The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex has left its inglorious mark on human history. A symbol of the Holocaust, during its five years of operation over a mil...In the top 5 attractions for Krakow
The inside story
The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex has left its inglorious mark on human history. A symbol of the Holocaust, during its five years of operation over a million Jews, along with Poles, Romani and other groups, were systematically killed by German Occupiers in WWII. Confronting and emotionally charged, a visit to the complex is an essential part of the human experience.
Composed of two sections, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau, together they convey the magnitude of the compound. Auschwitz I was the main site opened in 1940 with the now infamous sign on its gate Arbeit macht frei (‘Work sets you free’). It held the first camps, the offices of the SS and was where criminal medical experiments and the first gassings using Zyklon B took place. Auschwitz II-Birkenau came later and for all intents and purposes became an extermination camp. The remains of its gas chambers and crematorium, along with primitive barracks, can still be seen.