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Auschwitz entrance

Auschwitz: Entrance

The town of Oswiecim is a small town close to the Polish/Czech border, about 40 minutes drive from the major, historical city of Krakow. The Germanic form of Oswiecim, Auschwitz, is its more familiar name. Between the years of 1940 -1945 this was the largest German concentration camp, where over 1.5 million people, primarily Jewish, but of various nationalities and political or religious beliefs were murdered in the largest incidence of industrialized genocide in the history of mankind. Auschwitz actually consists of three main sites.

"Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Brings Freedom) was the sign over the gates of Auschwitz. It was placed there by Major Rudolf Hoss, commandant of the camp. He seems not to have intended it as a mockery, nor even to have intended it literally, as a false promise that those who worked to exhaustion would eventually be released, but rather as a kind of mystical declaration that self-sacrifice in the form of endless labour does in itself bring a kind of spiritual freedom.

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