The largest country in central Europe, most of Poland is low-lying, with woods and lakes. Unlike many of its neighbors, Poland has only a minuscule minority population. Poles as a nation are unified by the Polish language and a common religion—Roman Catholicism.
Buffered by the Baltic Sea in the north and the Carpathian Mountains in the south, Poland enjoys no such natural protection to the east and west. Nazi Germany invaded in 1939 and built the Auschwitz concentration camp, where 1.35 million Jews and more than 100,000 others were murdered. After World War II, Joseph Stalin seized a chunk of eastern Poland for the Soviet Union.