Whilst in Krakow we took a look at some other SS related places, but you have to take a visit to Auschwitz. It's a very moving place and excellent tribute to all the Jews that suffered there. We went there by car and entry is free both to Auschwitz and the bus to nearby Birkenau...   




Oskar Schindler was a German businessman and Nazi but to is credited with saving about 1200 Jews from Auschwitz by employing them at his acquired factory. The pix to the right are of his apartment and factory which is now a museum and well worth a visit. It is on the other side of the river within walking distance of town. If you haven't watched Schindlers List, you must.  

Not many tourists are aware there was another concentration camp in Krakow, a little bit furthur south (a few more tram stops) Nothing remains of Plascow camp but the Grey House which was the SS HQ and the Red House which the evil Amon Goth's house, the Commandant.
The Grey House is unoccupied but has plans to be a museum and the Red House is occupied
We had reserved a time slot for Auschwitz and drove from Krakow some 40 miles (pleasant drive) to Auschwitz 1 museum car park. This is where the infamous entrance is to Auschwitz 1. It was here that murders, shootings, medical experiments and gassings took place. In all, around 2 million Jews died here, and it was here that Josef Mengele performed his wicked experiments and Rudolf Hoess was commandant.  

The photos above show the shooting wall, torture chamber and exterior and interior of one of the earlier gas chambers and the gallows.
From here we caught the shuttle bus to Auschwitz-Birkenau which was created in September 1941by Himmlers orders, when Auschwitz 1 was getting overrun and here, the prisoners could be taken here directly by train.

The photos above show the infamous barrier entrance, one of the walkways between huts, rows of prisoner clothes and one of the toilets

From left to right, the familiar image of arriving at the camp, a remaining look-out tower, the remains of  the gas chamber which was blown up just prior to liberation and a truck which carried the poor, unfortunate souls. All in all this is a very touching and humbling experience which you must do if visiting Krakow. Vicky was apprehensive but would not have missed it. I think we did the best thing by going under our own steam, but you can visit (payable but not overpriced) with guides.


...but firstly a little about other places of interest in Krakow
In 1941  the Germans created a Ghetto where all Jews left in Krakow were to reside. There is nothing left but a part of the wall again on the south side of the river.