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Check out TNT's guide to the top five places to go for a war tour...

1. Auschwitz, Poland

It would be easy to dismiss the idea of a ‘war tour’ as a bit grim at best; darkly twisted at worst. But rather than lingering on distressing details, visiting a site where something world-changing went down can be more enriching than you might think. 

Firstly, travel is all about broadening your experience of the world – it’s an opportunity to learn about other people, their lives, and what goes on outside the confines of your own. That extends to time as well as place; the past as well as the present.

Secondly, confronting the horrors of human history is important. After all, when was turning a blind eye ever a good thing?

A trip to Auschwitz doesn’t exactly make for a cheery day out, but it is a stirringly memorable one. And though the site does represent some of the very worst tragedies and crimes of World War II, there are stories of heroism, solidarity and resistance too.

‘Auschwitz’ refers to a complex of camps 50km outside of Krakow; Auschwitz II-Birkenau is the extermination camp where almost a million Jews, 75,000 Poles and 19,000 Roma (or gypsies) were killed.

The grounds and structures were turned into a museum-memorial by the Polish parliament in 1947 (two years after Soviet soldiers stormed the site), and it entered on to the Unesco World Heritage List in 1979.

Many blocks have been converted from barracks into exhibitions, where you’ll see the collected possessions of former inmates – mountains of suitcases and shoes. In one room, there are piles of hair that was shaved from victims’ heads.

You’ll also see camp uniforms, a typical day’s ration of food, and displays about living and sanitary conditions for inmates. Artwork
that depicts memories of the camp, created by survivors, is also displayed at Auschwitz. Confronting this unsavoury slice of history can be overwhelming – but it’s also a tribute to those who actually lived it. 

auschwitztour.com


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