Oświęcim is a small industrial town of around 40,000. The camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was established on its outskirts, its name taken from the German name of the town. The 800 years of history of Oświęcim/Auschwitz, in the Middle Ages the administrative centre of an autonomous duchy, have since World War II been eclipsed entirely by the shadow of the camp’s history.
There are several reasons why a look around the town of Oświęcim may prove a valuable supplement to the programme of an excursion to the Auschwitz-Birkenau site of memory:
Marian Kołodziej was a prisoner in Auschwitz whose camp number was 432. After the war Marian Kołodziej became an artist well known in Poland as a theatre and film set designer. For nearly fifty years he remained silent on the subject of his camp past, and made no reference to it in his artistic work.more