The tradition of study visits to Auschwitz dates back to the 1960s. Organized by the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace from Berlin, groups of Germans came to Auschwitz and discovered traces of German history. For many, the trip to Auschwitz was the first confrontation with the crimes of National Socialism. Today, groups of young people and students from many European countries take part in these study trips. The program includes a visit at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, educational workshops, a tour through the city of Oświęcim and independent work on a project.
Introduction to the IYMC history and educational work
During an introductory meeting organized for each newly arrived group, the IYMC educators present the history of the institution, its objectives, program expectations, and information about its current educational activities. Additionally, at the beginning of each group’s visit, group leaders and participants receive all the necessary guidelines for their stay at the IYMC.
A Walk Through The City of Oświęcim
Oświęcim, a town with over 800 years of history, nowadays with population of about 40,000, is known to the world as Auschwitz. Here in 1940, the largest concentration and extermination camp in Europe, Auschwitz, was founded by German National Socialists. Although the symbol of Auschwitz has dominated the history of Oświęcim, it is worth discovering the lesser known pages from the history of this town. This is possible during the walks organized by the IYMC. Historical traces of the Oświęcim Jewish community are especially noteworthy. Before the war, the community included about 7,000 members. Today, there remains only one synagogue, restored in 2000 and a Jewish cemetery, that can currently be visited – and a role of the city in the period of National Socialism as a model “settlement town for Germans in the East”. The walks also provide an opportunity to learn facts about the everyday life of the inhabitants of Oświęcim.
Guided tours at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim offers general as well as study tours at the memorial site, conducted by licensed guides in a language of your choosing. We suggest the two-day study tour to the groups that stay at the Centre. The first day consists of a visit of the main museum exhibition, which is located within the Auschwitz I site. The second day, groups visit selected sites associated with the mass extermination of Jews and other groups of victims at the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.
Educational workshops for young people
The workshops are mainly targeted at young people and conducted by educators of the IYMC. On the one hand, they serve to broaden knowledge about Auschwitz and the Holocaust and their importance in Polish, German, and European culture of remembrance. On the other hand, they point to contemporary events and the individual's personal responsibility for phenomena present in society today, such as racism, anti-Semitism, nationalism, and xenophobia.
Library and media library of the IYMC
The collection of the IYMC library includes primarily academic studies related to the subject of Auschwitz and other concentration camps, as well as memoirs and testimonies of survivors. Readers will also find items in the field of German history, primarily the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the history and culture of Jews as well as items in the field of pedagogy, sociology, philosophy, literature, as well as the history of Poland and Polish-German relations. The vast majority of the collection comes from donations. We would like to thank all donors, both institutions and private individuals, for this form of support.
The IYMC media library contains films on topics related to World War II, Auschwitz, and the Holocaust. Groups residing at the IYMC are able to take advantage of the rich collection of documentary and feature films as well as the documentation of meetings with former Auschwitz prisoners, which were recorded at the Center. The collected film materials can be used during educational workshops or can serve to deepen knowledge on a selected topic.
Other program proposals
WORKSHOPS AND LECTURES at national exhibitions, the concentration camp art collection, or in the Archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim.
LECTURES AND MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATIONS on selected issues from the history of Auschwitz at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim.
MAINTENANCE WORK on the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
The Jewish Museum and Synagogue in Oświęcim
"Roma History and Culture" - an exhibition at the Roma People Association in Poland
Kraków - a one day visit combined with sightseeing of the Old Town, the Jewish district of Kazimierz, the area of the former Kraków Ghetto, and the Memorial Site of the former Płaszów Concentration Camp
“Negatives of Memory. Labyrinths" - an exhibition by the former Auschwitz prisoner, artist Marian Kołodziej, located in the Franciscan Monastery in Harmęże near Oświęcim
A visit to the Jewish community in Bielsko-Biała