Auschwitz I and II

By: Jack Wild

Auschwitz I

Auschwitz I was the main concentration camp in the 1940s, and was originally a prison for enemies of the Nazi regime. Auschwitz I housed between 15,000 and 20,000 political prisoners. Auschwitz I was complete with a gas chamber and crematorium, mostly used during the time of World War II. The goals of Auschwitz I was to


"1) to incarcerate real and perceived enemies of the Nazi regime and the German occupation authorities in Poland for an indefinite period of time


2) to provide a supply of forced laborers for deployment in SS-owned, construction-related enterprises (and, later, armaments and other war-related production)


3) to serve as a site to physically eliminate small, targeted groups of the population whose death was determined by the SS and police authorities to be essential to the security of Nazi Germany." (Auschwitz)


Upon arriving at the camp, detainees were examined by Nazi doctors. Those detainees considered unfit for work, including young children, the elderly, pregnant women and the infirm, were immediately ordered to take showers. "However, the bathhouses to which they marched were disguised gas chambers. Once inside, the prisoners were exposed to Zyklon-B poison gas." (History.com Staff.).

Auschwitz II

Auschwitz II, also known as Birkenau, was a smaller section of the Auschwitz camp. Auschwitz-Birkenau had the largest prisoner count, and it's primary purpose was to segregate the prisoners and execute them. Auschwitz-Birkenau was more of a prison, for it held the many enemies and criminals of war of Nazi Germany. Those fit to work were shipped to Auschwitz I, while the prisoners who were unfit to work were executed in the gas chambers. In total between both camps, mainly in Birkenau, "1.1 million prisoners were killed, and around 90% were Jewish." (History.com Staff.)
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Citations

1) History.com Staff. "Auschwitz." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 01 Jan. 2009. Web. 06 May 2016.


2) "Auschwitz." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 06 May 2016.