By: Ashley Scheck

Auschwitz concentration camps

Auschwitz was a network of concentration and extermination camps that were built and were operated by the Third Reich in the polish areas and by the Nazi German's during World War II.

Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

Auschwitz II began in October 1941 to keep the camps from getting too packed at the main camp. In early 1943, the Nazi's decided to increase the gas chambers capacity in Birkenau. Auschwitz also known as Auschwitz-Birkenau opened in 1940 and was the largest of the Nazi concentration and death camps. Located in southern Poland Auschwitz initially served as a detention center for political prisoners. However it evolved into a network of camps where Jewish people and other perceived enemies of the Nazi state were exterminated often in gas chambers or used as slave labor. Some prisoners were also subjected to barbaric medical experiments led by Josef Mengele (1911-79). During World War II (1939-45), more than 1 million people by some accounts, lost their lives at Auschwitz. In January 1945, with the Soviet army approaching Nazi officials ordered the camp abandoned and sent an estimated 60,000 prisoners on a forced march to other locations. When the Soviets entered Auschwitz, they found thousands of emaciated detainees and piles of corp.

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Auschwitz II

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Auschwitz: the largest of the death camps

Auschwitz, the largest and arguably the most notorious of all the Nazi death camps opened in the spring of 1940. Its first commandant was Rudolf Hoss (1900-47) who previously had helped run the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany. Auschwitz was located on a former military base outside a town in southern Poland situated near Krakow one of the country's largest cities. During the camp's construction nearby factories were appropriated and all those living in the area were forcibly ejected from their homes which were bulldozed by the Nazis.

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