Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp was a network of concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps, consisting of Auschwitz , Auschwitz II, Auschwitz III, and 45 satellite camps. Auschwitz I was the original camp, serving as the administrative center for the whole complex. The site for the camp had earlier served as Austrian army and later Polish army artillery barracks. It was first suggested as a site for a concentration camp for Polish prisoners by SS-Oberführer Arpad Wigand, an aide to Higher SS and Police Leader for Silesia, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski. Bach-Zelewski had been searching for a site to house prisoners in the Silesia region as the local prisons were filled to capacity. Construction on Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the extermination camp, began in October 1941 to ease congestion at the main camp. It was larger than Auschwitz I, and more people passed through its gates than through Auschwitz I. It was designed to hold several categories of prisoners, and to function as an extermination camp in the context of Heinrich Himmler's preparations for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, the extermination of the Jews. The first gas chamber at Birkenau was "The Little Red House", a brick cottage converted into a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the walls. It was operational by March 1942. A second brick cottage, "The Little White House", was similarly converted some weeks later. Monowitz as Auschwitz II was also called, was initially established as a subcamp of Auschwitz concentration camp, became one of the three main camps in the Auschwitz concentration camp system, with an additional 45 subcamps in the surrounding area. It was named after the town of Monowice (German, Monowitz) upon which it was built which was located in the annexed portion of Poland. The camp...
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