About sixty kilometres west of Krakow in southern Poland lies Oswiecim. A town with about 40,000 people and is better known for its German name, Auschwitz, which for eternity will be associated with the concentration/extermination camps located there between 1940 and 1945. The information about the three camps is extensive and widely known, less known are the buildings that were established just outside the camps but which were still part of the camp complex. When Auschwitz I – Stammlager began to be built and the camp then expanded with Auschwitz II – Birkenau and Auschwitz III – Monowitz, the number of german staff also increased who required housings for themselves and their families. Special grocery stores opened where only SS officers, their family members and maids could shop, daycare centers were set up, hotels for finer guests, butchery, bakery, power stations, waterworks, administration buildings, storages, industries, casinos, sauna etc. were built in the camp’s vicinity. Oswiecim became more or less characterized by the camps and there were extensive plans to transform the city into a German pattern city.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished (2015).

Address: Wiezniów Oswiecimia 55, Oswiecim.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

None of these buildings are currently part of the museum. Some have become private homes, businesses, industries while some are abandoned ruins. As for me I find it almost equally interesting to explore buildings "outside the barbed wire" as to explore building "inside the barbed wire" For those who want to do this there is much to be seen and it takes at least one full day.

Follow up in books: Citroen Hans, Starzynska Barbara: Auschwitz – Oswiecim (2012).