Oświęcim, a town of 43,000, lies in Southern Poland, roughly 60 km from Kraków. The town is best known as being home to Auschwitz I, a WWII concentration camp, and its close proximity to the Auschwitz expansion camp - Auschwitz-Birkenau, an extermination/forced labor camp.
The first record of the town dates to the 10th century. Originally, Germans and Poles inhabited the town. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Jewish population of Oświęcim began to grow and in a relatively short time Jews were in the majority.
The 1 Train station is located 2km west of the historical center of the town. However, it is located closer to Auschwitz-Birkenau locations.
There is a free bus operating between the two locations of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.
Buses are frequent and cheap, if not totally reliable around the town, and particularly to the Auschwitz museum not far away.
Oświecim is easily navigated on foot, as everything is close by.
- 1 Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The generic name given to the cluster of concentration, labour and extermination camps established by the Nazis during the Second World War. The camps have become a place of pilgrimage for survivors, their families and all who wish to travel to remember the Holocaust.
- 2 Oświęcim Castle, Zamkowa 1, ☎ .
- Jewish cemetery.
- 3 Jewish Museum and Synagogue, Plac Księdza Jana Skarbka 5, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Apr-Sept: 10:00-18:00, Oct-Mar: 10:00-17:00. Closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Includes a museum about the former Jewish life in Oświęcim. Jews were for 150 years the majority in this town. 10zł (reduced 6zł).
Visit Old Town Market, and Chewra Lomdei Misznajot Temple. There is also new modern library, and ice hockey stadium.
- Life Festival Oświęcim. June. Music, theatre and art festival whose main concept is building peaceful relations between cultures. 2014 edition's line-up includes Eric Clapton, Soundgarden and Balkan Beat Box.
- Hotel Galicja, a bit pricy, but fancy cuisine. Dąbrowskiego Street.
- 1 Rapsodia Cafe, Jędrzeja Śniadeckiego 22B, ☎ . Daily 11:00—22:00. Pizzeria. Good Italian style pizzas, reasonably prices. Sniadeckiego Street (by the town's Culture Center (OCK)).
- 2 Restauracja Skorpion, Powstańców Śląskich 29 (Opposite the train station), ☎ . Very cheap, not overly friendly, but a wide variety to choose from when waiting for a train.
- Pub Kancelaria Caffe, Tea and drinks - is near synagogue temple and Castle. Place in Old Oświęcim town decor, with before WW2 photographs of town and people who lived in town.
- Hotel Galicja. A short taxi ride from railway station and memorial.
- Kraków is an hour from Oświęcim by bus or train.