Auschwitz

The Nazi camp of Auschwitz, located thirty miles west of Krakow, was the largest, most deadly camp used during World War II (Friedrich 2). Built in 1940, it was the first camp located beyond the frontiers of the Third Reich (Friedrich 4). “According to various estimates, 1,600,000 people were murdered in the killing center” (Yahil 372). Ninety percent of those who were murdered in Auschwitz were Jewish (Yahil 372). Originally an Austrian artillery barracks, Auschwitz was to be supposed to be built at the intersection of the Sola River and the Vistula. Heinrich Himmler, commander of the Schutzstaffel (the Fuher’s private guard), was to lead the building of the camp. Himmler placed SS major Rudolph Hoess in charge of the construction (Friedrich 5). The first people who worked to build the camp of Auschwitz were thirty German criminals, brought there on May 20,1940, by an SS officer named Gerhard Pallitzsch (Friedrich 7). The town council of Oswiecim cooperated with Hoess’s orders of rounding up, and enslaving over two hundred Jews to help work on the construction (Friedrich 7). Already, Hoess was receiving letters of when the camp would be ready to accept prisoners. Before he even had time to respond, the first trainload of 728 Polish political prisoners arrived on June 14, 1940. On July 6, a prisoner by the name of Tadeusz Wiejowski escaped. The SS and other various German groups searched for him for three days, but he was never found. This angered Hoess, causing him to declare that six villages that surrounded the area were now property of Auschwitz (Friedrich 7-8). Heinrich Himmler, who wanted Auschwitz to be the agricultural center of the new Reich, was still dissatisfied (Friedrich 8). In March 1941, he ordered the erection of Auschwitz II, a second much larger section of the camp, which was located about three kilometers from the original camp (Gutman 107). Meanwhile, on June 22, Hitler’s panzer division began to plow acros…

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