Visiting the Auschwitz site
It was already possible to visit the Auschwitz site in 1945. However, visiting was limited to organized groups, or took place in connection with various ceremonies. Only after the beginning of work on setting up the Museum was it placed on a regular basis. In 1946, there were 100 thousand visitors and pilgrims (many people, especially relatives of victims, treated the visit as a pilgrimage). The next year, there were 170 thousand.
Both individual and group visits were possible. In either case, the visitor had to be accompanied by a guard or other member of the nascent Museum staff, acting as guide.
Admission was by purchase of a ticket, with the proceeds going to organizational work. Until the official opening of the Museum, guides showed the “Arbeit macht frei” gate, block 11 and the Death Wall in the courtyard, and the reconstructed Crematorium I at the main camp, and the interiors of brick and wooden barracks, the ruins of the crematoria, and the burning pits at Birkenau.