Special places and streets
The market square of Auschwitz (Oświęcim) is determined, among other things, by the town hall and the memorial plaques, which are supposed to commemorate well-known citizens of Oświęcim as well as important representatives of Polish culture. These personalities include Jan von Oświęcim the Younger (1444-1527), Andrzej Patrycy Nidecki (1522-1587), Lukasz Gornicki (1527-1603) and Szymon Syrenski (1540-1611).
This street has interesting houses from the second half of the 19th century. They once belonged to Jakub Haberfeld’s former factory for vodka and liqueurs. At that time they were used as residential and administrative buildings, and the interior was richly decorated with architectural and artificial decorations. The houses you can see today are unfortunately in a rather sad state.
This chapel was built at the end of the 18th century. Since the early 19th century, it has been part of a park and palace complex in the Dwory district, together with a garden and a landscape park. The chapel, which was built in connection with the death of Barbara von Hallers Rotman (1805), has a round shape and eight Ionic pilasters. At the entrance to the chapel there is a movable plate in a stone corridor, behind which the entrance to a crypt is hidden. In the crypt there are coffins with the remains of the Haller family.
Michal Slebarski’s house
At the beginning of the 19th century, Father Michal Slebarski built this building, which rises on today’s main market. The one-storey building is particularly impressive because of the balcony, which is held by two columns. The roof has wonderful ceramic tiles. The district court is currently housed in this building.
see below under “Museums / Klieger-Haus Historisches Museum”
Tenement on the Hauptmarkt
This town house from 1830 on the Hauptmarkt also has a habitable outbuilding which, in contrast to the main house, does not have a ceramic gable roof, but a pent roof. The windows of the buildings are decorated with cornices and the entrance portal has imposing pillars.
The City Hall of Oświęcim is located on the main market square. It was built between 1872 and 1875. The supervising architect was Leopold Michel. The quite impressive building has many neo-Gothic style elements and has had a town hall clock since 1876. This can still be heard today with its distinctive horn lute. There are many commemorative plaques on the outside wall of the town hall, of which the two marble ones are particularly noticeable. One of them commemorates Lukasz Gornicki, the Polish humanist, writer and chancellor of King Sigismund II August of Poland as featured on 800zipcodes.
Museums and galleries
Klieger-Haus Historical Museum
Right next to the Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue is the Klieger-Haus. Its name goes back to the Jewish Klieger family, who lived in the house for several generations. In 2000 Shimshon Klieger, the last living Jewish citizen of Oświęcim, died here. The Klieger siblings then handed over the house to the Auschwitz Jewish Center. In addition to the restoration of the building, there are plans to keep exhibits from the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam for the Klieger House Museum. With their help, the visitor should then be brought closer to the Jewish culture.
Historical and Ethnographic Museum
Since 1993 there has been a collection of historical and ethnographic finds from Oświęcim and the surrounding area in seven rooms of the Oświęcim Castle. With the help of this, the visitor can find out about the history of the city and the earlier life of its residents.
Auschwitz State Museum – Birkenau
This museum was established in 1947 on the site of the former Auschwitz concentration camp and consists of two integral parts: the former main camp in Oświęcim (concentration camp Auschwitz I – main camp) and the former camp in Brzezinka (concentration camp Auschwitz II – Birkenau). Visitors can see both camp complexes as well as exhibitions that are housed in several blocks. Guided tours are compulsory for groups. These are also available to individual visitors and are offered in Polish, English, German, French, Russian, Hungarian and Italian. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.
Auschwitz Jewish Center (Centrum Żydowskie w Oświęcimiu)
The Jewish center opened in 2000. It has set itself the goal of documenting the rich Jewish life of Oświęcim as it was before the German National Socialists marched in. A place of prayer and reflection should also be created for all visitors. In addition to the exhibition on the city’s history (= Jewish cultural and educational center), the center also includes the reconstruction of a Jewish-Orthodox synagogue (= Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue) and the Klieger-Haus Historical Museum, which has not yet been established.
International youth meeting house (MDSM = Miedzynarodowy Dom Spotkan Mlodziezy)
The declared main goal of this institution, established in 1986, is to tear down the boundaries among young people of all nationalities. Since its inception, the center has therefore organized many projects against nationalism, anti-Semitism and racism.
Oświęcim Cultural Center (OCK = Oświęcimskie Centrum Kultury)
The OCK, which offers a wide range of peace projects, is aimed at both the residents of Oświęcim and tourists.