Battlefield Tour - Auschwitz, advice?

#1
I'm looking at organising a battlefield tour to Krakow/Auschwitz/Birkenau, maybe combining it with a bit of AT down in the Carpathian Mountains...

My main effort at the moment is with the battlefield tour. Has anyone organised one down this way before? I know that Ypres, Somme, Normandy et al are popular, but I fancy doing something different. Any advice/ contacts you can send my way would be much appreciated ta very much.
 
#2
I've organised a few BT's but never to Poland. Try starting at your Bde or Div HQ, speak to the PT Corps reps and G3 Trg offices, for old PXR's and AT reports.
 
#3
Lloyd Clark (the author & lecturer at the factory) sometimes does Battlefield tours through a company in Sussex.

I'll give my mate a buzz and see if I can get details.
 
#4
BinaryWarfare said:
I'm looking at organising a battlefield tour to Krakow/Auschwitz/Birkenau, maybe combining it with a bit of AT down in the Carpathian Mountains...

My main effort at the moment is with the battlefield tour. Has anyone organised one down this way before? I know that Ypres, Somme, Normandy et al are popular, but I fancy doing something different. Any advice/ contacts you can send my way would be much appreciated ta very much.
I would hardly call it a 'Battlefield Tour'! 8O
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#5
Staff College visited it on one of their European visits. I am sure that there will be PXRs on file there.
 
#6
A better combination for an AT ex and a 'Battlefield' Tour would be Sonthofen in Bavaria. You have all the AT you want down there and a trip to the outskirts of Munich will allow you the time to visit Dachau. Then there's the rest of the WWII history in the area, with the 'Eagles Nest' area of Bavaria, the place where Hitler was actually from.
 
#7
If it's the WWII thing and AT you're after of course?
 
#8
A cracking idea Binary. Can I suggest following the path of the German advance into Poland in 1939? Starting with Gleiwitz and following the advance of Fall Weiss?

Or going the other way , and foillowing the German retreat as detailed in Antony Beevor's Berlin.

When I did this as a detour on one of my trips into Poland, I was stunned at how far into modern Poland the pre-war frontier was.

There's a Militaria market on Sundays in the big Polish cities, Warsaw's is the biggest , where various lunatics display stuff they've dug up. I imagine the rules have tightened up a lot now, but in the old days they thought nothing of displaying belts of MG34 ammo they'd found.
 
#10
Auschwitz is well worth doing. You know that something terrible has happened there... Plus the next time you watch Schindlers List, you'll think ooer, I've been there!

Poland itself is a beautiful place, you'll love it.
 

Attachments

#11
Yourself and family or a group? Is this a group of adults or children. Who are you taking?

Some of our guides know Auschwitz well. Send me a PM if you would like any advice.
 
#12
Cheers guys, some handy pointers there, as well as a few alternate ideas for me to consider. I'll let you know how it pans out!
 
#14
PartTimePongo said:
A cracking idea Binary. Can I suggest following the path of the German advance into Poland in 1939? Starting with Gleiwitz and following the advance of Fall Weiss?

Or going the other way , and foillowing the German retreat as detailed in Antony Beevor's Berlin.

When I did this as a detour on one of my trips into Poland, I was stunned at how far into modern Poland the pre-war frontier was.

There's a Militaria market on Sundays in the big Polish cities, Warsaw's is the biggest , where various lunatics display stuff they've dug up. I imagine the rules have tightened up a lot now, but in the old days they thought nothing of displaying belts of MG34 ammo they'd found.
Known as the Russian Market, a brother was out there mid-late 90s and saw a MiG for sale. Loonies.
 
#15
BW,
My AWACS crew went to Auschwitz while on a 2 week ex in Poland a few years back and it was an exceptionally moving experience.

I would strongly recommend hiring an official guide as the place is pretty spread out. The original Polish Barracks (where the infamous 'Work Makes You Free' gate is) is around 4 miles from Auschwitz Birkenau (pictured above). The former has a museum in some of the old barrack blocks with a large number of intensely moving artefacts and photographs. Birkenau has largely been left as it was in 1945 albeit most of the wooden huts have gone, leaving only the forest of chimneys seen above. Some have been preserved and you may walk around those, the Guard tower above the railway entrance, the crematoria, and the gas chambers which remain as the Germans left them when they blew them up before the Russians arrived. Both sites must be visited if you are to fully appreciate the place. Contrary to rumour, birds do sing at the camp but Auschwitz made an immense impression on all of us and we left wondering if we could ever be civil to a German again.

On a lighter note, Krakow nearby is a beautiful city with very cheap hotels and restaurants. It offers a good base from which to explore the local areas of military interest. I didn't go to Warsaw but Poznan (where we were flying from) has a small but very interesting museum on the 'Citadel' outlining the areas significance in WWII. It also has an impressive collection of postwar AFVs and aircraft on display outdoors.

Overall, Poland is a fantastic place where everything is extremely cheap. The local ladies are also stunning!

As I said, hire an official guide and visit both camps. It'll be one of the most powerfully moving days of your life.

Good luck.

MM
 
#16
MM,
Totally aggree with your comments about Auschwitz & Birkenau.
Don't forget this beauty

http://www.cracow-life.com/culture/culture_details/720-The_Aviation_Museum

or this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfsschanze

or my personal favourite

http://www.muzeum-ak.krakow.pl/english/historym/index.php

I'm afraid the Russian market is soon to be the new national stadium, however I was living in Warsaw in the late '90s and don't remember any Migs in the Russian market! I did pick up a BRDM (I think) periscope and a German helmet in good condition.
 
#17
My advice is "Bring your own gas for your refuelable lighters"...
 
#18
I know the Russian Market well . and even in those days it was advisable to have the odd Afghan veteran acting as your guide. Some of the stuff for sale there would give the WWF kittens , and if you wanted a AK47/74 or anything exotic , you only had to ask. I didn't.

The Militaria market I was referring to wasn't on the stadiom , it was near the 'old' town. It was where the traders from the Baltic states and enterprising Poles frequented . "Psssst gen dobre , you want ikon , yes?"

Yes I want 10 years in Polish chokey :roll:

Lots of Militaria , predominantly German , though I did miss a Japanese Officer's sword which I should have picked up for $50.00 :(

In those days, plenty of bits of German equipment, gas mask holders and the like, genuine badges , not so de-ac ammo , busted weapons , the odd SS dagger , fake of course and other interesting bits.

If you want to buy something, send a local to haggle.

As regards the battlefield tour , as I suggested earlier, but if you can , get up to Kaliningrad (Konigsberg) which marks the limit of German East Prussia I think. The architecture is staggering , really good example of a Hansa town and the beer is cheap. Gdansk (Danzig) and Gydinya also worth a visit to look at the Polish Navy up close. Used to be a mahoosive Armour base up there as well in the early 90's.

Lots of Military stuff still being found in Poland, I posted pictures of a STuGIII recovery elsewhere on Arrse. There is also a very big Polish Military forum I'll try and find the details of. It's in Polish, but they all speak good English , and you'll find plenty of help there as regards planning and tour guides.

Edit: Found it http://www.odkrywca.pl . Click on 'galerie' to get a flavour.

If you want to go off the beaten track as regards the Holocaust, a trip to the Lodz (Woo-ge) Ghetto is a must. Harrowing.

On a happier note ,be prepared to get absolutely off your face , the Poles love the British. :D
 
#20
Another good militaria market in Warsaw is 'Kolo' in the west of the city, but get there early before the tourist herds.

The aviation museum in Krakow has a working Spitfire and some fascinating WW1 biplanes from many countries.

If you travel east from Nowa Huta you get to an aeroclub run by an ex-Mig pilot called Marek who can arrange your pilot's license for about 4000GBP and can be done in a summer in English, weather depending.

If anyone is interested in Krakow, PM me, I have an office in the Old Town and I can put you in touch with people who won't rip you off. There is a travel agency that arrange tours who owe me a couple of favours.
 

Similar threads


Latest Threads

Top