May 31

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

Whenever a conflagration of massive proportions occurs, the face of the world is changed completely. So it is no surprise that the two World Wars have devastated nations and have made tens of thousands of victims.

It is relevant to maintain the gruesome image of the war alive in our memories in order to prevent the history from repeating itself due to the ambitions of some. In order to commemorate the extensive loss of human lives and the atrocities which so many had to endure during World War II, the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum was established in Poland. This museum is constituted of the two concentration camps, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau, where the Jewish population was imprisoned before being exterminated, but also where thousands of war prisons of different nationalities were held captivate.

Besides the fact that the museum is meant to honor those who have lost their lives between 1942 and 1944, the institution is also focusing its attention on investigating the Holocaust. It was brought into being in the middle of the 20th century (1947) when the Polish Parliament decided to maintain the concentration camps as such and allow people to visit them in order to comprehend the impactful effect of WWII on the world. The museum has been visited extensively ever since its inauguration and the number of visitors has increased year after year. Tourists can see the place where the inmates where debarked and can follow in their footsteps trying to imagine the horror they experienced while walking to their imprisonment.

Tourists can enter the barracks where they can envisage the conditions in which the inmates were living. In order to best depict the past and connect with that specific time, tourists are invited to visit the exhibitions which are spread throughout the grounds of the museum. These are organized depending on the items on display. Thus you will have the chance to see the personal items that the inmates had brought with them upon arriving to camp, such as kitchen vessels, suitcases, the majority of which still bear the name of their owner, shoes and garments. Getting in touch with personal belongings is definitely intimidating because what you have only heard on television or have read in books, strikes you as being real. The authenticity of it all makes you realize that those were not just tales but the ghastly reality.

There are also a multitude of works of art presented, such as paintings and drawings in which the severe conditions the prisoners were subjected to were portrayed in detail.

Many modifications were conducted in the 20th century but they did not altered the general design of the camps which still maintain their originality. The changes refer to a memorial museum which was inaugurated in the ’67 and several boards which provide visitors with information regarding the surroundings.