Auschwitz Research

By: Gabriella Lopez


Why was it built?

Auschwitz opened in 1940 and was the largest of the Nazi concentration and death camps. Auschwitz initially served as a detention center for political prisoners. It eventually evolved into a variety of camps where Jewish people and other enemies of the Nazi state were exterminated or used as slave labor.


  • In August 1944, it held about 16 thousand prisoners.
  • The basis for Auschwitz consisted of 22 prewar brick barracks buildings.
  • Auschwitz accounted for 25% of all the people in the entire concentration camp system.
  • Commissions determined the death toll to be between 1.25 million and 1.5 million people.


Individuals were packed into cattle trucks were they were locked in and transported for days with horrible conditions. Upon arrival at the camp, detainees were registered and examined by Nazi doctors. The detainees considered unfit for work were immediately ordered to take showers. However, the bathhouses were disguised gas chambers. Those who were marked unfit for work were never officially registered as Auschwitz inmates.

Those to remember

Anne Frank (1929-1945) was a teen writer who went into hiding during the Holocaust, who wrote about her experiences in the renowned work "The Diary of Anne Frank". Anne Frank was sent to Auschwitz and was spared death in the Auschwitz gas chambers and instead was sent to Bergen-Belsen.


Why was it built?

Birkenau was the largest of the more than 40 camps that made up the Auschwitz complex. When construction began in 194, it was opened as a branch of Auschwitz that severed as a center for the extermination of the Jews. It also housed a group of bathhouses where countless people were gassed to death, and crematory ovens where bodies were burned. In its final phase, from 1944, it also became a place where prisoners were concentrated before being transferred to labor in German industry in the depths of the Third Reich.


  • About 90% of the victims of Auschwitz Concentration Camp died in Birkenau.
  • Birkenau held more than 100,000 prisoners.
  • The vast labor and death camps killed up to 6,000 people per day.

Daily life in Birkenau

Some Auschwitz prisoners were subjected to inhumane medical experimentation. The living conditions in Auschwitz II were far worse than those in Auschwitz I. There was no running water or sanitary equipment. The vermin and insects infested the living quarters and work sites of the inmates.

Those Not Forgotten

Josef Mengele (1911-1979) was a German Schutzstaffel officer and physician in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Mengele was known as the "Angel of Death". Mengele carried out human experiments on camp inmates, especially twins. Mengele is responsible for the deaths of thousands at Auschwitz concentration camp.