Just imagine being forced into a rail car knowing that you are on your way to the place you are going to die, the scared feeling that you may never see your family or friends again is the way that millions of Jewish people felt during the Holocaust on their way to the Auschwitz concentration camps. Auschwitz polish prisoner Pavel Stemin said, “Death, death, death. Death at night, death in the morning, death in the afternoon. Death. We lived with death. How could a human feel?” (Laurence, 2005)
Auschwitz was a trio of concentration camps separated by forty-four rail lines, sending Jews to their death. (Berenbaum, 2012) Auschwitz one was the smallest of the three camps and used for mostly political prisoners, the first delivery of Polish prisoners came in June of 1940, and the camp was mostly contained Poles and Germans, the camp held over sixteen thousand prisoners at once. (Berenbaum, 2012). Auschwitz one also held all of the main offices for the complex, this part of the camp also contain the supply stores and workshops which was the main assignment for labor in the Auschwitz one camp. (Franciszek, 1999) In October of 1944 a camp was built for thousands of women prisoners which employed them producing artillery-shell fuse in a factory that opened which was considered a camp extension. (Franciszek, 1999)
Auschwitz two or Birkenau was the largest of the camps in the Auschwitz complex, and was the main extermination camp and was constructed in October of 1941, included inside of Birkenau was around three hundred prison barracks and four large bathhouses (Berenbaum, 2012). The camp opened in March of 1942 as just a branch of Auschwitz for just prisoners, and soon after started exterminating. (Franciszek, 1999) Most of the people who died at Auschwitz concentration camps were at Birkenau, around ninety percent. All of the Polish people who lived in the village of Brzezinka and areas around it, had their homes destroyed and were forced into the camp (Franciszek, 1999). Within the camp were two gas chambers and they were called bunker one and bunker two which is where the Jews were exterminated (Franciszek, 1999). Around June of 1942 they began to construct a building with four massive gas chambers and crematoria (Franciszek, 1999). Franciszek Piper stated on Auschwitz.org that “The Germans estimated that 1.6 million people a year could be killed and burned there.” (Franciszek, 1999).
Auschwitz III or Monowitz was a slave-labor camp which began in 1942, it would supply workers at the chemical, synthetic-rubber and liquid fuels companies nearby (Berenbaum, 2012). In 1942 the population of the camp rose to above three and a half thousand people and a few months later it rose to above six thousand people, and by the middle of 1944 the camps population rose to above eleven thousand people (Franciszek, 1999). According to Franciszek “In January 1945, the majority of the prisoners were evacuated on foot to Gliwice, and then carried by train to the Buchenwald and Mauthausen camps.” (Franciszek, 1999).
Auschwitz had a total of seven gas chambers and crematories; the first gas chamber was at Stammlager which was a sub-camp of Auschwitz. It was installed in the mortuary of the crematory and could hold up to eight hundred people at one time. (Osobyj, 2006) Two other gas chambers were located in bunkers one and two in Auschwitz II Birkenau. According to Osobyj, the two gas chambers at Birkenau were converted from two empty houses that once belonged to expelled poles. (Osobyj, 2006) Bunker one, also known as the “Red House” because of its red walls; it was placed at the north end of the camp, which contained two rooms both of them gas chambers. (Osobyj, 2006) Osobyj says that “Each room had a door, and the windows were sealed with bricks. For the introduction of the gas, each of the two rooms had two openings (about 30 x 40 cm) in the outer walls which could be closed with gas-tight flaps. The doors were made...
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