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Guided Tour at Auschwitz

I have been doing research on guided tour at the concentration camp. I have some questions about the "tour with an educator".
1. We will have to reserve the tour online and pay for it before the trip. What if I missed the tour? For example, if I reserved the tour starting 12:45PM and I got there at 1:30PM. Will they put you on the very next available tour? Or I will simply lost the tour?

  1. I also read some reviews that the tour won't give you enough time to wander around for some area you are more interested in. Some reviews made it sound like soon after the educator finished talking, the group will have to move to next stop. Is that true?

  2. If the answer to 2nd question is true, can I leave the group and wander around myself?

Thanks

Posted by
1525 posts

Hi, I found the answers to the questions in this FAQ:
https://visit.auschwitz.org/faq.html

It seems to say that they will try to accomodate you in the soonest available tour hour, but cannot guarantee that one will be available, and will not refund payment in that case.

  1. Yes, in my tour ("tour with an educator") we moved as a group from place to place. Our guide kept count of us as we progressed through the tour.

  2. I believe the expectation is that, if you are on a guided tour, you stay with the group. When 1 or 2 folks "went missing" from our group, our guide took a moment away from the tour to "find" them and bring everyone back together.

Posted by
5120 posts

Just my opinion. Auschwitz I, the prison/labor camp, is a large group of similar looking buildings, some of which have special significance, or have museum exhibits and are set up for visiting. Other buildings are not marked or are not accessible. I think that without the educator, it would be difficult to find and see the most important things there. The educator also tells some of the stories about people who ran the place and the inmates, and things that happened there. So IMO, the educator adds tremendous value to the experience. They take it seriously and expect you to as well. I think thats why they refer to them as educators and not just guides. I did not see a lot of security guards there either, so keeping visitors from wandering and potentially damaging things is something they do.

Auschwitz/Birkenau, the killing place a couple of miles from I, is a much more wide open space with the infamous railcar platform, Canada house, and buildings that are in various states of restoration and decay. There, you are much more free to wander and contemplate on your own. Some people could not handle that place and just stayed at the coffee shop to wait for the bus.

Posted by
11158 posts

It's been about 5 years, but when I went, we had to stay with our tour. However, once it was finished, we were free to wander on our own, spending more time at places the tour had been or going into other areas the tour didn't cover.