Main Attractions in Oswiecim

In World War II, Poland was occupied by the Germans. In 1940, they converted Polish military barracks into the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Auschwitz is the name used to loosely identify the three main Nazi concentration camps and 40-50 sub camps. The three main camps were Auschwitz I, AuschwitzII-Birkenau and AuschwitzIII-Monowitz. The word Auschwitz is the German form of Oswiecim, the city located nearby. Later, the Germans renamed the city of Oswiecim, and called it Auschwitz. It is here that Hitler galvanized into action to erase from the face of the planet, the Jewish race, thus making it the site of the greatest mass murder in human history.

On January 27, 1945, the surviving prisoners at the camp were liberated by the Red Army and on July2, 1947, by an act of the Polish Parliament, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was established on the two parts of the camp that were not destroyed by the Germans before they retreated, Auschwitz I and AuschwitzII-Birkenau. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Children below the age of 12 should not visit the museum or see the site.