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Wight Flight

Auschwitz - travel advice needed.

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Ok - just to lighten the mood, my kids have told me that they would really like to visit Auschwitz next February half term.

I have looked into this before, but not got round to it.

My guess is that quite a few dosbodders have visited.

So questions - best way to Krakow - best place to stay - is it worth getting a private transfer to get there early to appreciate the atmosphere before the selfie-taking twats arrive?

Other things to see - e.g The Schindler museum. Time required - is two nights there enough?

All advice gratefully considered.

 

 

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My eldest teenage daughter did it as part of the Great School Trip thingy.

Like wargraves, you dont go there to sightsee. Id recommend you dont go there at all, not unless you have personal respects to pay. You're either going to find it a horrific experience anyway (and dont need to go) or you're not (so, FFS dont go and dishonour the place).

ETA. She didnt take any photos, and has never talked about it. For which I deeply respect her.

Edited by Melchett

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Just now, Bedrag Justesen said:

I'm hoping none of our Labour Party DOSBODERS will be making any tasteless anti-Semitic jokes.

Don't go by train, it will probably end badly. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, couldn't resist. 

 

 

On a serious note, my eldest was taken by som holocaust society. They flew out and back in the day. So, I guess flying/hiring a car at the other end would be a good option.  

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I went to the Somme battlefields as a teenager and it really got to me.  Something about the place had a very very heavy and sad mental/mood/psychic effect.  I visited as part of a family trip to respect lost relatives.

I wouldn't go to the concentration camps unless I had to, personally.

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1 minute ago, Melchett said:

My daughter did it as part of the Great School Trip thingy.

Like wargraves, you dont go there to sightsee. Id recommend you dont go there at all, not unless you have personal respects to pay. You're either going to find it a horrific experience anyway (and dont need to go) or you're not (so, FFS dont go and dishonour the place).

That's a fair point. My eldest did the Ypres trip last year and found it very moving (history is one of his things)

I think it will be moving. And I don't think these things should be the preserve of those that are personally affected. But I want to show some respect and avoid any kind of 'disneyland' experience - hence going in February to see how harsh the weather could be, and also thinking about arriving before the crowds to understand the atmosphere.

 

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Bitterly cold in January and February. Cold the kind that we rarely experience in the UK. Needs loads of layers, long johns, really thick warm hats, ear covers, good warm shoes.

Do not be surprised to be in a blizzard that would bring the UK to a halt but which is just winter for Poland. Such weather staggers the mind that anyone survived the concentration camps due to weather alone.

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27 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

Bitterly cold in January and February. Cold the kind that we rarely experience in the UK. Needs loads of layers, long johns, really thick warm hats, ear covers, good warm shoes.

Do not be surprised to be in a blizzard that would bring the UK to a halt but which is just winter for Poland. Such weather staggers the mind that anyone survived the concentration camps due to weather alone.

Apparently some were made to line up naked in the snow and were sprayed with water from fire hoses, they froze like statues apparently.

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2 minutes ago, WorkingPoor said:

Apparently some were made to line up naked in the snow and were sprayed with water from fire hoses, they froze like statues apparently.

 

Poland became home of Humanity's holocaust, said the Polish Pope. The things that were done to people in Poland was truly horrific.

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35 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

Ok - just to lighten the mood, my kids have told me that they would really like to visit Auschwitz next February half term.

I have looked into this before, but not got round to it.

My guess is that quite a few dosbodders have visited.

So questions - best way to Krakow - best place to stay - is it worth getting a private transfer to get there early to appreciate the atmosphere before the selfie-taking twats arrive?

Other things to see - e.g The Schindler museum. Time required - is two nights there enough?

All advice gratefully considered.

 

 

I drove there but I was driving around various bits of Europe at the time. Cheap flight through Wizz or EasyJet to Krakow would be reasonably cheap. 

I was on a strict budget so stayed in the mental hospital-esque Hotel Start. In February you can probably look at something closer to the middle of town for a reasonable price (the old town is stunning).

If you want to visit the Wawel (castle), there are limited numbers allowed per day so I would go there early. 

The Schindler museum was being developed when I visited but I walked past it and around the Kazimierz ghetto area. Worth a visit but can't remember much about it. 

Took a minibus to Auschwitz from Krakow bus station (£8pp is ringing a bell). Went quite early in the morning. Don't remember any selfie takers (always people draped in Israeli flags). 

Visit Auschwitz I first, to give you an understanding of what happened (it is a harrowing experience). Then visit Auschwitz II (free shuttle bus) to understand how it was then ramped up to mass production. Stand next to Gas chamber IV and try and fathom that 800,000 people were murdered in that small space. 

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2 minutes ago, The Generation Game said:

I drove there but I was driving around various bits of Europe at the time. Cheap flight through Wizz or EasyJet to Krakow would be reasonably cheap. 

I was on a strict budget so stayed in the mental hospital-esque Hotel Start. In February you can probably look at something closer to the middle of town for a reasonable price (the old town is stunning).

If you want to visit the Wawel (castle), there are limited numbers allowed per day so I would go there early. 

The Schindler museum was being developed when I visited but I walked past it and around the Kazimierz ghetto area. Worth a visit but can't remember much about it. 

Took a minibus to Auschwitz from Krakow bus station (£8pp is ringing a bell). Went quite early in the morning. Don't remember any selfie takers (always people draped in Israeli flags). 

Visit Auschwitz I first, to give you an understanding of what happened (it is a harrowing experience). Then visit Auschwitz II (free shuttle bus) to understand how it was then ramped up to mass production. Stand next to Gas chamber IV and try and fathom that 800,000 people were murdered in that small space. 

Thanks - I was going to upvote but it doesn't seem appropriate.

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3 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

Thanks - I was going to upvote but it doesn't seem appropriate.

We spent most of the day at Auschwitz. It's an emotional experience. Rooms full of human hair, prosthetic limbs and suitcases. Gallows. Walls where firing squads ended lives. Solitary cells. Gas chambers. We did it without a guide, just a map. The barrack blocks were generally organised by nationality, so you can choose which ones you want to learn about. We were back in the UK a couple of weeks later and went to the cinema to watch "The boy in striped pyjamas." Certainly helped to add context (even though it is fictional)  

We stayed 2-3 nights and that was probably long enough. Food wise, I wouldn't recommend visiting a milk bar at least once for some fine Polish fayre. 

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44 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

Ok - just to lighten the mood, my kids have told me that they would really like to visit Auschwitz next February half term.

I have looked into this before, but not got round to it.

My guess is that quite a few dosbodders have visited.

So questions - best way to Krakow - best place to stay - is it worth getting a private transfer to get there early to appreciate the atmosphere before the selfie-taking twats arrive?

Other things to see - e.g The Schindler museum. Time required - is two nights there enough?

All advice gratefully considered.

 

 

I was in Krakow earlier this month,you can get the train from the airport for 7zl to Krakow Glowny (main station).

We stopped at the Hotel Puro which is 5 minutes walk from the railway station and 10 minutes walk to the main square.

You are best going for 4 or 5 nights when the weather gets better as it is no fun walking around as it can feel a lot colder with the wind chill.

There are umpteen companies that do excursions to Auschwitz in the town,I would also recommend Wawel Castle and Wieliczka Salt Mine.

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8 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

Thanks - I was going to upvote but it doesn't seem appropriate.

 

Don't know how old your kids are or how aware they are of being respectful in such places but it is always a good idea beforehand to inform youngsters about how serious such a place is - not for fooling around, making jokes or, well, acting berks. The Poles look on it very poorly.

There was a hotukdeal to Krakow a few days ago. Ah, here it is - no idea if it is still on.

https://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/krakow-2-night-break-including-flights-from-stansted-or-gatwick-59pp-118-for-two-gogroupie-2831624

 

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Haven't been there but I did go to pearl harbour about 15 years ago. Based on that I'd say be prepared to see some pretty raw emotion on display from some of the visitors and be prepared for some emotional impact on the people you go with.

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Just now, The Masked Tulip said:

 

Don't know how old your kids are or how aware they are of being respectful in such places but it is always a good idea beforehand to inform youngsters about how serious such a place is - not for fooling around, making jokes or, well, acting berks. The Poles look on it very poorly.

There was a hotukdeal to Krakow a few days ago. Ah, here it is - no idea if it is still on.

https://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/krakow-2-night-break-including-flights-from-stansted-or-gatwick-59pp-118-for-two-gogroupie-2831624

 

18 and 15. It is they who have asked to go.

In some ways (but not all) they are wise beyond their years.

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I went to Oradour-sur-Glane in France some years ago. Being in the church where, outside, all the males were shot and, inside, all the females were barricaded before the church was set on fire is, well, no words.

The church bell is a mass of molten metal melted into the stone floor.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

I went to Oradour-sur-Glane in France some years ago. Being in the church where, outside, all the males were shot and, inside, all the females were barricaded before the church was set on fire is, well, no words.

The church bell is a mass of molten metal melted into the stone floor.

 

 

That was (allegedly) the work of the Waffen SS Das Reich unit 

Did it seem embellished or ring true? 

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20 minutes ago, The Generation Game said:

We spent most of the day at Auschwitz. It's an emotional experience. Rooms full of human hair, prosthetic limbs and suitcases. Gallows. Walls where firing squads ended lives. Solitary cells. Gas chambers. We did it without a guide, just a map. The barrack blocks were generally organised by nationality, so you can choose which ones you want to learn about. We were back in the UK a couple of weeks later and went to the cinema to watch "The boy in striped pyjamas." Certainly helped to add context (even though it is fictional)  

We stayed 2-3 nights and that was probably long enough. Food wise, I wouldn't recommend visiting a milk bar at least once for some fine Polish fayre. 

I am planning to make a trip there, I think its important to feel the emotion such a visit will inevitably arouse. I don't want to seem morbid but I see such visits as a way to pay respect to those who suffered and died. I don't make a point of going to such places as a destination but if I am close I will stop by. 

I saw the film "The Boy in Striped Pyjamas" and found it harrowing. What disturbed me most was how I felt more sympathy towards the camp commandants son than the inmate boy. I'm sure that was how the director wanted his audience to feel, but I can't rationalise why I felt it; both were victims and suffered the same fate and neither life was superior or subordinate to the other. It still bothers me when I think about it.

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13 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

18 and 15. It is they who have asked to go.

In some ways (but not all) they are wise beyond their years.

I went twenty years ago during one of my many trips round Europe in my car.The sheer scale of the Birkenau camp is breath taking.

Personally I'd hire a car.

I think it's fanstastic they want to go

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1 hour ago, Melchett said:

My eldest teenage daughter did it as part of the Great School Trip thingy.

Like wargraves, you dont go there to sightsee. Id recommend you dont go there at all, not unless you have personal respects to pay. You're either going to find it a horrific experience anyway (and dont need to go) or you're not (so, FFS dont go and dishonour the place).

ETA. She didnt take any photos, and has never talked about it. For which I deeply respect her.

Depends. If you're interested in WW2 history as I am then I'd love to go. 

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Just now, sleepwello'nights said:

I am planning to make a trip there, I think its important to feel the emotion such a visit will inevitably arouse. I don't want to seem morbid but I see such visits as a way to pay respect to those who suffered and died. I don't make a point of going to such places as a destination but if I am close I will stop by. 

I saw the film "The Boy in Striped Pyjamas" and found it harrowing. What disturbed me most was how I felt more sympathy towards the camp commandants son than the inmate boy. I'm sure that was how the director wanted his audience to feel, but I can't rationalise why I felt it; both were victims and suffered the same fate and neither life was superior or subordinate to the other. It still bothers me when I think about it.

That book was part of both my lad's GCSE - which may explain in part why they want to go. 

 

1 minute ago, Zanu Bob said:

 

I went twenty years ago during one of my many trips round Europe in my car.The sheer scale of the Birkenau camp is breath taking.

Personally I'd hire a car.

I think it's fanstastic they want to go

The car hire thing is an option but I understand you can get a local driver for pretty much the same money and less stress - with the added bonus of getting a little bit of local knowledge and chat thrown in. 

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