These days, the former Nazi death camp at Treblinka has an eerie peacefulness, giving an urgent reminder of the horrors of genocide. Here is how to visit this powerful memorial to the victims of war crimes.
Treblinka has the grim distinction of being the second deadliest of the Nazi extermination camps. Originally a forced labour camp, set up at the Treblinka I site in 1941, to mine a local quarry, the death camp was established the following year. Very little is left of these sites, where much of Warsaw’s Jewish and Romani population were murdered or otherwise led to their deaths, but this uncanny monument to an estimated 800,000 victims provides a powerful and reflective experience.
Treblinka itself remains not much more than a village and the memorial grounds are fairly remote. It is possible to visit independently, via train and taxi, but we highly recommend a well-organised guided tour with transport from Warsaw to Treblinka.
What To See In Treblinka
The site is effectively divided across three main areas: the compact main museum, the location of the former Treblinka II Extermination Camp, and the former Treblinka I Labour Camp, with an additional space where the trains would once have arrived.
However, as the Nazis tried to bury all trace of what had happened here, very little actually remains, leaving a creepy imprint of the buildings and activities. The museum building pulls together artefacts recovered from the site and a scale model of the camps.
Treblinka II is now a kind of sculptural space symbolising the train tracks on which inmates would arrive for execution and a jagged stone graveyard for the different communities lost here. The space is powerful what it leaves out, allowing your imagination to do the work.
Treblinka I is even sparser. A walk through the trees and open spaces, with outlines in the ground and informational signs dotted throughout.
The museum website offers a virtual tour of Treblinka.
Read more reviews on TripAdvisor.
How To Visit Treblinka
The camps at Treblinka are not particularly easy to reach and not much remains once you get there. However, the stark outlines and fragments lend the place a kind of brutal poignancy, giving your imagination space to really appreciate the events.
Treblinka address: Wólka Okrąglik 115, 08-330 Poland
Treblinka Museum is open daily from 9am to 6.30pm, except for New Year’s Day. It is also closed over the Easter and Christmas periods, and occasionally on other dates – check the official Treblinka Museum website before you travel.
Entry tickets are 7zł, although entry is free on Mondays.
English language tours are available onsite during weekdays, at an inclusive cost of 80zł, to be arranged in advance. Contact details are available via the official Treblinka Museum website.
All the Treblinka sites are roughly 8km outside a large village called Małkinia Górna and are really quite remote. You can get the train from Warszawa Gdańska to Małkinia, which costs about 9zł and can be done in just over an hour, though trains are infrequent. There’s a small taxi rank next to the station ticket office, though you may have to wait a little for a car to turn up.
The driver may not speak English, but will be used to tourists and should understand the name “Treblinka”. You could also write it down. The fare should be about 50zł and expect to pay cash only. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the museum. You could also try to arrange the trip back or see if the driver has a card so you can call for a pickup.
Seriously, though, the most straightforward way to visit is by pre-arranging a full Treblinka tour from Warsaw. These typically last 5-6 hours and will pick you up from your accommodation. Everything will be taken care of for you, including the fuller insights of a guide to the museum and both sites.
Tips For Visiting Treblinka
- Expect to spend an hour in the main museum building, plus an additional hour for what remains of the Treblinka II extermination camp, and a third hour to include the Treblinka I penal labour camp. With transport times, this is a full morning or afternoon.
- An audioguide is available for both Android and iPhones. Details are linked from the Audio guide “Extermination Camp Treblinka II” page.
- The distance between the two camps is 2km, so a fair bit of walking is required. Furthermore, the outside areas have limited seating, so you can expect to be on your feet quite a bit. The museum building, on the other hand, has toilets and lots of chairs.
- The museum has no cloakroom or storage facilities, so be sure to bring limited items with you. Again, visiting as part of an organised day trip is helpful, as you can leave items in the vehicle.
- Photography is allowed for personal purposes.
- The museum is not recommended for children under 14.
- The outside areas have a range of different surfaces, including a cobbled pathway and a kind of shingle. This may prove challenging to people with limited mobility.
- There is nowhere to buy food and drink onsite, though there are a handful of sheltered places to eat, so bring a packed lunch with you.
- There is no gift shop, though you can buy a few books at the ticket window.
- Bring some cash with you, especially if you intend to get the taxi from Małkinia.
Where Is This Place Located?Find this location on the Warsaw Visit Google map:
- Open the Warsaw Visit map
- Click on a marker and it will give you the name of the landmark, with a brief description and links for more information and directions. You can pan, scroll, and zoom around the map, or use the + or – buttons in the bottom left of the map to zoom in and out
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side, sorted by category. Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Each category is on a different layer, which can be switched on and off. So you can just see the Hotel or Restaurant pins, for example
- If you are using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location
Map pins are color coded:
- YELLOW: Warsaw Sightseeing
- BLUE: Warsaw Hotels
- RED: Warsaw Places To Eat – Michelin restaurants are DARK RED
- ORANGE: Warsaw Nightlife
- PURPLE: Shopping In Warsaw
- GREEN: Warsaw Transportation