Auschwitz l and Auschwitz ll
Concentration Camps on the outside of Poland
By Kyndal Ivey
Auschwitz l (Main Camp)
This camp was built outside of Poland by the SS. It was the largest of its kind. It was built in April of 1940. The three main purposes it was built for were to imprison enemies to the Nazis, forced labor in order to expand the camp, and to kill the targeted groups of the Nazis. Auschwitz l contained a crematorium and a gas chamber. The camp even contained a hospital (Block 10), where they conducting research on twins, dwarfs, etc. In this camp, women and men were seperated. The Prison Block was Block 11. Between the hospital and the prison block, was the "black wall", where prisoners were killed.
Auschwitz ll (Birkenau)
The Auschwitz ll or Birkenau held the most prisoners. It was separated in 10 divisions by electric barbed wire fences. It was separated in divisions of women, men, gypsies, etc. It was the main killing center where the Germans killed the Jews. It contained four crematorium buildings, each with a disrobing area, large gas chamber, and crematorium ovens. Zyklon B gas was used in the gas chambers. Prisoners were gassed in underground cells in Block 11.
Life of Prisoners
Prisoners were either forced to perform free labor or they would die. There was a sign over the camp that meant "work makes one free", in German. Working was another way the Nazis could kill the workers by "extermination through work". When the prisoners began to work, their head was shaved and they were given a registration number that would be tattooed on their left arm. Men and women worked in ragged clothes, men in jackets/ pants and women in dresses. These clothes were the prisoners' only pair of clothing. Prisoners also had to endure poor conditions. The buildings that the prisoners lived in did not insulate hot or cold, they had a bucket for a bathroom, and there was only 36 bunk-beds in each barrack for 500 inmates . The prisoners never received more food than watery soup, little pieces of bread, and a bitter drink. People were often stuck with dehydration and hunger.
Important Figures in Auschwitz l
Commanders of the Camp:
- SS Lieutenant Colonel Rudolf Hoess from May 1940 - November 1943
- SS Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Libehenschel from November 1943 - mid May 1944
- SS Major Richard Baer from mid May 1944 - Jan 1945