The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime. It included three main camps. All three camps used prisoners for forced labor. One of them also functioned for an extended period as a killing center. The camps were located approximately 37 miles west of Krakow. They were near the prewar German-Polish border in Upper Silesia, an area that Nazi Germany annexed in 1939 after invading and conquering Poland.
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The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
Between the Nazi rise to power in 1933 and Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945, more than 340,000 Jews emigrated from Germany and Austria. Tragically, nearly 100,000 of them found refuge in countries subsequently conquered by Germany. German authorities would deport and kill the vast majority of them. The search for refuge frames both the years before the Holocaust and its aftermath.
Despite the indifference of most Europeans and the collaboration of others in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust, individuals in every European country and from all religious backgrounds risked their lives to help Jews. Rescue efforts ranged from the isolated actions of individuals to organized networks both small and large.