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MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

News

World Youth Day and the visit of Pope Francis

26-07-2016

In view of the world youth day, which will be held in Krakow in July 2016, as well as the visit of Pope Francis, the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum will be open in this period to visitors under specific conditions.

 

From 20 to 28 July and 1-3 August 2016, tour of the Auschwitz Memorial will only be available to participants of the World Youth Day (regulations for visitors).

However, on 29 July, the day of the Pope's visit, the Museum will be completely inaccessible to visitors.

During this period, tours will be conducted on a specially prepared route. Due to the huge interest and conservation protection requirements, the interior of the historic buildings will be inaccessible to visitors. The route has been planned in such a way as to allow the young pilgrims explore the most important places on the premises of the former Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The most important issues in the history of the camp shall be presented by an outdoor exhibition specially prepared for the occasion. Each of the pilgrims will receive a special information leaflet.

During the tour, visitors will be able to purchase publications about Auschwitz specially prepared for the participants of the World Youth Day. They will include both historical books and memoris in the following languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Polish.

To all people who wish to prepare themselves to the visit at the Auschwitz Memorial we recommend online lessons prepared by our Education Center which describe in detail many topics of the history of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. A special website prepared by the Center of Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim can help in spiritual preparation. Some of the information available there have been published in 17 languages.

NOTE: persons visiting the museum on these days must carry with them the World Youth Day ID badge. Entry will not be permitted without an ID badge. It is prohibited to carry luggage larger than 10x20x30 cm into the premises of the Memorial.

The Pope’s Visit

On 29 July 2016, the Pope will visit the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum. It will be a closed visit and as such, the Museum will be inaccessible to visitors on this day. 

The Holy Father, will meet among others, former prisoners of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz. He will also pray at the so-called Wall of death at Block 11, in the Maximilian Maria Kolbe cell, and at the monument of the victims of the Birkenau camp.

The Pope's visit will take place on the day that is most likely the 75th anniversary of the punitive assembly, during which St. Maximilian Kolbe sacrificed his life for Franciszek Gajowniczek, chosen by the Germans for death by starvation after the escape of a prisoner.

More information: www.pope2016.com

The director of the Auschwitz Museum. Dr Piotr M. A. Cywiński

Auschwitz is an extremely important place where young people can learn what hatred, anti-Semitism and contempt for a fellow man and his rights resulted in decades ago. Nevertheless, Auschwitz is also a point of reference for many universal concepts, mainly as a space in which one can reflect on our individual and collective responsibility. I very much hope that for those hundreds of thousands of young people who come to the World Youth Day to ask important questions and seek answers, the visit to the Memorial will not only be an important history lesson, but also a unique personal experience

Roman Pindel, the Diocesan Bishop of Bielsko-Żywiec

The former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, currently located on the terrain of the Diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec, is a unique place of reflection. It has become for many people a turning point in looking at the world, especially in the context of the evil existing therein. For the believer, this place of suffering and death of thousands of people cries out as the blood of Abel, whereas the answer to this cry is prayer, reflection, finding means of reconciliation and overcoming hatred. An educational programme has been prepared by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim, and the Department of Religious Education of the Bielsko-Żywiec diocese to help you experience the real drama of death and heroism conveyed by this place. I trust that the elements of this programme will be of benefit to participants of the 2016 World Youth Day in Cracow, visiting the Museum and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial.