Located thirty-seven miles west of Krakow, Auschwitz was the camp where Jewish people were killed and worked. This camp, out of all the rest tortured the most people. At the camp there was a place called the “Black Wall,” this was where the people were executed. In March of 1941, there was another camp that started to be built. This second camp was called Auschwitz II, or Birkinau. It was located 1. 9 miles away from Auschwitz I. People that were chosen to come to these camps were expelled from their homes. Their houses were destroyed for the purpose of building Birkinau. Birkinau had nine sub-units.
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Electrically charged fences that lined their borders separated them from each other. In August 1942, the women’s section at Auscwitz I was moved to Birkinau. Nine hundred and ninety-nine women from Ravensbruck camp and other women from different camps joined them also. Birkinau now had over 6,000 women prisoners being held. In the town Monowitz, another camp was being built. This camp was called Auschwitz III, or Buna-Monowitz. Other camps that were located close to Monowitz were moved to Buna-Monowitz. The population of Bikinau was the most densely populated out of all the camps.
It also had the most cruel and bad conditions of all the camps in the complex. The prisoners at Birkinau mostly consisted of Jews, Poles, and Germans. There were a number of Gipsy and Czech Jew family camps located at Birkinau for a period of time also. In Birkinau, the gas chambers and the crematoria, where the bodies were burned operated at Auschwitz I. Birkinau and all the other sub-camps were mostly forced labour camps. The most recognised of the labour camps are Budy, Czechowitz, Glenwitz, Rajsko, and Furstenarube. The prisoners here were worked to the Point of death.
Trains transported people to the camps, and violently forced them off the train. All of the people’s property was left on the train also. They prisoners were sent into two different lines, one for women and the other for men. The lines moved into the place were a procedure called Selection took place. The ones who could work were not killed on this occasion, but the women, children, and others that couldn’t work were gassed. The prisoners that were to work, had their clothes taken, heads shaved, got sterilised, and were given black and white striped clothes to wear.
In the forced labour camps, the average lifetime was only a few months. Some of the prisoners that couldn’t react or move became what was known as Muselmann. A dreaded part of camps was the Appell, or roll call. In this, prisoners were sent out into the cold night after a hard day of work, and lined up. Anyone that fell to the ground was shot or gassed. One more of all the bad work chores was the Sonderkommando. Doing this meant that you burned the bodies of the dead prisoners in the crematoria. Tattoos were given to the prisoners on their right arm as an easier way of registration.
Not all of the earlier prisoners had this tattoo, but the registered number of prisoners was 405,000. The daily routine in the complex differed in each camp, but the basic routine was the same. They: woke at dawn, cleaned their areas, morning roll call was taken, they walked to the work site, worked for long hours, had to wait in lines for food, then walked back to their bunks, block inspection was done, and then evening roll call was taken. There were also people who got picked for medical experiments. The best known doctor at Auschwitz was Josef Mengele.
His experiments were mostly done on twins and dwarfs. He did lots of things that had to do with seeing how ling it would take a person to die if you do this or that. He also did experiments that had to do with cutting off body parts and reattaching them to different parts of the body. By January 20th, 1944, the population of the Aushwitz complex had reached 80,839. Those number roses up and up as the months past and more prisoners came. The first gas chamber to be used was built in Auschwitz I. The gas that was used in the chambers was called Zyklon B.
In Birkinau, the largest number of people that could be killed in the gas chambers was 6,000 people daily. The gas chambers looks just like shower rooms. The prisoners were told they needed to be cleaned before work, and were then killed in the stalls. On the borders of Auschwitz I and Birkinau, electrical fences were put up. Watchtowers and S. S. men lined the complex with automatic guns to be used in any escape situations. Canals also lined the border of Birkinau. Starting in March of 1942, trains arrived at Auschwitz-Birkinau daily, carrying Jews from Europe.
The prisoner’s anger and rebellion to the Nazis was always there, but only a few people decided to do anything though. In the most difficult times, 667 prisoners tried to escape. Only 270 of them made it, and the ones who got caught were executed. Jewish leaders wanted to have the allied powers bomb Auschwitz at one time. This never did happen though. A group of women at the camp destroyed one of the gas chambers in an uprise. The leaders of the uproar were found and executed on January 6th, 1945.