The thing with Auschwitz is, its essentially a gravesite; MILLIONS of people died here. You would never think to desecrate a grave or show disrespect, and yet on many occasions I encountered people who really didnt GET what this place was all about. This ranged from the people who just went around looking at things without really SEEING them...to the people who in my opinion, are just sick.
Photography isn't forbidden per se, as long as its done discreetly [I myself took only a few exterior shots] but photography inside is an absolute no no, which is understandable. However, some people were actually posing with smiles on their faces inside the buildings, like this was Disneyland or something. One woman was actually posing in the crematorium (!!) I gave her a 'what the f*ck are you doing' look and she walked away.
And the worst thing, this was all happening within metres of people who descend from the survivors of this place [some being survivors themselves] For most people, this is a site of pilgrimage, in order to show their respect and to remember the tragedy that occurred here **RESPECT IS A MUST**
Read more on my travel page: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/15be8c/757cc
This can be a bit confusing and I am sure, like me, you do not want to offend. Auschwitz-Birkenau is a mass grave. In fact the whole area is. This is because the ashes from the crematoria (plural) were spread on fields as fertiliser during the war. My Tour Guide pointed out this sobering thought right at the beginning. The confusion is that she said NO photography inside the buildings at all and the signs vary. From my observations, you can take photos inside buildings except in the massive area displaying human hair (Block no. 4). This makes sense. The hair is part of the bodies of many murdered souls. They also ask that you not take photos in the basement of Block 11, but this is not well signed.
What you cannot do is take flash photography inside most buildings. There are signs throughout the buildings to let you know. Please look carefully and you will see a camera with a flash and a red line through it. That means pics are OK without a flash. You may find your group may be like mine was and take no photos at all. Just hand back, be last and be discreet.
Given what you do see, you may not really fell like taking any photos at all. That is very understandable.
Please note: NO video photography is allowed at all. Please respect this and don’t switch it over to ‘video’ mode.
Thousands of visitors from all over come to pay their respects. Israelis are probably on the top of the list. They visit Auschwitz to pay their respects to family members or friends. As I was walking through the premises I encounter several groups of Israelis. While waiting for the cinema to start, a group of young Israelis pass by the room. Some where proudly wearing or showing an Israeli flag, while others had the traditional Jewish hat. It brought chills and almost tears just to think about the atrocities that occurred here during the Nazi Occupation.