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Auschwitz Birkenau

Listed under Tombs & Memorials in Poland.

  • Photo of Auschwitz Birkenau
  • Photo of Auschwitz Birkenau
Photo of Auschwitz Birkenau
Photo by flickr user soylentgreen23
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More commonly referred to in English as 'Auschwitz', the Polish city of Oswiecim is recorded as existing as far back as 1117. Its history is closely tied to both the German and Polish cultures, and its population was largely Jewish from the mid-1400s until the advent of World War II and the beginning of the Holocaust.

Once Poland had been occupied by German forces, Adolf Hitler set about preparations for the building of the Auschwitz concentration camp by employing slave labour to construct an army base for German guards. Three camps were then constructed: the administrative division was housed in Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II was designed specifically for the imprisonment and extermination of Jews, and Auschwitz III as a work camp.

Between 1940 and 1945, somewhere between 1,100,000 and 1,500,000 people are believed to have died in the camps, mainly in gas chambers, which were used to exterminate any prisoners (the elderly, women and children) who were not deemed fit for work. 400,000 people were registered at the camp instead of being sent to their deaths immediately, and over 50% of them died from starvation, disease, extreme enforced physical labour, the torture and executions used as punishment, or illegal medical experimentation.

It is more than understandable that those who visit a site which harboured such misery and evil should feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of emotion attached to it, especially since its significance is imprinted on most of our minds by the time we are teenagers. Auschwitz I and II (Birkenau) are open to the public, and emotional breakdown and even panic are common occurrences among visitors.

Written by  larapiegeler.

Other expert and press reviews

“Auschwitz Birkenau”

'The fortified walls, barbed wire, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and cremation ovens show the conditions within which the Nazi genocide took place in the former concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest in the … Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

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