Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers Setting & Symbolism

Filip Müller
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Auschwitz I

Auschwitz I was the original concentration camp in the area of Oświęcim, Poland, and served as the administrative center for the entire complex that was eventually constructed. Auschwitz I was primarily a forced labor camp and was from February 1942 the site of approximately 70,000 state-sanctioned murders. The camp had multiple crematoria of an initial design that proved unsatisfactory. The camp was evacuated in January, 1945. A map of Auschwitz I is included in the appendix.

Auschwitz II-Birkenau

Auschwitz II-Birkenau was a vast extermination camp built nearby the existing Auschwitz I concentration camp. Although the Nazi's operated many extermination camps, Auschwitz II-Birkenau was the largest. The camp's construction began in October, 1941, and continued until the entire area was evacuated. As early as March, 1942, several gas chambers had been extemporized and by early 1943 purpose-built crematoria and gassing chambers were in operation; by June, 1943, all four purpose-built crematoria were...

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