Concentration Camps in Vienna
The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime. It included three main camps, all of which deployed incarcerated prisoners at forced labor. One of them also functioned for an extended period as a killing center. The camps were located approximately 37 miles west of Krakow, near the prewar German-Polish border in Upper Silesia, an area that Nazi Germany annexed in 1939 after invading and conquering Poland. The SS authorities established three main camps near the Polish city of Oswiecim: Auschwitz I in May 1940; Auschwitz II (also called Auschwitz-Birkenau) in early 1942; and Auschwitz III (also called Auschwitz-Monowitz) in October 1942 (Holocaust Encyclopedia, 2010)The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was subordinate to the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps. Until March 1942, the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps was an agency of the SS Main Office, and, from 1941, of the SS Operations Main Office. From March 1942 until the liberation of Auschwitz, the Inspectorate was subordinate to the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office. Defined as the mass extermination of European Jews during World War 2, the Holocaust took a toll on the lives of those Jews who resided in Germany, and were not considered to be of the pure Aryan race. Adolf Hitler considered the Jews to be a reason for the failure of Germany in World War 1, and further perpetrated the already prevailing hatred against Jews. Nazi concentration camps started out as the place to hold captive prisoners of war, and opponents of the political regime. As the Second World War began, the brutal face of Nazism became clearly visible, as millions of Jews were captured and sent to concentration camps, in what they called a '’purification drive’'. What ensued was the establishment of over 9000 concentration camps, of which the most infamous camp was Auschwitz. The extermination drive was at its prime in the years 1942 till the...
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