Visiting Auschwitz with a baby


We recently visited Kraków in Poland, and we took along our almost 15 month old, Martha. Auschwitz was on our list of things to do, because you can’t go to Poland and not visit, right? However, we had one problem, the baby! It crossed my mind that we may not be able to take her after a few people had suggested it may not be suitable so I searched on Google for answers but I found very limited information on children visiting the concentration camp. I read a couple of forums regarding older children, but that was it. Nothing about babies, and their website didn’t offer any useful information either. So I’ve decided to give my own information and review from my personal experience, so hopefully it can help someone who was in the same boat as I was.

Are Children Allowed?

My main concern was taking a baby, on their website and on the tour websites it advises that no children under 14 attend, however this was only an advisory and not a rule. And after reading the forums it’s for no other reason than children may not be able to cope with the nature of the visit and the upset it causes. People wrote on the forums that it’s a sad place and it’s ‘too much’ for little ones to witness, especially when a lot of adults get emotional and they went on to say that they’d sense the atmosphere. It’s correct to a degree but I personally think it’s okay to take a child, at a parents own discretion. It is of course sad, and children do pick up on these things. But if they’re old enough to understand it can be explained first, and you don’t have to show them everything that’s there if you think it might upset them. Just keep them out of sight of the worst blocks. To be honest I only saw 3 children throughout the whole day, and it was very busy. These were around 6/7/8 years old. Martha was the only baby I saw.

Anyway, I decide to take her regardless of the forums I read as one, it was probably our only chance to do it, and I think we would have regretted not going. And two, she’s too young to understand any of it and she wouldn’t have known what anything was. The only thing I was worried about what her playing up, crying or misbehaving when people were feeling emotional. But this was never an issue, luckily she’s very well behaved and despite people glaring at us at the beginning, they soon warmed to her tagging along with the group and some commented on how well she was doing. So I’m glad we went, and I didn’t need to worry at all about any of this.

Baby Ticket Price

Despite reading a few different things regarding prices, Martha was free. I’m not sure what age you have to start paying but we didn’t have to get a ticket for her. I looked online before our trip and almost purchased tickets as they appeared cheaper if pre-booked (this isn’t true), and this way would have also meant I would have paid for Martha too so I’m glad I waited. In our apartment, there was a poster on our door with a day trip to Auschwitz & Birkenau (I’ll get to Birkenau shortly), and it was much cheaper than I’d seen online at 160PLN each (around £32), but it didn’t sit right with me that you paid the bus driver in cash as you arrived for your tour, it may well have been genuine but I felt more comfortable booking it with a reputable company, and I wasn’t sure if this price would also be for a baby ticket too. So we went to a tourist information and booked it through them, this cost us 180PLN each (around £36), which was more than the poster, but legit at least. Then we walked no more than 2 minutes down the street where we saw another touristy information shop advertising the same trip for only 130PLN each (around £26) in their window, typical! So I was quite annoyed that I’d just paid more than I should but hey ho, I got over it. So when you go, have a quick browse to check for the cheaper deal!

Traveling With A Baby

We didn’t have a car seat with us, so we were told Martha could just sit on our laps. It’s the same in most countries that if you’re using public transport, you don’t need to have a car seat. However, regardless of the law, you never know if there will be a crash, so I wore her in a baby sling throughout the 1.5 hour journey from Kraków, there and back. So at least then if we did crash, she’d be secure to me. It was a long time for her to be ‘trapped’ but she was surprisingly okay, I just took lots of snacks for bribes. We had a little mini bus which held around 16 people and you could tell people weren’t impressed that a baby was aboard when they saw her, but luckily she proved them wrong and was good as gold.

Facilities

We arrived at Auschwitz and had a quick 10 minute break to go to the toilet before entering the camp, however as expected, there was no baby changing as I guess it’s not a popular place for babies to go. So I had to change her on my lap. Definitely do this during this break and before entering the camp, as there’s literally no time once you’re in there, and nowhere decent to do it. It was so busy and fast paced that we couldn’t take a break even if we wanted to.

There’s a restaurant outside of the camp, where the busses park. But nothing inside the camp for food or drinks, and you’re not allowed to take anything in either. I’d planned on taking our lunches but they said strictly no eating on the grounds out of respect. I snuck in an emergency snack bar just incase it was a last resort to stop Martha from moaning, but I didn’t have to use it. We were allowed to take in her juice bottle and milk. But make sure you take a very small handbag to pop your baby bits in as any bags over 30x20cm (around the size of an A4 bit of paper) aren’t allowed in. And bag sizes and the contents are checked. You actually have to empty your bag and go through a metal detector just like at the airport!

Accessibility

The only and most awkward thing about taking a baby is that you can’t take a pram. I wondered why but after visiting I realise why. You’re in and out of blocks, a lot of the time it’s single file down a narrow hall way, and there’s lots of steps. There’s no way at all you could even attempt to take a pram. Not unless you did a self guided tour and took it in turns to go into the blocks. Even still, it’d be a bumpy ride on the cobbled pavement. I wore Martha in the sling, she doesn’t really go in it nowadays because she’s too heavy, and although my back and shoulders were shattered by the end of the day, I’m so glad I wore her as I would have really struggled otherwise. It’s way too much walking and would have been too long to hold her, even if we’d alternated. It kept her cosy and quiet too! She can walk, but even for a toddler of 2/3 it wouldn’t be practical at all due to it being busy and fast moving. Some of the ceilings and doors are also very low so the high carriers where baby is sat higher than your height wouldn’t work either. In Birkenau, you'd be able to take a pram around that as it's mostly a big outdoor space, but on our tour this was just a short visit.

Overall

This post isn’t a review on Auschwitz & Birkenau itself, but I’ll give you a quick low down..

If you're thinking about it, definitely do it. We originally just wanted to visit Auschwitz but we're so glad we did the double tour that included Birkenau too, as it completed the story. Both camps are extremely sad and eery, it's apparently one of the most haunted places in the world, and whether you believe it or not, Martha kept waving at thin air and saying "hiya" as if someone was there. I personally thought Birkenau was more upsetting and 'spooky', I don't really know why, it was just a personal feeling.

We did the guided tour, with a group of around 25, we wore a headset and the guide would talk into a speaker so we could hear her, it was so busy and numerous groups were there so we never would have heard otherwise. I'd definitely advise doing a guided tour so it all makes sense, although the downside to this was that you were constantly on the move and it was in and out and no time to stay in each place long. However, it might be confusing not having any information at all and just wondering around, although it would have been better with a little one I think.

I feel awful for saying this, and I hope it doesn't come across wrong, but it wasn't as upsetting as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it was extremely sad, and when you're there it really hits you how awful this place was. But after what people had told me I was expecting a lot worse, maybe I'd worried myself too much beforehand, I don't know. I was under the impression that everyone would be crying and from what I'd read, and I'd panicked myself that I wouldn't cope, but it wasn't like this. People weren't exactly laughing and joking, but they were 'normal' with a few exceptions of people getting teary. I did tear up myself when I saw the hair and possessions of the victims, especially the children's clothing and shoes, that really choked me up.

So I hope this little review on taking a baby along to the concentration camps helps someone. If you want to go and you have a baby with you, just do it. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks, if your baby does play up, you can just walk off, as long as you're not bothered about possibly missing something. It's definitely worth a visit, it really opens your eyes and I know I definitely would have regretted not going if I'd have decided against it.


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An incredible person and an incredible photographer. Thank you again Jade for the beautiful photos and we cannot wait to use you again.

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James Clayton

 

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Rowena Goonetilleke

 

I had always wanted to do a photo shoot with my newborn but as my pregnancy wasn’t as smooth sailing, I didn’t have the heart to book something in advance. Then once he was born i really wanted a photo shoot and realised he was approaching 6 weeks already by then! I contacted inspirique and they fitted me in the next day! Jade was very professional, clearly having handled new born babies. Her patience was amazing! Baby even managed to do a poop in studio but she took this in her stride! It was an enjoyable few hours and our images are dotted around the house as a reflection of our experience and the quality work! Thank you Jade!

Emily Martin

Jade at Inspirique was truly professional whilst being informal and making myself and my son feel very relaxed to create natural and amazing photos we will treasure forever! We loved the shoot and the time flew by and we could not be happier with the prints created! Jade was natural and caring with our son who was extra delicate as our shoot was a week before his due date as he arrived early. It was very easy to book and Jade was flexible in arranging times that were convenient to both! Jade went above and beyond for us as a family and we will be returning for further shoots in the future! Amazing!

Andy- 16/07/18

 

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Gemma - 04/06/18

 

I’ve seen Jade twice; I visited Jade a couple of months back for a maternity photo shoot, as I wanted to capture some timeless images during my first pregnancy. Jade was so professional and friendly she put me at ease throughout, as I spent most of the shoot in my underwear and some shots I was nude (which for most women would be an apprehensive thought even without being 7/8 months pregnant). I was able to be clear about what type of photos I wanted to create, and got to choose which outfits to wear, I only needed to bring black and white underwear, everything else was provided for. I also opted for the powder photo where Jade’s lovely assistant threw flour over me to get a beautiful shot, and didn’t mind at all that her clothes were also covered in flour in the process.

My second visit was a few weeks ago when I took my 3 week old baby boy for his newborn shoot. Again Jade was very professional and spoke to me and my husband about the type of photos we wanted and colour backdrops, outfits we wanted to use, if any. She handled Joel with care and worked to his timetable- we stopped when nappy changing and feeding was needed. We were both very pleased at the end result and couldn’t choose which photos to have so we had them all!

I’d definitely recommend x

Kerry- 21/05/18

 

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Andy Martin

 

Jade was absolutely incredible, she made the whole process easy. Jade was very professional and understood everything we wanted. Her flexibility made it easier for us especially having a new born. Would highly recommend to anyone who wanted to capture those special early days. 10/10 thank you x

Vikki - 16/07/18

 

Jade was brilliant with both our children (Florence who was just 2 weeks and Ethan who on that day was every inch a terrible 2). She was so patient and worked her magic and produced a stunning family shot (we’re still stumped as to how she did it) and beautiful portraits of Florence. This was all in the stifling heat and standard newborn poop explosions!! When we returned to choose they were all displayed to help us choose and there was no pressure as to what to have/ spend. We even changed the colours on some to make them work as a group display piece. Really happy and worth every penny also loved the gift bag with little treats as it made it feel much more personal and was a lovely touch x

Jess - 15/07/18

 

Would just like to say a massive thank you to jade for the amazing photos. You did an amazing job. You was very helpful in letting us have a second attempt as Isabel would not play ball the first time. I'm one happy mummy.

Jasmin- 11/05/18

 

Amazing photos from the mini newborn shoot!! We really struggled to choose which 3 to have as they were all adorable. Jade really had to work for the shots she got as Penelope was really not playing ball bless her, but all the hard work (rocking and soothing her for over an hour) paid off! She has the patience of a saint! Would highly recommend. We can’t wait to come back and get some more lovely pictures as she gets older! Thank you.

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Jeff - 01/04/18

 

Excellent experience in a warm and welcoming environment.
Jade worked wonders with my son Charlie to achieve the perfect shots.

Sam Davenport

 

I have used Inspirique Baby Photography twice so far and both times i have been excellently looked after by Jade! I had my maternity shoot at 30 weeks and wasn't feeling my best but jade made me feel so confident and the photos were great! We was not pressured into buying any! We went for our newborn shoot this week and was great to watch jade work with our little girl and she is brilliant with them! She was in safe hands! The service u get is first class and communication is brilliant! Always reply to messages and feel I have been well looked after throughout! Waiting on viewing our newborn photos but happy they will be worth the wait. 100% recommend Inspirique to anyone!

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Charlotte - 16/07/18

 

We booked in with Jade for the newborn photo shoot, when our Daughter was 2 weeks old. We hadn’t experienced anything like this before, and didn’t know what to expect. Jade made us feel very welcome and relaxed and explained everything to us along the way. There was no time limit for the photo shoot, which made us feel at ease. The photo shoot was a lovely experience and we would definitely do it again. When viewing the photos, it was a very calm atmosphere. Jade made us feel very relaxed when choosing our photos, and didn’t make us feel rushed at all. Choosing our photographs was very difficult as they were all beautiful! 
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AJ - 15/07/18

 

Thank you very much for the lovely images you took of Isabel they are beautiful. Also thank you for allowing us to have a 2nd attempt at the photo shoot as Isabel was a little upset and not her bubbly self you were amazing. I will highly recommend you to all others out there, friends and family. Can't thank you enough.

Lisa - 04/05/18

 

I went in to this photo shoot not really knowing what to expect & fairly nervous about getting my clothes off with a stranger. But as soon as Jade invited us in to her studio she made both my partner & myself feel so comfortable. Jade is such a lovely lady, she made me feel so confident! I wasn’t convinced I’d like the photos as I felt a bit silly doing some of the poses, but now I have had my beautiful baby girl and have viewed the photos they are amazing and I’m so proud that I carried her, also captured my baby bump in the most perfect way. Brilliant way to remember/ look back on my bump!!! (As you do forget how big you can get.) I can’t recommend Jade enough, thank you so much for our forever photos.

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Khyati - 16/07/18

 

I wanted to capture the beautiful experience of pregnancy. As soon as we met Jade she put me and my family (husband and toddler) at ease. She was very friendly and professional, took us through the process with patience. I had used one of the dress and head piece from her amazing maternity collection for the maternity shoot.

We also had our newborns photoshoot done few weeks ago. Again she was brilliant with him and handled the session with thorough professionalism. All the props she used for the shoot were so beautiful we couldn’t wait to see the results! It was more than we had expected. Both me and my husband are very happy with the whole experience.

We would definitely recommend!

Sandy - 16/07/18

 

I was really worried about venturing out so soon after my son was born. In fact I regretted booking the session because I wasn’t up to getting out of the house. But I mustered up the courage in the end and did it, and I’m so glad I did. Jade was brilliant with my son and you can tell she’s so comfortable with handling new borns. And despite the heat, she did everything she could to keep all of us comfortable!!! The photos came out beautifully. Would definitely visit again!!

Kathryn - 15/07/18

 

Thank you for our lovely newborn and sitter photos!

Laura- 24/03/18

 

We recently did a cake smash for our 1 year old daughter. The whole experience was really fun and our daughter instantly took to Jade. Thank you again for making her 1st birthday so memorable.

Leah - 01/04/18

 

THANK YOU!!! Jade was amazing with our little boy Charlie. She was so patient settling him, resulting in some absolutely fab pics. All of which was fascinating to watch from jade soothing him to positioning him. We can not wait now to show off the prints. Thank you again. We will be back.

Sarah Wilkinson

 

Jade did a fantastic job on our daughters newborn shoot. She's so determined to get that perfect shot. nothing is ever too much trouble she was brilliant with my two girls too. Would highly recommend!

Krishna Gorania

 

I’ve recently given birth to my first and I really wanted someone to capture my precious baby in his first few weeks, all Mother’s say time flies by so quick and before you know it they are all grown up. Jade was recommended to me by a family member, I’d seen the great pictures she had taken of my Niece already. I was quite nervous about someone posing my baby who was only 10 days at the time but boy am I glad I had the pictures taken.. Jade was amazing! Before the shoot I received an email containing all the information I needed to know about the day. On the day I felt so comfortable with the shoot, Jade was so great with him, she stopped to let me feed him and didn’t rush me at all, she wasn’t bothered about the wee and pooh everywhere during the shoot either.

I’ve now seen the images from the day, I had initially planned to only buy the basic package but the images were so amazing I purchased them all along with a framed canvas! Thanks Jade!!!

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