hroughout the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. The German forces occupying Poland during World War II, established in May 27, 1940 on the orders of Heinrich Himmler a concentration camp on the outskirts of the town Oswiecim. The Germans called the town Auschwitz which also gave its name to the nearby death camp. Over the next few years it was expanded into three main camps: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II - Birkenau, Auschwitz III - Monowitz and more than 40 lesser camps. The first prisoners brought to Auschwitz and murdered were Polish political prisoners. They were followed by Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies and deportees of various other nationalities. Beginning in June 1942, however, the most massive murder campaign in history began in Auschwitz when the Nazis put into operation a plan to systematically destroy the entire Jewish population of Europe. Rudolph Hess was given the assignment of expanding
containing the remains of the victims who died within
this Camp now stands as a memorial - a continous reminder
to never allow this to happen again.
the camp to accommodate 30.000 prisoners.
In this process he built an annex that would hold 100.000 prisoners
of war. As the trains stopped, the SS began the first selection process.
Approximately 25 percent were then and there determined to be fit
for work and allowed to live a bit longer. The great majority
of Jews, however, who were deported to Auschwitz - men, women and
children - were immediately sent to their deaths in the gas chambers
of Birkenau. When the SS realized that the end of the war was near,
they attempted to remove all evidence of the atrocities committed
there. They dismantled the gas chambers, crematoriums and other buildings.
They burned documents and evacuated all the prisoners who could walk
to the interior of Germany. The number of victims was approximately
one million, only 667 prisoners escaped; 270 were recaptured and executed.
Those who were not evacuated where liberated by the Red Army on January