Auschwitz

Auschwitz

Auschwitz was a concentration camp established in June 1940. It was the main camp among or Stammlager among a satellite of camps. Located in German-occupied southern Poland in Upper Silesia, Auschwitz was built on a damp, swampy plain in the industrial heartland, a region known for its brutal winters. The women's camp was located in Blocks 1-10 from March 26, 1942, until mid-August of that year. More than 17,000 Jewish and non-Jewish women were housed here. 

In the picture to the left: The yellow box represents the women's camp, Blocks 1-10






Auschwitz II

Auschwitz II or Auschwitz-Birkenau (Brzezinka) was built three kilometers from the main camp of Auschwitz in birch woods, from which it derived its name "Birch Grove." Around ten thousand women prisoners were transferred from Auschwitz to Birkenau. Established in August 1942, Birkenau, was a part of the constellation of Auschwitz subcamps. Birkenau was a large camp, housing as many as 200,000 prisoners at a time. It was called the "most efficient death factory ever created." Birkenau fulfilled the two functions of a concentration camp and a direct extermination center. Upon arrival, prisoners went through selections. Those who were deemed unfit to perform labor, mostly children and the elderly, were sent to the gas chambers or killed by other things such as lethal injections or executions. The prisoners who were healthy were forced to work in Birkenau or other work camps. 

The air was said to be constantly fouled by a thick black smoke that issued from the chimneys. About 90% of those killed in Auschwitz were killed in Birkenau. The crematoria operated around the clock and each crematoria could burn over 5,000 corpses daily. When the amount of dead bodies surpassed the capacities of a new crematoria, bodies were burned in open pits. 

An order on July 13, 1943 required all surviving Jewish prisoners from Poland and Greece to write to relatives that they were healthy and to request packages in order to hide the true function of Birkenau.