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Oswiecim - Auschwitz and Birkenau
2003-07-02 18:55:00
After the Germans had fought the Polish army in the autum of 1939, the city Oswiecim was annexed into the Third Reich, and the name was changed to Auschwitz.
Auschwitz is one of the most well known concentration camps from the Third Reich and second world war.

The entrance to the camp is also very well known due to the slogan over the main gate which states 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. The prisoners had to walk trough this gate every day to do hard work for about 12 hours. The prisoners where facing a slow death of hunger and exhaustion due to the hard work and the small daily ration of food. One ration consisted of 1300-1700 calories.

The camp consisted of 28 two floor buildings at the end of the war, plus buildings for kitchen and storage. Windows between block 10 and 11 where blocked so prisoners wouldn't be able to look at the executions taking place there. By this Deathwall SS shot thousands of prisoners.

Just outside the electric fence of the camp, the crematoruim where located. It concisted in total of six cinerators, and the mortuary where transformed to a gaschamber used to kill prisoners with the poison gas Cyklon-B.

Birkenau was located three kilometers from Auschwitz, and was by all means a much bigger concentration camp than Auschwitz. At the most Birkenau held 100.000 prisoners, while Auschwitz held 20.000 prisoners.

The camp consisted of more than 300 buildings, but only around 75 still remain standing mostly intact. The rest you can imagine by all the chimnies standing around. The buildings where buildt without floor, and stright on the ground. Inside, the room for the prisoners where very bad, and this is the sleeping facilities of 9-12 prisoners of three levels.

The prisoners arrived mostly in sealed cargo wagons by train, and the journey could sometimes be between 7-10 days without food and water. At arrivel at Birkenau, the SS picked out the prisoners capabel of work, and sendt the rest over to the gas chamber. The prisoners were told they should have a shower after the long journey, then asked to take their clothes off and directed down into the gas chamber. After sealing the gas chamber off, Cyklon-B gas was released and the prisoners where dead within 15-20 minutes. Afterwards the bodies where taken to the cinerators for cremation. Outside the ruins of one of the four cinerator complexes, there is a memorial in front of the ash pod which contains the ash of most of the prisoners who died here
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2003-07-13 11:23:00
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