Auschwitz, the largest extermination camp established by Nazi Germany during World War II, is located in the town of Oswiecim, approximately 50 kilometers from Krakow.
Approx. 225 thousand pilgrims who will arrive in late July for World Youth Day in Krakow have already expressed a desire to visit the Auschwitz Museum.
The innitial number of spots reserved for pilgrims was approx. 133 thousand but they were all quickly filled. The number was thus increased to approx. 300 thousand spots. According to the data made available online by the organizers, there are still 75.5 thousand spots available to pilgrims. Click here to register your group [http://mlodzi.duszpasterstwa.bielsko.pl/Auschwitz].
Auschwitz was established by Nazi Germany in 1940 as a place to imprison Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later. It became a place of extermination of Jews. Germans killed at least 1.1 million people in Auschwitz, mostly Jews, but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners, and people of other nationalities.
Auschwitz is the place of martyrdom of two saints – Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan, who voluntarily gave his life for another prisoner, and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, philosopher and Barefoot Carmelite, born to a Jewish family.
Last year, a record 1.72 million people visited the former German camp Auschwitz.
Two popes have already visited the memorial in the past – John Paul II in 1979 and Benedict XVI in 2006. On January 27, Holy See spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said that a visit to the former Nazi camp of Auschwitz by the Holy Father is also very likely.
Based on information from the Polish Press Agency.