Commune of Oswiecim

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The 800 year-old town is one of the oldest Piast castellan cities in Poland. The city once belonged to a person named Oświęcim.

This is the place, where the largest Nazi concentration camp and extermination centre Auschwitz – Birkenau was located during the World War II. It comprised three main camps: the master camp Auschwitz I in Oświęcim, Auschwitz II – Birkenau in Brzezinka, Auschwitz III – Monowitz in Monowice, and a system of subcamps.

The camp, liberated on January 27, 1945, remains to this day as a monument of the tragic genocide of about 1,1 – 1,5 million of innocent people of various nationalities and denominations. Approximately 90% of the prisoners were Jewish.

Currently, the area of the camp is administered by the National Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, which was created in 1947. The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.

Pope John Paul II visited the camp during his first pilgrimage to Poland (1979). On May 26, 2006, Oświęcim was visited by Pope Benedict XVI.