The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime.
It included three main camps, all of which deployed incarcerated prisoners at forced labor. One of them also functioned for an extended period as a killing center. The camps were located approximately 37 miles west of Krakow, near the prewar German-Polish border in Upper Silesia, an area that Nazi Germany annexed in 1939 after invading and conquering Poland.
The site was also the death place for many people who did not fit into the Nazis’ view of their world. Poles, lesbians, homosexuals and the disabled were amongst those also killed here. New arrivals at Auschwitz-Birkenau underwent selection. The SS staff determined the majority to be unfit for forced labor and sent them immediately to the gas chambers, which were disguised as shower installations to mislead the victims. The belongings of those gassed were confiscated and sorted in the “Kanada” (Canada) warehouse for shipment back to Germany.
In total, approximately 1.1 million Jews were deported to Auschwitz. SS and police authorities deported approximately 200,000 other victims to Auschwitz, including 140,000–150,000 non-Jewish Poles, 23,000 Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and 25,000 others (Soviet civilians, Lithuanians, Czechs, French, Yugoslavs, Germans, Austrians, and Italians).
70 years ago, on January 27th, 1945 the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Soviet Red Army troops.
My ”Auschwitz: 70 Years On” photography featured in National Geographic in 2015 to mark the anniversary.
Dedicated to all victims and survivors of Auscwitz. Never to be forgotten.