Auschwitz I & II

By Isabella Walle

Auschwitz I

Background & Facts:

  • Opened in the spring of 1940
  • One of the most notorious death camps
  • The original Auschwitz housed between 15,000 and 20,000 political prisoners
  • Originally intended to be a concentration camp, but was deemed a death camp after Hitler's "Final Solution" was put into play.
  • Approximately 1.1 million Jews were killed in Auschwitz

Auschwitz II

Background & Facts:

  • Located in the village of Birkenau, was constructed in 1941
  • Was the largest of all Auschwitz facilities
  • Housed 90,000 prisoners
  • Had bathhouses where victims were gassed to death, and crematory ovens where the bodies were burned
  • The majority of Auschwitz victims died in Auschwitz II

Living Conditions

  • Those who were unable to work were typically the first to be killed
  • Prisoners who were unfit to work were never registered as inmates, making it impossible to accurately determine the death toll
  • People who weren't killed often died from overwork, disease, or starvation
  • Some prisoners were subjected to inhumane medical experiments led by Josef Mengele

Important People

  • Rudolf Hoess - first commandant of Auschwitz
  • Oskar Schindler - smuggled people out of Auschwitz
  • Emilie Schindler - wife of Oscar, aided him in helping people escape
  • Josef Mengele - led barbaric medical experiments that were conducted on inmates of Auschwitz