Dark Tourism, it’s not for everyone but with Diva Empire Travel we give it a try. This kind of tourism will give you that dark eerie feeling in the pit of your stomach. It gets different emotions from your trip that a sunny island beach would. If anything the allure will have you grow as a person. Be prepared to be open minded and another level of exploring for us traveling women.
Auschwitz is number one on many dark tourism in your travel blog lists and rightfully so. Auschwitz was the largest kill center in Europe in World War 2. Families were separated, people starved, sleeping on top of each, with the smell of burning flesh in the air. People would be told to strip off their clothes for a group shower, and the chambers would be pumped with poisonous cyanide instead. Very grim dark chapter in human history.
Flying into Krakow Poland, Auschwitz will be an hour drive by car or 1.5 with public transportation.
1. When you begin your tour, the first sign you see is “Work sets you free”. Prisoners believed in this motto, and this is terrifying in the outcome.
2. You guys think this is just a museum, but you will actually step inside the camps where they lived, the gas chambers where they burned and the remains of all their personal belongings.
3. The first part of the tour has panoramic black and white photos of the victims. Mothers, fathers, young children. The map makes you realize how far people were transported to here.
4. The next part of the tour shows off the mass amount of belongings. It’s a visual representation of the millions of humans that met their end. There is rows of shoes, glasses, suitcases, cooking ware, human prosthetics and all the hair that was shaven off the scalps.
5. The tour continues with walls of people’s personal information. Imagine long hallways filled with photos and death certificates
6. The next was a building for misbehaving prisoners. The punishment was standing in tight quarters, with no room to move.
7. After the last exhibit, you go the actual gas chambers. This is the only standing gas chamber and crematorium left standing in Auschwitz. It is the most chilling part of this experience. Standing where thousands of lives had been extinguished. This is an awaking to the soul.
8. Now we step into the ruins of Birkenau. The extreme scale of this will give your imagination a ride. An efficient murder factory, it was twenty times bigger than Auschwitz. The tour then takes down into train tracks, where prisoners would enter a gate and separated to live or die. A fact about prisoner life was you were only allowed to use bathrooms two times a day for five minutes with 700 other prisoners at a time. The ruins left on this site were caused by the Nazis, trying to hide their own malicious constructions mostly all the gas chambers.
9. At this point they let you explore on your own, you can walk around for solemn reasons and reflect.
10. Useful tour info:
*Auschwitz is open all year round except Christmas, Easter and New Years
*Closing times vary throughout the year. check website
*Prices vary, the Auschwitz tour costs $15 while Birkenau is free to walk the grounds all year
*You can avoid organized tour before 10am and after 3pm
*plan for four hours at the very least plus transportation
*All inclusive tours from Krakow are a good option $55
*no bags allowed inside and food options are limited
*photography is allowed just be respectful
Auschwitz to me has a deeper connection, because it is in the center of my home land of Poland. Even closer to my birth city of Krakow, so it was mentioned a lot in my life. I visited it the first time in High school, and it has changed my innocence from youth. In Europe the history is kept for all to see and not hidden in colorful light backgrounds. This dark tour shows that people doomed people to this fate. Humans would kill me because I didn’t fit into their narrative. Thank you for reading, I hope this article will touch your soul like the experience did for me.
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