Best things to do in Oświęcim
Find out more about those top places in Oświęcim
Oświęcim is a small industrial city located on the border between the Polish provinces of Silesia and Małopolska and close to the nearby metropolis of Katowice. While the name Oświęcim will likely be unfamiliar to most English speakers, the city’s German name, Auschwitz, will not be. Site of the largest concentration camp in history, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is a monument to the grotesque brutality of the Nazi regime’s attempt to exterminate Europe’s Jews and other minority groups. The camp is divided into two sections – the earlier Auschwitz I and the vast Birkenau (Auschwitz II) camp, which was constructed after the Nazi’s had devised their genocidal Final Solution. Today, millions of visitors arrive yearly to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in Oświęcim and to learn about the city’s deeply disturbing modern history.
You might get there and find a museum instead but don't worry, you are in the correct place. What is now a museum was formerly an enamel factory before its conversion after the second world war. The Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory is where Oskar Schindler saved the lives of a thousand people during the Holocaust.
The Nazis had two main concentration camps in Oswiecim alone, and each of these camps has their stories to tell. More than 125,000 prisoners of war were kept in these concentration camps and more than a million people were murdered. When the Nazis were finally forced away from these camps, they tried to burn the camps down but were only partially successful. Today, the remains of these camps are a tourist site.