Oświęcim is a town in the Lesser Poland province of southern Poland, situated 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of Kraków, near the confluence of the Vistula (Wisła) and Soła rivers. The town is commonly known for being the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp (the camp is also known as KL or KZ Auschwitz Birkenau) during World War II when Poland was under the control of Nazi Germany.

The Red Army liberated the town and the camp on 27 January 1945, and they opened two temporary camps for German POWs in the complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Auschwitz Soviet camp existed until autumn 1945, and the Birkenau camp lasted until spring 1946. Some 15,000 Germans were interned there. Furthermore, there was a camp of Communist secret police (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa) near the rail station in the complex of former "Gemeinschaftslager". Its prisoners were members of the NSDAP, Hitlerjugend, and BDM, as well as German civilians, the Volksdeutsche, and Upper Silesians who were suspected of being disloyal to Poland.

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