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All over the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. It was established by Germans in 1940, in the suburbs of Oswiecim, a Polish city that was annexed to the Third Reich by the Nazis. Its name was changed to Auschwitz, which also became the name of Konzentrationslager Auschwitz.

The direct reason for the establishment of the camp was the fact that mass arrests of Poles were increasing beyond the capacity of existing "local" prisons. Initially, Auschwitz was to be one more concentration camp of the type that the Nazis had been setting up since the early 1930s. It functioned in this role throughout its existence, even when, beginning in 1942, it also became the largest of the death camps.

Division of the camp

The first and oldest was the so-called "main camp," later also known as "Auschwitz I" (the number of prisoners fluctuated around 15,000, sometimes rising above 20,000), which was established on the grounds and in the buildings of prewar Polish barracks;

The second part was the Birkenau camp (which held over 90,000 prisoners in 1944), also known as "Auschwitz II" This was the largest part of the Auschwitz complex. The Nazis began building it in 1941 on the site of the village of Brzezinka, three kilometers from Oswiecim. The Polish civilian population was evicted and their houses confiscated and demolished. The greater part of the apparatus of mass extermination was built in Birkenau and the majority of the victims were murdered here;

More than 40 sub-camps, exploiting the prisoners as slave laborers, were founded, mainly at various sorts of German industrial plants and farms, between 1942 and 1944. The largest of them was called Buna (Monowitz, with ten thousand prisoners) and was opened by the camp administration in 1942 on the grounds of the Buna-Werke synthetic rubber and fuel plant six kilometers from the Auschwitz camp. On November 1943, the Buna sub-camp became the seat of the commandant of the third part of the camp, Auschwitz III, to which some other Auschwitz sub-camps were subordinated.


The Germans isolated all the camps and sub-camps from the outside world and surrounded them with barbed wire fencing. All contact with the outside world was forbidden. However, the area administered by the commandant and patrolled by the SS camp garrison went beyond the grounds enclosed by barbed wire. It included an additional area of approximately 40 square kilometers (the so-called "Interessengebiet" - the interest zone), which lay around the Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau camps.

The local population, the Poles and Jews living near the newly-founded camp, were evicted in 1940-1941. Approximately one thousand of their homes were demolished. Other buildings were assigned to officers and non-commissioned officers from the camp SS garrison, who sometimes came here with their whole families. The pre-war industrial facilities in the zone, taken over by Germans, were expanded in some cases and, in others, demolished to make way for new plants associated with the military requirements of the Third Reich. The camp administration used the zone around the camp for auxiliary camp technical support, workshops, storage, offices, and barracks for the SS.


The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most valuable cultural monuments in Poland, visited each year by over a million tourists from around the world. It is also a world class historical monument and as such is inscribed in UNESCO's First World List of Cultural and Natural Heritage.

Today, the Wieliczka Salt Mine represents both many centuries of tradition and modernity, centuries of history, and an underground city with an extensive infrastructure. The Mine is the heritage of the work of several dozen generations of miners, and a monument of the history of Poland and the Polish nation – a brand that has been created in the Polish collective consciousness over centuries.

The Mine trade mark is among the oldest in the world. It is also the oldest Polish brand: it was the Wieliczka Salt Mine that started to mark the manufactured product (salt) with a trademark. This mark was placed on the whitest salt from the purest deposits destined for the royal table, and packed in barrels marked with the Royal Eagle.



There are lots more things to see in the region, if you have any specific ideas or requests email us the details and we can make all arrangements for you.



Available Tours
Auschwitz & Salt Mine in a day

It may sound like a lot to fit into 1 day, but we make it extremely comfortable for you. An 8.00am collection from your hotel gets you to Auschwitz well before 10.00am so you can visit at your own pace without having to join a large guided group, you can watch the DVD 'The liberation of Auschwitz' during the journey, saving time at the museum. When you're ready we'll travel the short distance to Birkenau, where we will give you an extended guided tour. Then, if required, you can enjoy one of our packed lunches on the journey to the Wieliczka Salt Mine where you'll join an English speaking guide for the tour. Finally returning to your hotel for approximately 6.00pm

Prices from 300.00pln per person

Discounts available for large groups

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Approximately a 4hr tour including; hotel collection and drop off and entry in to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, all with an English speaking guide.

Prices from 160.00pln per person

Discounts available for large groups

Auschwitz Museum

Approximately a 6hr tour including; hotel collection and drop off and entry in to the Auschwitz museum, with an extended guided tour of the Birkenau camp.

Prices from 150.00pln per person

Discounts available for large groups

Mystery Tour

Approximately a 6hr drive and walk tour in the region surrounding Krakow, taking in a national park, castles, caves and the largest desert in Central Europe. Includes hotel collection and drop off, with an English speaking guide.

Prices from 200.00pln per person

Minimum 4 people

Kids Day Out

A day or half day tailored to your requirements, but aimed at keeping the kids happy. Krakow is a great city but there aren't too many obvious attractions for the younger visitor. Let us take you round to a few places that they'll love. DVD's to keep them happy during the drive too.

Prices on request

Krakow Sights

A 3 hour walking tour with an English or English speaking guide. Showing you the best sights Krakow has to offer.

Prices from 25.00pln per person.

Schindlers Steps

A four hour walking tour, taking in Kazimierz, Podgorze, Schindlers Factory (visit only not museum entry), Liban Quarry (optional walk to site of Plaszow camp) with English speaking guide.

Prices from 25.00pln per person

City Tours

From a Half hour to a 2 Hour electric buggy tour of Old Town, Kazimierz & Podgorze, all the sights you could wish to see without the lengthy walk.

Prices from 40.00pln per person



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