The town of Oswiecim, picturesquely situated in the Valley of Sola river, can boast of its cultural heritage created during 800-years of its turbulent history. The German Nazi extermination camp created on its territories in 1940 determined the development of the town and future of its inhabitants. Even nowadays the name Oswiecim-Auschwitz is inseparably connected with the tragedy of Holocaust. Many times the existence of regional capital city, with its 50.000 inhabitants and Oswiecim Duke dynasty castle, is being forgotten. In the period between WW I and WW II this place was a good example of harmonious co-existence of 56% Jewish population with the Christian minority. Fruitful cultural and industrial Jewish life on this territory, left many traces. Jewish cemetery and restored synagogue are worth a visit. Nowadays Oswiecim is becoming a town of peace and dialog, hosting numerous educational institution, like International Youth Meeting Center or Auschwitz Jewish Center, engaged in promotion of international, cultural and religious cooperation.
Before WW II Oswiecim (Yid. Oshpizin) was home to Hasidim from Radomsko and Bobowa dynasties as well as many Zionist organizations.
German Nazis built in Oswiecim an entire residential district with Nazi architecture style and massive air raid shelters, for the purpose of settling German skilled workers in the city This was to become a new, model German settlement in the East.
Exploring the past of Oswiecim and its Auschwitz Jewish Center is a good way of discovering the heritage of Shtetl.