Oświęcim

 

We start from Katowice and go in the direction of Myslowice, then continue through Chełm, Imielin, get to Bieruń Nowy, where after passing very often closed railroad crossing we turn left. We can now see the bridge over the Vistula.

 

Let's stop for a moment on the still Silesian side of the river, and let us go to the inn 'Marina' popularly called Degolówka. It was in this building in the early 20s of the twentieth century where the French lieutenant of peacekeepingtroops, Charles de Gaulle stationed. He later became the general of the commanding troops in the Free French fighting with Nazi Germany at the side of the Allies during the Second World War, and finally the famous president of the French Republic .

 

We pass Babice - it is Malopolska - and from a distance looms plaque with the name of the next village. Quite close to the sign we can read its name: OŚWIĘCIM.

 

Something strange is happening. It seems that the sun suddenly lost its lustre, and the sky darkened rapidly. It is just our imagination that displays in the head two ominous names: KL Auschwitz - Birkenau. These names are synonymous with unimaginable crimes of inhuman suffering and terrible human tragedies. I lack strength, courage, and most importantly skills to describe the expanse of terrible events. Besides, a lot of people did it a long time ago and much better. Who was already on the ground soaked with blood, and mixed with the ashes (~ 1.5 million people) knows what's going on there. Who still was not there, should definitely visit this place.

 

And if you have ever wondered how is it to live in the city, where these factories of death were created? Where are you from? From Oświęcim. Where do you live? In Oświęcim. The face of the questioner changes somehow with the answer. Not once the residents of Oświęcim were complaining in interviews that they feel stigmatized byt the society. That is the name of a negative stigma. As if the inhabitants of the city were guilty of the fact that the Nazi criminals have created the symbol of infinite evil on their land.

 

Why am I writing about it? Because we can help them. Yes, we can do it. In a very simple way. Visiting and widely propagating the worth seeing attractions in the city. So that Oświecim will not be associated only with the camps, but as a town worth seeing for its sights and monuments.

 

On the hill on the right bank of the Sola river, there is a building of the castle, which is dominated by the thirteenth century Gothic tower. The main part of the castle owes its present appearance to the reconstruction made in the sixteenth century, as well as the whims of the Sola which arbitrarily shaped the shore by washing out the steep bank. Historical documents tell us about the existence of the castle and borough in the year 1179. Today the castle operates a museum of the archaeological department and with a part which restores the bourgeois interiors, representatives of different religions and social condition. After the renovation, they open to the public two deep tunnels of varying lengths located under the castle.

 

Nearby is the main square, that after the revitalization regained its old look. From the main square you can already see the Dominican monastery complex, which is currently held by Salesians. The main part of the building complex, despite some alterations preserved the Gothic appearance. The 100% gothic look of the chapel of St. Jack is noteworthy. It is dated from the first half of the fourteenth century just as the monastery complex. Currently, there is a vocational boarding school run by Salesians. The complex of buildings beautifully presents from a bridge over the Sole. Just turn the head to the right.

 

It is necessary to mention about the monuments which are a reminder that in the interwar period, Jews made up nearly half the population. After 1939 they were transported to nearby ghettos, and return to the city was their last life path. After the war, the survivors returned to their homes. However, not being able to live in the shadow of death camps, in the mid-50 they left the city. On Jan Skarbek Street there is a restored synagogue Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot, and inside there are the Jewish Center and Museum. At the intersection of Wysokie Brzegi and Dabrowskiego on the surface of almost 2 hectares, there is a Jewish cemetery with more than 1,000 tombstones. The oldest of them dates from 1757. The cemetery is now restored and maintained. When we get tired, we can always sit in one of the cafes located nearby the main square.

 

Well, here it is! We spent quite a few hours exploring the city without looking at the sites of the former Nazi camps.

 

Tell it to your relatives and friends. You need to look at the city through the eyes of others.

 

See you in Oświęcim.  

 

Visiting the castle

 

Contact 33 842 44 27

October - April

Monday - Thursday 10 am - 4 pm

Friday 10 am - 3 pm

Saturday closed

Sunday 11 am - 3 pm

 

May

Monday - Tuesday / Thursday 10 am - 4 pm

Wednesday 10 am - 6 pm

Friday 10 am - 3 pm

Saturday closed

Sunday 11 am - 3 pm

 

June, September

Monday closed

Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm

Saturday / Sunday 11 am - 6 pm  

 

Castle - tickets

Normal ticket 5 PLN / person

Discounts 3 PLN / person

family ticket (up to 5 people including 1 or 2 adults) 12 PLN

Group ticket (from 8 to 25 people, unaccompanied) 3 PLN / person

ticket for temporary exhibitions 2 PLN/ person

 

Tower

Normal ticket 5 PLN / person

Discounts 3 PLN / person

family ticket (up to 5 people including 1 or 2 adults) 12 PLN

Group ticket (from 8 to 25 people, unaccompanied) 3 PLN / person

ticket for a temporary exhibition 2 PLN / person

Guided tours 90 PLN

rental of audio-guide 10 PLN / arts  

 

TUESDAY

Free admission to the museum (permanent exhibition and the castle tower)

Exhibitions: 2 PLN.  

 

Visiting the Synagogue and the Jewish Museum

Phone: 33 844 70 02

Opening hours:

Saturday closed Sunday 10 am - 5 pm

Monday 10 am - 5 pm

Tuesday 10 am - 5 pm

Wednesday 10 am - 5 pm

Thursday 10 am - 5 pm

Friday 10 am - 5 pm

Maciej MastalskiMaciej Mastalski, the tourism enthusiast and lecturer at University of the Third Age in Tychy.

Our clients have discounts ...