Auschwitz - Birkenau Museum
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial can be found in the town of Oswiecim, between Krakow and Katowice. Auschwitz - Birkenau was the place of martyrdom of millions of people during World War II and the largest Nazi concentration camp in the German-occupied Europe. It was here that the Nazis were carrying out their plans of genocide for the extermination of entire nations. According to historical investigations, 1.5 million people, among them a great number of Jews were systematically starved, tortured and murdered at this camp.
The concentration camp named Auschwitz I was established in April 1940 on the outskirts of Oswiecim. The first transports arrived in June of the same year. After entering the site through the camp gate with the inscription "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Makes You Free), visitors can tour prison blocks in which an exhibition of the Auschwitz- Birkenau State Museum has been arranged. The displays contain evidence of the genocide, including personal effects taken from the victims as well as photographs and documents.
The main extermination centre and the world's largest cemetery, Birkenau, was built in the suburbs of Oswiecim in 1942. Some of the barracks and ruins of the crematoria and gas chambers can still be seen there today. The International Camp Victims Memorial was unveiled in 1967 in commemoration of the murdered victims. Many heads of state, whilst on official visits to Poland, come here to pay homage to the victims of the Nazi genocide.