Sometimes, people or media says “Polish Concentration Camps”. I think this is a wrong statement, because there are Camps located in the territory of Poland, however they were founded and run by the German Nazi, so they are Nazi Concentration Camps. Poland was not the only territory where German Nazis founded concentration camps. Apart from Poland, concentration camps were also created in over 20 European countries. In Poland there are 9 Concentration Camps. Some are known around the world, and about some of them, no one have hardly heard. Below you can find the list of them and find out more:
1. Auschwitz – Birkenau – I think that almost all of the people in the world has heard of Auschwitz. It is one of the most famous place in Poland. It was established in 1940 by German Nazis. Without any doubt, Auschwitz – Birkenau is a symbol of terror and the Holocaust. In 1979, the Camp was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. At the beginning, it was only the Concentration Camp (Auschwitz I), but it quickly became also the centre of extermination (Auschwitz II – Brzezinka). Over 1,5 million of people were killed there – within 5 years. It is situated in Oswiecim (Auschwitz I) and Brzezinka (Auschwitz II) - about 70 km from Krakow. The best start point for the Auschwitz Tour is Krakow, because one way journey takes approx. 1,5 hour. Depending on what kind of tourism you prefer, you can get to Auschwitz on your own or you can take the private or group tour. If you would like to get there on your own, there is a direct bus to Oswiecim from Krakow Main Station (Dworzec Glowny). The bus departs quite often throughout the day. However, you need to remember that there is a big interest in visiting Auschwitz and the tickets to the Museum are being sold out very, so you need to book tickets well in advance. The price for the entrance ticket is 45 PLN. There are also group tours organized from Krakow at particular hours. You can book also a private tour and then in Auschwitz you will join to the local tour in the language you prefer. If you are in Wroclaw, the best way is to take the private tour to Auschwitz with the driver who will take you directly to Auschwitz and after the tour he will take you back to Wroclaw. If you start the tour in Warsaw, I recommend you to take the tour by train. It is better to arrange it before your arrival, so you do not have to worry about availability especially during summer season.
2. The Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka - The camp functioned between1941–1944. It is a German labor and extermination camp where about 850 thousands were killed. Regarding to the number of victims Treblinka was the second after Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp operating in occupied Europe during World War II. Treblinka I was a penal labor camp whereas Treblinka II was extermination camp. It is best to start the tour in Warsaw, because Treblinka is situated approx. 1 hour 40 minutes from Warsaw. The entrance ticket costs 6 PLN. It is best to visit this place with the guide, because at the time you will have the opportunity to find out more about the Camps and the conditions in which the prisoners lived. How to get there? The only way to get there is by car, so the best option would be to rent a car or take the private tour with the guide from Warsaw. Unfortunately, there are no group tours. The price depends on the number of people. Museum is open everyday from 9 am. – 7 pm.
3. The Museum Stutthof – Stutthof is a German Nazi Concentration Camp created in the village – Sztutowo that is situated 50 km from Gdansk. It functioned from 2 September 1939 to May 9, 1945. It was the first and the longest existing camp of this type. The Stutthof camp was one of the main instruments used for extermination. In June of 1944. It was incorporated to implement "Final Solution of the Jewish Question", so it became the camp of mass extermination. Entrance is free. Exhibitions of the museum is open daily: from May 1st to September 30th: 8 am. till 6 pm. and from October 1st to April 30th: 8 am. till 3 pm. You can visit the Museum on your own but you can also book the guide. In such case, the additional price for the guide is 180 PLN and you need to book the guide in advance directly in Museum. Sightseeing of the camp area and the expositions of the museum takes up to 2 hours. You can get to Sztutowo from Gdansk on your own by bus or by private car. One way journey by bus takes approx. 80 minutes. You need to catch the bus heading to Krynica Morska. The price is 14 PLN. You can also book a private tour from Gdansk with the guide. At the time you do not have to worry about the booking the guide and transportation from and to your hotel in Gdansk. The whole tour takes up to 6 hours.
4. Memorial and Museum Majdanek (Lublin KL) - German Nazi concentration camp operating between 1941-1944. Initially, it was planned to build a small first section of the camp which could accommodate 5-6 thousand prisoners. However, in the autumn of 1941, an immediately order was to build a prisoner-of-war camp capable of holding 50,000 prisoners. The camp was divided into six divisions. Majdanek was liberated on July 23, 1944. Over 150,000 people were in the camp. Recent research indicates that the victims were 78,000, of which 59,000 were Jews. Majdanek is situated 4 km from Lublin city center (Lublin is also very interesting city worth seeing), so it is best to visit the Camp from Lublin. You can easily get there by public transport. However, if you are in Warsaw and would like to get there on your own, the best way is to take the direct train from Warsaw Central Station or by bus e.g ‘Polski Bus’ (if you buy ticket in advance it can very cheap) to Lublin. One way journey by bus or train takes approx. 3 hours. Then, you will need to take the public bus from Lublin city center to Majdanek. The museum is open daily (except Mondays): from April 1st to October 31th: 9 am. till 5 pm. and from November 1st to March 31th: 9 am. till 4 pm. Approximate time required to visit the Museum Guided tour - approx. 2.5 h; Individual sightseeing - approx.1,5 h. The entrance is free – you just pay for parking if you are by car. If you would like to visit the Museum with guide – the additional fee is 150 PLN and you need to book the guide at least one week before. To not worry about anything, you can book the private guided tour from Warsaw with private English speaking driver who will pick you up from your hotel in Warsaw and after the sightseeing take you back.
5. Kulmhof – Extermination Camp in Che?mno was built during World War II. It was the center of the mass extermination of Jews in the Warthegau. It was launched in December 1941. It operated in two periods. It is situated approx. 1 hour from Lodz and 2 hours from Warsaw and is best to go there by car. The area is open for visitors. Museum is open every day (except Mondays): from April 1st to September 30th: 9 am. till 5 pm. and from October 1st to March 31th: 9 am. till 3 pm. The Museum may by visited either individually or in groups. Admission to the Museum is free of charge. The price for guided tour in English (up to 5 persons) is 10 PLN. The best way to visit this place is to book the private guided tour from Warsaw to Lodz with English speaking driver.
6. Memorial and Museum Sobibor - German Nazi extermination camp operating under the "Einsatz Reinhardt" in the years 1942-1943, in the forest 4 km from the village Sobibor. It is best to visit the Museum if you are in Lublin – it is situated approx. 1,5 hour from Lublin (near the border with Ukraine). At present the Museum is closed for visitors due to construction work. Renovation began on March 1, 2017 and will continue until further notice.
7. Extermination Camp in Be??ec - German Nazi death camp operating from March to December 1942, located southeast of Be??ec village, about 2 hours from Lublin. The best way to get there is by own car or private tour with English speaking driver from Lublin. The Museum is open every day (except Mondays): from April to October: 9 am. till 5 pm. and from November to March: 9 am. till 4 pm. It is possible to visit the Museum with English speaking guide and approximate guided tour time is 2 hours. However, you need to book the guide at least 1 week before. The entrance to the Museum is free, you need to just pay for the car park.
8. Warschau (KL) - German Nazi concentration camp founded on the orders of the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto, functioning from July 1943 to August 1944. Initially, it functioned as an independent camp, but later it transformed into a camp at Majdanek. At least 7250 prisoners passed away there. They were Jews from different European countries.
9. Konzentrationslager Groß-Rosen - German Concentration Camp, existing in the years 1940-1945, near the village of Rogo?nica in today's Poland, which is at the head of over hundreds of labor camps established in Silesia, in the Czech Republic and Germany. It is best to visit the Museum from Wroclaw, because it is situated approx. 1 hour from the city. The sightseeing of the Museum takes approx. 2 hours. The Museum is open every day: from May to September: 8 am. till 7 pm. and from October to April: 8 am. till 4 pm. If you would like to visit the Museum on your own, you can get there by car. The entrance is free and in Museum you can additionally book the guided tour with English speaking guide – the price is 70 PLN (up to 15 persons). You can also take the private tour from Wroclaw and do not worry about anything.