They say, if you visit Kraków, then you must tour Auschwitz. “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana)”.
Auschwitz is 2 1/2 to 3 hour car ride from Kraków. It is located near the industrial town of Oświęcim in Southern Poland (in a portion of the country that was annexed by Germany at the beginning of World War II). It is only 68 km from Kraków, but you need to single lane road through small towns to get there.
When I was chatting with our tour guide, she told me about the link I post below. “Auschwitz From Above: Aerial Footage Shows Grand Scale of Concentration Camp”
I asked our guide how long has she been doing this tour and she stated for 12 years, and even on our tour you can feel the passion in her voice when she talks about austerity that happen Auschwitz. There were actually 3 concentration camps:
- Auschwitz I
- Auschwitz II–Birkenau
- Auschwitz III (Monowitz-Buna)
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.
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 en masse with the pesticide Zyklon B. An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to the camp, of whom at least 1.1 million died. Around 90 percent of those killed were 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, and tens of thousands of others of diverse nationalities, including an unknown number of homosexuals. Many of those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, infectious diseases, individual executions, and medical experiments. The above came from (“Auschwitz concentration camp”).
Auschwitz III – Monowitz-Buna was a workcamp for non-jewish prisoners perceived not up to par with German work standards.
One of sad facts, is that Nazi-Germany relocated villages from the near by area destroying villages in the process.