Shalom Life | December 09, 2014

You Can Now Take a Virtual Tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp

The Auschwitz museum has unveiled a new virtual tour on its website

By: Daniel Koren

Published: November 27th, 2014 in Business » World

You Can Now Take a Virtual Tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp

Launched this week by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum - available via its official website - is as virtual tour that enables users to peruse the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, providing them with high resolution photos, panoramic images of camp exhibits, and other such content.

As reported by Israel's NRG News, the virtual tour has been in development for years, completed in time for the 70th anniversary of the death camp by the Red Army, which the museum will commemorate come January.

Auschwitz is perhaps the most infamous Nazi death camps that was erected by the Third Reich during the Holocaust, standing as an extermination camp from June 1940 to January 1945, with a capacity of approximately 150,000 inmates.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, some 2.1 to 4 million inmates were exterminated at the death camp, the "vast majority" of whom were Jewish. "The majority of prisoners held at Auschwitz were killed in the various gas chambers though many died from starvation, forced labor, disease, shooting squads, and heinous medical experiments."

The virtual tour is presented in both English and Polish, allowing viewers to get a complete understanding of the camp's history, portrayed via literally thousands of photos, documentation, and even artistic works crafted by the camp's prisoners. It also illustrates some of the objects the inmates used while they were incarcerated there.

“For us, the virtual tour is first and foremost an educational project of the first order,” stated Museum Director, Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński. “That’s why we provide much historical information along with the panoramas."

“First of all, it includes numerous accounts of eyewitnesses and their descriptions of respective places. Therefore, the panoramas may be helpful when preparing a visit to the Memorial Site. We should not forget, however, that many people will never have the opportunity to experience the authentic site of Auschwitz in person, if only due to the distance from their place of residence. A virtual way of visiting is their only chance to get at least an approximation of the real experience of the authentic premises of the former camp,” Cywiński added.

The virtual tour will also provide users the chance to see historical facilities that are closed to the public, including guard towers where experiments were conducted, underground cells, and prison blocks.

“During the virtual tour, you can see photographs taken from various heights; from a few metres and several dozen metres. Thanks to this, the authentic architecture of the place becomes more readable,” said an employee of the museum, Marek Kocjan. “The pictures were taken in various weather conditions and at different times of day. It is a unique opportunity to see the former camp premises at night, for example.”

Take the tour here.

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