Oświęcim (Auschwitz) – the site of the greatest crime of the 20th century
Only twice in its almost 800-year history has the Polish city of Oświęcim borne the name that seems so inescapable to it today and that connects it with the greatest crime of the 20th century: Auschwitz. The city was first given this name in 1772, after the partition of Poland. At that time it came under the rule of the Habsburgs, which would last about 100 years. Until 1918, the Austrian Emperor also called himself Duke of Auschwitz.
According to philosophynearby, Oświęcim was renamed Auschwitz again from September 1939. At that time the German Wehrmacht had taken the city without great effort. In 1940 the National Socialists established the largest complex of concentration camps in the German Reich and in the occupied territories near Auschwitz. Exactly how many people were murdered there is still not known with certainty. Rudolf Höß, the camp commandant of Auschwitz, testified in the Nuremberg trials that around 3 million people died in the camp. Since 1990, the exact number of those murdered has been put at 1.6 million. Around 90% of them were Jews.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim is the largest in the city. It provides the visitor with important information about the former concentration camp and gives him the opportunity to visit the former camps Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to Oświęcim every year. For the medium-sized Polish city on the Vistula and Sola rivers, however, the problem arises that most visitors only stay in Oświęcim for the duration of their museum stay and usually do not consider a longer stay in the city itself.
Oświęcim wants to be more than just a warning place without its own living face. The six years under German occupation within the city’s more than 800 years of history are only a minor historical moment, albeit a serious one. In Oświęcim, which was first mentioned in 1179, there is not only the princely castle, the first components of which date back to the second half of the 13th century. In addition, the city has several churches, museums and cultural centers and impresses with its good location, which makes it easy to set off on interesting excursions to the recreational areas on the river valleys of the Sola and Vistula.
In the following, this city in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship will be presented and an attempt will be made to loosen it somewhat from the sad connection to the horrors of Auschwitz, the symbol of the Nazi atrocities in its most barbaric form. Oświęcim remains an independent city, and it should be seen as such. Therefore, the focus in the following remarks will be on the city. If you want to find out more about the Auschwitz – Birkenau State Museum and the former concentration camp, you can find it below.
It should also be noted that the mayor, Mr Janusz Marszalek, speaks fluent German, as does the city’s press officer, Mr Parcer.
Information that applies to the whole of Poland, e.g. B. on currency, entry requirements, health issues, etc., can be found under Poland.
|Name in Polish||Oświęcim|
|Name in German||Auschwitz|
|Other names||Oshpitizin (Yiddish)|
|meaning||The city of Oświęcim gained notoriety for its proximity to the complex of concentration camps of the Third Reich.
Around 1.6 million people from all over Europe were murdered by the National Socialists in these camps.
|Location||Oświęcim is located in the south of Poland and in the west of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship (Województwo malopolskie).
The city is located about 50 km west of the voivodeship capital Kraków and 35 km from Katowice.
|Region||Lesser Poland Voivodeship (Województwo malopolskie)
|Function of the city||Industrial city
An important traffic junction for through traffic.
Location of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
|Main religions||Roman Catholic Christianity (approx. 95%)|
|National currency||Złoty (1 zł = 100 Groszy)
Groszy = Groschen
|Tourist center||Tourist Information Center
32-603 Oświęcim 5
Tel.: 0048 – (0) 33 – 843-2- 81
|Telephone code with country code||0048 – (0) 33 – subscriber number|
|Time||CET or CEST (Central European Summer Time) in summer|
|Line voltage, line frequency||230 volts and 50 hertz|
|License plate of Poland||PL|
50 kilometers from Oświęcim lies Kraków, the third largest city in Poland. After Warsaw, it is the second largest Polish science and cultural center, as well as a university town and the seat of the archbishop. Krakow was the capital of Poland, seat of kings and coronation city for a long time. The Archdiocese of Krakow has existed since 1925. From this emerged Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Karol Wojtyła in 1978. Krakow was fortunate to have been spared major destruction during World War II. Therefore, the beautiful old town is still preserved in its historical structure. In 1978 this old town was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Church of St. Andrew
This fine piece of architecture is located in the closer area around Oświęcim. The late Gothic church with elements of the Baroque was built in 1558 on the remains of a previous building. The interior of the building impresses with high rococo- style side altars. The church tower dates back to 1633.
This village, located on the Osiek highlands, is surrounded by picturesque hills on the north and south sides. Historically, it refers to the former Grand Duchy of Oświęcim. The village was first mentioned in writing in 1278 and was once the richest area in the vicinity of Oświęcim.
Pregierz (= pillory)
This is an oak tree that was once used as a place of punishment. There are still visible traces of metal bands on the tree, indicating that unfortunate people were tied to it and then flogged.