Auschwitz is located outside the town of Oswiecim in southern Poland, about 40 miles (66 km) west of Krakow.
Auschwitz (or Auschwitz-Birkenau) is the generic name given to the cluster of concentration, labor and extermination camps built by the Germans during the Second World War that was the largest in the Third Reich.
It has become a place of pilgrimage for survivors, their families, and others who wish to remember the Holocaust. The fortified walls, barbed wire, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and cremation ovens show the conditions within which the Nazi genocide took place.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, cited both for its “irrefutable evidence to one of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated against humanity” and as “a monument to the strength of the human spirit which in appalling conditions of adversity resisted the efforts of the German Nazi regime to suppress freedom and free thought and to wipe out whole races.”