About 40 kilometers from Krakow ( Polish city ) is one of the buildings built by the Nazis during World War II: the Auschwitz extermination camp. Its facilities had five crematory ovens to exterminate the prisoners.
According to most surveys, during the time it was in operation (from 1940 to 1945) approximately 4 million people died, especially Jews, but also Roma people, homosexuals, prisoners of war of various nationalities, German criminals, political prisoners , Spanish exiles, in short, everyone who was considered a threat to the Nazi regime.
We must not forget that Nazi ideology focused on the supremacy of the Aryan race and hatred of Jews, communism and democratic values.
Remembering the history of Auschwitz
Originally, the concentration camp was built to carry out forced labor by Polish prisoners of war, but a few months later Zyklon B gas began to be used to mass exterminate the enemies of Nazism. The Nazi leaders’ plan was known as the final solution to the Jewish question.
The prisoners were held under the tutelage of the German SS, headed by Heinrich Himmler. Not all inmates were considered equal and each group had its own identifying mark on their clothing. For example, Jews wore a yellow Star of David, political prisoners an inverted red triangle, homosexuals an inverted pink triangle.
The Auschwitz living conditions were sub- human : they slept in barracks, food was scarce, there were epidemics, sexual exploitation, temperatures below zero degrees.
Before Auschwitz was released by the communist Soviet army, those in charge of the camp destroyed all kinds of evidence to erase the marks of the atrocities committed.
During the sinister history of the extermination camp we can highlight two protagonists: Josef Mengele and Ana Frank. The first was a German doctor who selected his victims to carry out all kinds of human experimentation. The second was a Jewish girl who wrote a diary (which bears her name) during the time she remained hidden with her family , but who was soon also sent to Auschwitz, where she died of typhus.
Auschwitz can now be visited as a museum, as a visitor’s center was opened in 1947
However, this is not a conventional tourist visit, as its purpose is to keep alive the memory that took place there. On the museum’s premises, personal objects of those who were exterminated can be found, as well as their photographs, written memories, drawings, etc.