Auschwitz consisted of three main camps and 44 sub camps. The three main camps were Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II, and Auschwitz III.

Auschwitz I

This camp was known as the main camp. It was established in April 1940 from abandoned Polish army barracks. Zyclon B was first tested in this camp for a system of mass killing. When the gas proved to work well, the other camps decided to use it for this purpose also.

Auschwitz II

The largest camp in Auschwitz was Auschwitz II, or Auschwitz-Birkenau which was built in 1941. It had the largest prisoner population and had ten different sections that were separated by electrified barbed wire fence. Auschwitz II had the worse living conditions and four crematorium buildings. They consisted of a disrobing area, a large gas chamber, and crematorium ovens.

Auschwitz III

Known as Buna or Monowitz, was established in October 1942. Its purpose was to house prisoners that had to work at the Buna synthetic rubber works.

Arriving in Auschwitz

When you first arrived in Auschwitz, you were examined by doctors who put you into one of the three groups. One of the three groups was those who seemed unfit to work, including, young children, the elderly, pregnant woman, and the disabled.  These people were sent straight to the gas chambers. The second group was those who were experimented on; many twins, pregnant woman, dwarfs, and infants. The third group were those who seemed fit to work. They were given a tattoo that served as their name They suffered through starvation, disease, overwork, and terrible living conditions.


Mid-January 1945 was when the Soviet forces came to Auschwitz. The SS started evacuating prisoners and sent them on a forced march. Anyone who fell during this march was shot. When the Soviet Army came to Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, they found corpses and nearly dead people everywhere.

It is impossible to know exactly how many people died at Auschwitz due to the fact that those who seemed unfit to work were sent straight to the gas chambers without being recored. At least 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz and an estimated 1.1 million died there.

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