The Auschwitz is the most widely known concentration camp of the Holocaust. It is the symbol of the Nazi’s imprisonment and murder of the Jews. The Nazis built nearly 20,000 concentration camps from 1933 to 1945, and when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, they started building concentration camps in Polish territory in order to put prisoners to work. The Auschwitz concentration camp, built as a labor camp, kept millions of Jews and even Poles and Soviets who weren’t Jews. In such poor working conditions, many died horrible deaths from overwork and sunstroke.
Starting in September, 1941, the Germans began their first mass murder of the prisoners of Auschwitz concentration camp. The Nazis used gas chambers full of poisonous gas as a way to exterminate the elderly, women, and children who weren’t capable of manual labor. Gas chambers were built in similar structures to shower rooms. Ordering the victims into the gas chambers, the Nazis told them to take off their clothes under the pretense that they were going to take a shower – and then pumped the chambers full of Zyklon B, a deadly gas. About 2000 Jews were murdered in this way every day, and those killed were cremated in furnaces. Historical evidence that the Nazis used Jews’ hairs to make blankets and carpets clearly displays their extreme brutality. The amount of hair left in furnaces after the incineration of bodies weighed more than 7 tons. Some Jews were killed not by forced labor or mass murder but due to medical experiments.
Prisoners who spent day after day in brutal Nazi concentration camps were finally liberated when the Red Army of the USSR invaded Poland. According to an article that was released during the 60th Anniversary of Auschwitz\’s Liberation, the death toll of Jews was estimated in the millions. Of the 150,000 non-Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz, over half died.
Rosenberg, J. Auschwitz Concentration and Death Camp. In About.com. Retrieved from http://history1900s.about.com/od/holocaust/a/auschwitz.htm
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2013, June 10). Nazi Camps. In Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005144