If you are planning a vacation to Europe this summer, why not plan your itinerary so that you can see some of the most popular historic WWII sites. Whether you are a history buff, a history student, or simply wanting a closer look at what you’ve learned about in World History class over the years, there is something extremely humbling about visiting sites where famous battles were waged and won, led by great generals from both sides.
You can learn more about these generals on 10Awesome.com, and then plan to visit some of the sites of those famous battles. Perhaps you’d like to tour the cities most devastated by war or pray for the souls lost in concentration camps. There is nothing like mixing a bit of history with sightseeing trips as you work your way across the continent.
1. A Look at Life in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp (Berlin, Germany)
Located just outside the city of Berlin, there is an amazingly detailed museum, which is only three km from the first ever work camp set up by the Nazis. Although the Oranienburg concentration camp has long been destroyed, you can still learn much of the history of these camps in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Not only will you see exhibits that document the lives of the prisoners, but there are exhibits which show you what life was like for the soldiers who were ordered to man the camps. If anyone doubts just how horrible these camps truly were, this is worth a visit to get an accurate depiction of the hell in which these prisoners were kept.
2. D-Day Landing Beaches (Normandy, France)
When reading about those famous generals mentioned above, one that will surely strike an interest is British General Bernard Montgomery who served in the British Army for half a century, from 1908 to 1958. Known as the intelligence, the planner behind the D-Day Normandy invasion, Monty (as he was lovingly referred to) defeated Germany’s Rommel, another great general of WWII here, as well as in Africa. However, there are a great number of war sites, including the D-Day landing beaches and museums in Normandy that will keep you busy for days touring and learning about real history from a first-hand view.
3. Enamel Factory of Oskar Schindler (Krakow, Poland)
Few people haven’t seen Spielberg’s award-winning movie, Schindler’s List which was largely based on Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi Party in Krakow, Poland who literally saved the lives of hundreds of Jews seeking to avoid capture by the Gestapo. While the enamel and munitions factory still stands today and is home to the Krakow Museum of Modern Art, you can tour the museum and learn why history has come to regard this Nazi as a wartime hero. It is documented that through political bribery and putting Jews to work in his factory, he was able to save them from the camps.
Those of us in the United States have a limited understanding of the devastation that was widespread throughout much of Europe during WWII. We know about Pearl Harbor, the one place struck by the war in North America, but most of us can’t imagine what Europe endured through those tragic years. When planning to travel through Europe, take the time to see at least these three historic sites, memories of the war that saw the greatest loss of lives of any war in history.