Auschwitz Birkenau

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During Adolf Hitler's “Final Solution” in WWII, Auschwitz Birkenau was the site of mass killings of inferior races, and ultimately became the site of the largest mass murder in history. There were three major camps, Auschwitz I, II, and III, and each had a different purpose (“Auschwitz”, USHMM). Life for prisoners was very harsh in all of the camps, and life expectancy was short. Auschwitz Birkenau was abandoned as the Soviets closed in on the camps in January 1945. Once liberated, the true horror and statistics of the camp’s mass killing was revealed.
In January 1942, Hitler announced his “Final Solution”, the elimination of Jews and other inferior races (“Auschwitz”, History.com). The first camp, Auschwitz I, had already opened in April 1940. Auschwitz II opened in March 1942, and Auschwitz III in October 1942 “The camps were located approximately 37 miles west of Krakow. They were near the prewar German-Polish border in Upper Silesia.” (“Auschwitz”, USHMM). The
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The camp served many purposes. During the first year, the prisoners were either worked to death, executed by gun, or died from natural causes. In September 1941, the camp officials first started experimenting with Zyklon B, a poison gas. However, because of the camp’s small size, it was impossible to mass exterminate prisoners by gas and not have the prisoner labor force find out. Another function of the camp was to use selected prisoners for medical experiments. The team of doctors was led by Josef Mengele. “Mengele had become interested in utilizing twins for medical research through Verschuer, famous for experimenting with identical and fraternal twins in order to trace the genetic origins of various diseases” (“Josef Mengele”). Because of this, Mengele used many young Jewish and Guypsy twins in painful and often deadly experiment. Many of their subjects were murdered in order to do post-mortem examination on them (“Josef

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