largest Fascist genocide. The Nazi’s killed a great amount of Jews, but also Poles, Russians POWs, Gypsies and other nationalities in the years 1940-1945. The area is well-preserved and these days it is home to Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum. This site, which the Holocaust museum resides in, is now listed as UNESCO Heritage.
In Majdanek, the prisoner barracks and monuments containing the aged ashes of the victims of the camp can still be seen. An approximation of 80 000 people who were killed either by gunshot or gas chambers; 60 000 of them being Jews. Majdanek was initially created as a small camp for soviet POW‘s and later used for the displacement of Jews from Zamojszczyzna Region. Shortly after the Nazi Germany offensive in Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the camp was restructured to contain over 50 000 prisoners. Most of the prisoners were too weak to work and almost all of them died by February 1942.
About 150 000 of the people in this camp were used for labour inside the camp and also in German companies located near Lublin within 1941 to 1944. The number of victims was smaller than that of Auschwitz or Belzec, but the means of extermination were just as cruel as everywhere or even worse. Execution firing squads was considered a norm here.
Treblinka is the cruelest and second largest Nazi extermination camp, where 700 000 people were killed unmercifully within the span of a year. While Auschwitz is precisely reconstructed and resides in a cultural landscape with historic traditions, Treblinka is in a remote site, which lacks big cities nearby, only fields and woods. Treblinka was primarily meant for the conduction of execution.
Treblinka was the last destination for the almost 2500 Jews of Bransk. They were brought there via Bielsk by train on November 8, 1942. It is also where a large number of people from the ghettos of Warsaw were brought during Grossaktion Warsaw.
Till this day, Sobibor still has a strong sense of desolation and underdevelopment that so characterized this dark place. It was a part of “Operation Reinhard”, which was the deadliest part of the Holocaust, in Poland. These camps were built exclusively for the objective of systematic mass murder by means of gas chambers. About 200 000 people were murdered here.
Sobibor consisted of two camps that were sectioned into three units: barracks and storage, administration unit, and the extermination, burial, and cremation unit. Located in a meagerly inhabited area of Poland in order not to invite much outside attention, Sobibor was tactically situated when compared to other concentrations of Jews in the Polish cities of Chelm and Lublin. The planners took account of the experience already gained from building the Belzec concentration camp, and they used local workers to build the camp. The site is somewhat better known than its counterparts because of the revolt of 1943.
Contact us to book your private tour from Warsaw to the Sobibor Camp.
The extermination camp at Chelmno was a death camp designed exclusively for killing all those who were brought there. Jews of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto and the local inhabitants of Reichsgau Wartheland were mostly killed there. The only people to be saved were a small group of workers selected by the Germans for work connected with their criminal activities. During the German occupation only a very few people in Poland ever perceived its existence or the hundreds of thousands of deaths that took place there.
Those who were brought here believed till the end that they were there to take on fortification jobs in the East. They were told to take off their clothes for disinfection and have a bath before going further. After undressing, they were ushered into a large lorry that was to take them to the bath-house. Unbeknownst to them, the lorry was outfitted with carbon monoxide which was supplied into the lorry when the engine started. Afterwards, the lorry was driven a few miles away and the corpses were unloaded and buried.
Contact us to book your private tour from Warsaw to the Kulmhof (Chelmno) Camp.
We offer group and private tours to Stutthof Camp as well, which includes a hotel pick up and drop off, at chosen time. The Nazi camp at Stutthof for civilians was established on 2 September 1939, and then it turned into a special labor camp and finally a concentration camp. Some 125 000 prisoners from 13 European countries were kept here. 85 000 were killed. It was the first Nazi camp on Polish territory and the last to be liberated. The State Stutthof Museum is now located at the campsite, featuring relics of the past.
Want to know more about death and concentration camps in Poland? Book one of our tours from Warsaw to the camps here.
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