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An overview of the notorious death camp auschwitz

Built in Poland under Nazi German occupation initially as a concentration camp for Poles and later for Soviet prisoners of war, it soon became a prison for a number of other nationalities. Between the years 1942-1944 it became the main mass extermination camp where Jews were tortured and killed for their so-called racial origins. In addition to the mass murder of well over a million Jewish men, women and children, and tens of thousands of Polish victims, Auschwitz also served as a camp for the racial murder of thousands of Roma and Sinti and prisoners of several European nationalities.

Auschwitz: a short history of the largest mass murder site in human history

The Nazi policy of spoliation, degradation and extermination of the Jews was rooted in a racist and anti-Semitic ideology propagated by the Third Reich. Auschwitz Birkenau was the largest of the concentration camp complexes created by the Nazi German regime and was the one which combined extermination with forced labour. At the centre of a huge landscape of human exploitation and suffering, the remains of the two camps of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau were inscribed on the World Heritage List as evidence of this inhumane, cruel and methodical effort to deny human dignity to groups considered inferior, leading to their systematic murder.

The fortified walls, barbed wire, railway sidings, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz Birkenau show clearly how the Holocaust, as well as the Nazi German policy of mass murder and forced labour took place. The collections at the site preserve the evidence of those who were premeditatedly murdered, as well as presenting the systematic mechanism by which this was done. The personal items in the collections are testimony to the lives of the victims before they were brought to the extermination camps, as well as to the cynical use of their possessions and remains.

The site and its landscape have high levels of authenticity and integrity since the original evidence has been carefully conserved without any unnecessary restoration.

Auschwitz: The Camp of Death

Auschwitz Birkenau, monument to the deliberate genocide of the Jews by the German Nazi regime and to the deaths of countless others, bears irrefutable evidence to one of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated against humanity. It is also a monument to the strength of the human spirit which in appalling conditions of adversity resisted the efforts of the German Nazi regime to suppress freedom and free thought and to wipe out whole races.

The site is a key place of memory for the whole of humankind for the Holocaust, racist policies and barbarism; it is a place of our collective memory of this dark chapter in the history of humanity, of transmission to younger generations and a sign of warning of the many threats and tragic consequences of extreme ideologies and denial of human an overview of the notorious death camp auschwitz.

Integrity Within the 191. It is the most representative part of the Auschwitz complex, which consisted of nearly 50 camps and sub-camps. The Auschwitz Birkenau camp complex comprises 155 brick and wooden structures 57 in Auschwitz and 98 in Birkenau and about 300 ruins.

There are also ruins of gas chambers and crematoria in Birkenau, which were dynamited in January 1945. The overall length of fencing supported by concrete poles is more than 13 km. Individual structures of high historical significance, such as railway sidings and ramps, food stores and industrial buildings, are dispersed in the immediate setting of the property.

These structures, along with traces in the landscape, remain poignant testimonies to this tragic history. The Auschwitz I main camp was a place of extermination, effected mainly by depriving people of elementary living conditions. It was also a centre for immediate extermination.

  • In such conditions, the human rag has only one hope left…;
  • One in four died en route from starvation, cold, exhaustion, and despair;
  • On the 7th of October 1944, there was an uprising by the Sonderkommando working in the gas chambers;
  • Auschwitz Birkenau was the largest of the concentration camp complexes created by the Nazi German regime and was the one which combined extermination with forced labour;
  • Photograph of child prisoners after the liberation of Auschwitz;
  • The 28 two-story buildings which made up the camp were divided into three sections:

Here too were the main supply stores, workshops and Schutzstaffel SS companies. Work in these administrative and economic units and companies was the main form of forced labour for the inmates in this camp.

Birkenau was the largest camp in the Auschwitz complex.


It became primarily a centre for the mass murder of Jews brought there for extermination, and of Roma and Sinti prisoners during its final period. Sick prisoners and those selected for death from the whole Auschwitz complex — and, to a smaller extent, from other camps — were also gathered and systematically killed here.

It ultimately became a place for the concentration of prisoners before they were transferred inside the Third Reich to work for German industry. The property is of adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes that convey its significance. Potential threats to the integrity of the property include the difficulty in preserving the memory of the events and their significance to humanity.

Authenticity The Auschwitz camp complex has survived largely unchanged since its liberation in January 1945. The remaining camp buildings, structures and infrastructure are a silent witness to history, bearing testimony of the crime of genocide committed by the German Nazis. They are an inseparable part of a death factory organized with precision and ruthless consistency.

The attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property are truthfully and credibly expressed, and fully convey the value of the property. At Auschwitz I, the majority of the complex has remained intact. The architecture of the camp consisted mostly of pre-existing buildings converted by the Nazis to serve new functions.

The preserved architecture, spaces and layout still recall the historical functions of the individual elements in their entirety.

  1. For this reason, it is impossible to calculate the number of lives lost in the camp.
  2. In addition, the International Auschwitz Council acts as a consultative and advisory body to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland on the protection and management of the site of the former Auschwitz Birkenau camp and other places of extermination and former concentration camps situated within the present territory of Poland.
  3. It held 15,000 working females. A further 22 Germans were sentenced in Frankfurt between 1963 and 1966 for crimes committed in Auschwitz.
  4. In 1996, however, the Polish government joined with other organizations in a large-scale effort to ensure its preservation. On the basis of an order signed by Himmler on the 29th of January 1943, approximately 20 000 Roma were also deported to Auschwitz.

In Birkenau, which was built anew on the site of a displaced village, only a small number of historic buildings have survived. Due to the method used in constructing those buildings, planned as temporary structures and erected in a hurry using demolition materials, the natural degradation processes have been accelerating.

All efforts are nevertheless being taken to preserve them, strengthen their original fabric and protect them from decay. Many historic artefacts from the camp and its inmates have survived and are currently kept in storage. Some are exhibited in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

These include personal items brought by the deportees, as well as authentic documents and preserved photographs, complemented with post-war testimonies of the survivors. Protection and management requirements The property is protected by Polish law under the provisions of heritage protection and spatial planning laws, together with the provisions of local law.

The site, buildings and relics of the former Auschwitz Birkenau camp are situated on the an overview of the notorious death camp auschwitz of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which operates under a number of legal Acts concerning the operation of museums and protection of the Former Nazi Extermination Camps, which provide that the protection of these sites is a public objective, and its fulfilment is the responsibility of the State administration.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is a State cultural institution supervised directly by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, who ensures the necessary financing for its functioning and the fulfillment of its mission, including educational activities to understand the tragedy of the Holocaust and the need to prevent similar threats today and in future.

The Museum has undertaken a long-term programme of conservation measures under its Global Conservation Plan. It is financed largely through funds from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, which is supported by states from around the world, as well as by businesses and private individuals.

  • In Czech Auschwitz was the Nazis' largest concentration and extermination camp;
  • In the camp stores they found almost eight tonnes of human hair and over a million men's suits and women's dresses;
  • They met with resistance leaders in Slovakia and compiled a detailed report including maps;
  • The first opened on March 31, 1943, the last on April 4, 1943;
  • They fed them but most could not eat because they were too malnourished.

The existing legal system provides appropriate tools for the effective protection and management of the property. In addition, the International Auschwitz Council acts as a consultative and advisory body to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland on the protection and management of the site of the former Auschwitz Birkenau camp and other places of extermination and former concentration camps situated within the present territory of Poland.

Auschwitz-Birkenau: History & Overview

Several protective zones surround components of the World Heritage property and function de facto as buffer zones. They are covered by local spatial development plans, which are consulted by the Regional Monuments Inspector. For better management and protection of the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, especially for the proper protection of its setting, a relevant management plan must be put into force.