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Panoramic film photographs of Auschwitz camp tell the story of mass killing

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A view inside a prisoner barracks in the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II in Oswiecim, Poland. 8 December 2019.
A view inside a prisoner barracks in the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II in Oswiecim, Poland. 8 December 2019.   -   Copyright  Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
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Auschwitz's walls, barracks, and chambers tell the powerful story of the Holocaust. It was the largest Nazi extermination camp and has become a potent symbol of the terror.

We take a look through the panoramic film photographs of Associated Press's Markus Schreiber, taken ahead of Auschwitz liberation 75th anniversary. On Monday hundreds of survivors from across the world will come back to visit Auschwitz for the official commemorations.

Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
The railway tracks from where hundreds of thousands of people were directed to the gas chambers to be murdered, inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II, in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo

Prisoners arrived in cramped, windowless cattle trains. At the infamous ramp at Auschwitz, the Nazis selected those they could use as forced labourers. The others — old people, many women and especially children and babies, were gassed to death soon after their arrival.

Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
A wagon stands on the railway tracks inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II, in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
A view inside gas chamber one at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
View of a wall inside gas chamber one at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP PhotoMarkus Schreiber
Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
The crematorium near gas chamber one at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo

Gas chambers and crematoria were found blown up by the Nazis before fleeing in an attempt to hide evidence of their mass killings. The watchtowers and some of the barracks where prisoners slept in cold, cramped conditions, are still intact.

Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
The remains of brick stone chimneys of prisoners barracks inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II. in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
The remains of a gas chamber and crematorium at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau or Auschwitz II in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
A pathway leading to an observation and security tower between what were electric barbed wire fences inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
An observation tower stands inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo

In fact, Auschwitz is not one camp, but two. Auschwitz I, built in an abandoned Polish military base, operated as a camp for Polish prisoners, including Catholic priests and members of the nation's underground resistance again the German occupation. Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, a much bigger complex that was built later about three kilometres away to expedite the Nazis' Final Solution - a plan for the mass killing of Jews who were transported there from across Europe during World War II.

Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
A wooden sign with the word STOP stands in front of what was an electric barbed wire fence inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I, in Oswiecim, Poland.Markus Schreiber/AP Photo

Auschwitz today is many things at once: an emblem of evil, a site of historical remembrance and a vast cemetery. It is a place where Jews make pilgrimages to pay tribute to ancestors whose ashes and bones remain part of the earth.

Markus Schreiber/AP Photo
The main entrance at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, with the inscription, 'Arbeit Macht Frei', which translates into English as '"Work sets you Free",Markus Schreiber/AP Photo