Auschwitz I – former concentration camp

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The Auschwitz I concentration camp is part of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. It is the best-preserved part of the entire concentration camps complex in Oświęcim, a place that is a symbol of war, terror, genocide and the Holocaust. Visitors are able to visit both the museal part of the permanent exhibition and most of the facilities on the premises of the former Auschwitz I main camp.

History and role of a concentration camp

The Auschwitz I concentration camp was established as a result of the formal division of Auschwitz in 1943. It is located on the premises of pre-war military barracks, adapted by the Nazis to new functions. Initially, it served as a concentration camp and extermination site, where prisoners died due to the lack of elementary living conditions. However, with the construction of the gas chamber and crematorium, it also became a center of immediate extermination.
The administrative part with the offices of the commander of the local garrison and the commandant of KL Auschwitz I, as well as the central offices of the political and employment departments, were located in Auschwitz I. Moreover, on the camp grounds there were main supply warehouses, workshops and SS enterprises where prisoners were forced to work.

Visiting Auschwitz I.

Visitors have access to a large part of the area and original or partially reconstructed buildings, as well as the permanent exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. In the outer part you can visit, among others the “Arbeit macht frei” gate, assembly square, gas chamber and crematorium, and individual blocks where the Nazis committed harrowing crimes. In addition, the part of the permanent exhibition contains documentary photographs, photocopies of documents and historical exhibits, including: prisoners’ clothes, bunks and other equipment of the barracks, private belongings taken from deported prisoners.
A minimum of 1.5 hours should be allocated to visit the Auschwitz I camp.


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Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
20 Więźniów Oświęcimia Street
32-603 Oświęcim
+48 33 844 8000

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Where is Auschwitz?

In Poland, in the lesser poland province, in the city Oświęcim.

How many people died in Auschwitz?

According to historians, between 1 and 1.5 million people died in Auschwitz (and its sub-camps - the main extermination center was Birkenau). Most of them, i.e. about 1-1.35 million, were Jews.

What was Auschwitz?

Auschwitz was a German Nazi concentration camp in occupied Poland

How many people survived Auschwitz?

About 7,000 prisoners lived to see the liberation of Auschwitz and sub-camps.

How many Jews died in Auschwitz?

About 960,000 Jews (865,000 of them gassed immediately after arrival)

When was auschwitz liberated?

January 27, 1945

How far is Auschwitz from Krakow?

About 70 kilometers

How big was Auschwitz?

Auschwitz covers 20 hectares

Auschwitz II-Birkenau 171 hectares

What does KL Auschwitz mean?

KL - concentration camp (from German Konzentrationslager)

Auschwitz is German name for Oświęcim (Polish city)


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    5 (1 Reviews)
    28 October 2021

    I was with Krakowbooking on tour – the whole trip was very well organized