Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Oświęcim, Poland

Auschwitz concentration camp was a network of German Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It consisted of Auschwitz I (the original camp), Auschwitz II–Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp), Auschwitz III–Monowitz (a labor camp to staff an IG Farben factory), and 45 satellite camps.

Auschwitz I was first constructed to hold Polish political prisoners, who began to arrive in May 1940. The first extermination of prisoners took place in September 1941, and Auschwitz II–Birkenau went on to become a major site of the Nazi 'Final Solution to the Jewish question'. From early 1942 until late 1944, transport trains delivered Jews to the camp's gas chambers from all over German-occupied Europe, where they were killed with the pesticide Zyklon B. At least 1.1 million prisoners died at Auschwitz, around 90 percent of them Jewish; approximately 1 in 6 Jews killed in the Holocaust died at the camp. Others deported to Auschwitz included 150,000 Poles, 23,000 Romani and Sinti, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, 400 Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and tens of thousands of people of diverse nationalities. Many of those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, infectious diseases, individual executions, and medical experiments.

In the course of the war, the camp was staffed by 7,000 members of the German Schutzstaffel (SS), approximately 12 percent of whom were later convicted of war crimes. Some, including camp commandant Rudolf Höss, were executed. The Allied Powers refused to believe early reports of the atrocities at the camp, and their failure to bomb the camp or its railways remains controversial. One hundred forty-four prisoners are known to have escaped from Auschwitz successfully, and on October 7, 1944, two Sonderkommando units—prisoners assigned to staff the gas chambers—launched a brief, unsuccessful uprising.

As Soviet troops approached Auschwitz in January 1945, most of its population was evacuated and sent on a death march. The prisoners remaining at the camp were liberated on January 27, 1945, a day now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In the following decades, survivors, such as Primo Levi, Viktor Frankl, and Elie Wiesel, wrote memoirs of their experiences in Auschwitz, and the camp became a dominant symbol of the Holocaust. In 1947, Poland founded a museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, and in 1979, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



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Oświęcim, Poland
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Founded: 1940
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Poland


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ajay Kumar (5 months ago)
Must visit place and you can only feel what others have been gone through in life… unimaginable pain … It’s a mirror of past!!
Chris Mcloughlin (6 months ago)
It's worth going here to get some understanding of the scale and suffering that Jews and others had handed out by the Nazis during their time in power. Walking around the camp just shows what man can do to fellow man. The suffering and death on an industrial scale. The museum does well to preserve the past so we don't forget. There is a lot of walking involved so plan ahead especially if you take a guided tour as they move quickly but do give you lots of information about the camp and the people who went through the gates, many for the last time.
Brenden Bithell (6 months ago)
Probably one of the most badly organised tourist destinations in the world ! Always wanted to visit but was very disappointed, the complete cluster fxxk of the main entry, the inability to secure private tickets in advance via a official site, this resulted in almost 45 min to wait in a outdoor line until we could get to the ticket office and then another 2 hour wait until our time slot to actually get through the gate. I'd gladly pay €5-10 for advance tickets if I could get a guaranteed time to get in when I arrive. Once in there was no real flow or direction of what to see or what order to see it in. The official map was about as much use as sand in a desert, honestly a 5 year old could have drawn a better plan. Inside large tour groups dominated all the various things to see and we were often barged out of the way or unable to pass them while they blocked doors or things to see. My impression of the place has been ruined by visiting it and then when coming out, they don't even have clear signage where to get public transport back or a covered bus stop. The urban planner / architect who designed the new entrance and coach part obviously never tried visiting as a tourist.
METU CO.LTD ANKARA - TURKEY (7 months ago)
You MUST visit before you die... no need for expensive tours , take a train that costs 30 , two ways , enterance with quide costs 90
餅乾 (9 months ago)
Very informative, expect to take a whole day if you are walking both sides. Camp 1 (museum) has everything you need to know written, but for camp2 it’s best with guided tour or research before hand.
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The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.