Auschwitz Research

Olivia Fario

Auschwitz 1

What was Auschwitz 1

Auschwitz one was the main camp and was also the first camp established near Oswiecim. The construction of Auschwitz began in April 1940 in and abandoned Polish army barrack in a suburb of the city. The first prisoners at Auschwitz included German prisoners transferred from Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany. Auschwitz one was the smallest part of the camp and it held the commandant's office as well as living quarters. It also held the administration building, the prisoners kitchen, the main guard station, the first crematorium, the gestapo camp, and the group gallows.

Daily Life

The prisoners of Auschwitz 1 lived in dreadful conditions. There was contagious diseases and epidemics that killed hundreds of people. The prisoners lived in old brick barracks and several hundred three-tier wooden bunks beds were installed in each building. The living quarters were crammed and filthy. There were more than 700 people in each barrack. The barracks swarmed with various sorts of vermin and rats. There was also a a shortage of water for washing. SS authorities continuously used prisoner for forced labor to expand the camp. Prisoners spent over ten hours a day working and the rest of the day was taken up by long roll-call assemblies.

Important Figures

In April of the year 1940, Heinrich Himmler ordered construction of the camp. The commander of the Auschwitz concentration complex was SS Lieutenant Colonel Rudolf Hoess from May 1940 until November 1943; SS Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Libeenschel from Noveber 1894 until mid May 1944; and SS Major Richard Baer from mid - May 1944 until January 27, 1945. Dr. Josef Mengele, a physician who was also a key figure in the horrors of Auschwitz, carried out medical experiments in Barrack (Block 10) on the prisoners.

Auschwitz 2 or Birkenau

Auschwitz-Birkenau opened in 1940 and was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps. It was located in southern Poland. Birkenau evolved into a network of camps where persecuted Nazi targets were exterminated, often in gas chambers, or used for slave labor. Some prisoners were eve subjected to barbaric medical experiments led by Josef Mengele. Of the three camps established near Oswiecim, the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp had the largest total prisoner population. More than one million people lost there lives at Auschwitz.

Daily Life

Before the prisoners entered the camp they were lined up and the selection took place. Mot women, children, elderly, and disabled were sent to the gas chambers and killed. Those who could work were sent to do hard physical labor and most perished under the harsh conditions.

Important Figures

Commander of Auschwitz-Birkenau while it was independent, from November 1943 until November 1944, were SS Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Hartjenstein from November 1943 until mid May 1944 and SS Captain Josef Kremer from mid-May to November 1944.