According to Wikipedia, Oświęcim is a town in the Lesser Poland province of southern Poland, situated 50 kilometres west of Kraków, near the confluence of the Vistula and Soła rivers. This is the town formerly known as Auschwitz.
I have a whole section of photos of the town, formerly known as Auschwitz, on my website at http://scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Oswiecim/index.html
The photo above shows a display of objects in the Auschwitz Jewish Center. Notice the double-paned windows. Prominently mentioned in the Center are the Haberfeld and Hennenberg families who were engaged in distilling and selling liquor.
According to a brochure which I obtained from the Center, Jews first settled in Oswiecim 500 years ago. By 1939, over half of the population of Oswiecim was Jewish. This quote is from the brochure: “For several centuries, Jews prospered as traders, merchants, professionals and manufacturers, and were entrusted with tax collection and the administration of the lands of the Polish nobility.”
Today, there were no more Jews left in Oswiecim. Shimshon Klueger, the last surviving Jew, died in 2000. Klueger is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Osweicim.
Today, I read this news article about the town, formerly known as Auschwitz:
The following quote is from the news article:
From the horror of the Holocaust, a few names stand out in particular — perhaps none more so than Auschwitz. Within the sprawling network of camps that Nazi Germany constructed in Europe for slave labor and industrialized killing, the Auschwitz complex, in southwestern Poland, became a particular symbol of brutality: some 1.3 million people, most of them Jews, died there.
But long before World War II began, the town that became the setting for the Auschwitz camps — Oswiecim — had been home to a rich and diverse Jewish community that in 1939 numbered roughly 7,500 people, who lived mostly harmoniously with their Christian neighbors. The coming of the Nazis destroyed that part of Oswiecim: the last Jewish resident in the town died in 2000.
To celebrate the town’s pre-war legacy, the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst has opened a new exhibition, “A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community.” On loan from the Auschwitz Jewish Center at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, the exhibit includes a wealth of photographs and other displays on Oswiecim’s history and the Jewish community, with special emphasis on the early 20th century and the prewar years.
Curator Shiri Sandler says the show, which runs through March 27, is designed to show visitors that there was a human face, so to speak, behind the Nazi camps — that places like Auschwitz didn’t just spring up out of nowhere.
“[Oswiecim] had this rich history, but the [Auschwitz] camp erases the town,” said Sandler, the U.S. director of the Auschwitz Jewish Center at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, where the show was first displayed. That viewpoint tends to be true both for American Jews and non-Jews alike, she noted.
Today, the German people are rapidly being wiped out, and soon there will be a country, formerly known as Germany, populated by non-whites. Sic transit Gloria