Friday, 7 August 2015

AUSCHWITZ II-BIRKENAU-the extermination camp.

Opened on October 7, 1941 as a camp for Soviet POWs by the Nazis, Auschwitz II (Birkenau) later became the largest death factory in history. Spread across 425 acres (2.5 Km x 1.6 Km) with over 300 buildings (including 250 barracks) and inhabiting 200,000 prisoners at its peak, Auschwitz II (Birkenau) in a short span of time (early 1942 to late 1944) took the lives of more than one million Jews through its 6 gas chambers and 4 crematoriums.

The Gate of Death, Auschwitz II (Birkenau)-Main Entrance to the Extermination Camp.

It is the main entrance to the largest killing center in the entire Nazi system.The gate house was built in 1943 for the passage of trucks and pedestrians. Railway tracks were laid through the gate only in 1944, when Hungarian Jews were to be massacred. They were brought directly inside the camp and gassed immediately upon arrival. Hungarian Jews suffered the heaviest causality in Auschwitz which amounts to 50% of the Jews that were murdered in Auschwitz. Within a period of 10 weeks in 1944 (15 May and 8 July) 437,402 Jews, were deported to Auschwitz on 147 trains and gassed. The Hungarian prisoners called the entrance to Birkenau as the "Gate of Death."

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Gate of Death to Auschwitz II (Birkenau) from different angles.

Outside the Gate of Death.

Inside the Gate of Death.

Barbed wire electric fences and guard towers in Auschwitz II (Birkenau).

The entire camp of Auschwitz II was surrounded by barbed-wire electric fences and 28 watch towers with armed guards.

Ruins of the massive men's camps (behind the barbed wires) in Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

There were 250 barracks in Auschwitz II and they were modeled after horse stables meant to house 52 horses. Nazis put approximately 800 to 1,000 people in each such barrack and at its peak, up to 200,000 inmates were housed in the Auschwitz II barracks!

Original carriage (box car) of a holocaust train displayed at Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

A typical holocaust train that brought people to the death camps from different parts of Europe consisted of 50 box cars each with a carrying capacity of 50 people, i.e. 2,500 people per trainset. However, in order to speed up the final solution, the Nazis kept to a maximum of 55 freight cars on average, loaded from 150% to 200% capacity. During the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka in 1942 trains carried even up to 7,000 per train! Between 1941 and December 1944, an estimated 4,000,000 prisoners mainly Jews have been transported to the death camps through Holocaust trains. A more detailed general article on the subject is here in Wikipedia.

International Monument (1967) at Auschwitz II (Birkenau)


Ash Pit where ashes from the Crematorium III was dumped, Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

The Barracks in Women's Camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau). By January 1944, 27,000 women were living in Birkenau.

The site of the wooden barrack where SS doctor Josef Mengele performed his notorious medical experiments on 200 Jewish children.

The Death Barrack at the Women's Camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

Three-tier bunkers used by women at Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

The bunks are very short and five or more women had to sleep in one bunk. There were no mattresses but damp straw instead. The bottom tier had only brick floor as bed.

Wash basins at the Women's Camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

Communal toilets in the Women's Camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

Kitchen building at the Women's Camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

Medical Building at the Women's Camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

Here Nazi doctors injected mothers and their newborn babies with phenol injections.

The Gas Chambers and Crematoriums of Auschwitz.

An estimated 1.1 million Jews were gassed to death in Auschwitz, which accounts for one out of every six Jew who died in the Holocaust. It should be remembered that Auschwitz refers to a massive camp area of 40 square kilometers with a surrounding radius of five kilometers for isolation.

The Auschwitz complex include 1) a concentration camp (Auschwitz I), 2) an extermination camp (Auschwitz II or Birkenau), 3) a labour camp (Auschwitz III or Monowice) and 4) 44 sub-camps. Auschwitz I was the main base camp and central office. It had one gas chamber and crematorium (Krema I). The murch larger Auschwitz II/Birkenau had four gas chambers and crematoriums (Krema II, Krema III, Krema IV and Krema V) and two farm houses that were used as temporary gas chambers (the Red House and the White House). At its peak Auschwitz II housed 200,000 inmates in just 250 barracks! Monowice was a labour camp and there was no gas chambers or crematoriums.