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Birkenau Auschwitz 2

Construction on Auschwitz II Birkenau opened in October 1941 in an attempt to ease congestion at the main camp. It was designed as an extermination camp in  preparations for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. The idea of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Luitpold Himmler.

It was he that  controlled the SS and the Gestapo, and the founder and officer-in-charge of the Nazi concentration camps.
Birkenau camp was larger than Auschwitz I, and more people passed through its gates than did those of Auschwitz I. The majority of the prisoner were bough to the camp by rail.
50-60 Men, women and children were packed liked sardines in cattle trucks for very long hours even days without sanitation and limited air flow.
Two original cattle cars that the Nazis used to transport people to Auschwitz—a French SNCF car from the turn of the 20th century and a German car from 1917


Immediately after disembarking from the train, the Jews had to form two columns: women and children in one, and men in the other. SS physicians and male nurses then conducted a selection on the ramp. Before 1942 a railways siding known as the "Judenrampe" was used.

They divided the strong and healthy from the elderly, the ill, pregnant women, and children. Those classified as fit for work were placed in the camp. The others, usually 70-75% of the transport, were sent to their death in the gas chambers

The left and right sides of the ramp, Left to work-Right to death.


About three-quarters of each load, went to the gas chambers of Auschwitz II Birkenau within a few hours; they included all children, all women with children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be fully fit. In the Auschwitz Birkenau camp more than 20,000 people could be gassed and cremated each day.


 During November 1944 the order was given that the furnaces and crematorium building were to be demolished, This was an attempt to remove any evidence of what had gone on there.  What ever had not been removed was blown up by the SS on January 20, 1945.

All that remains of the crematorium buildings today

Paul & Jay paying their respects at the "Black Pond" The place where many of the ashes from the crematoriums were dumped.

Those chosen for labour were billeted in the old brick built barracks and wooden cattle shed type barns


There was a men's camp Männerlager and an sector that had an annex for Jewish and non-Jewish women,

Some pictures from inside the brick barracks



The remains in the back ground are from the "Barns" being burned to the ground after the war as the camp was rife with Typhus and many other dieses.

The inside of "a Barn" the three high beds would of filled the place.                           The "Barn" toilet block


One of the labour tasks for selected women was to work in "Canada", This was the part of Birkenau where prisoners' belongings were sorted for use by Germans. The name "Canada" meant land of plenty. The expression comes from the time when Polish emigrants were sending gifts home from Canada. The store houses were for housing the belongings looted from the prisoners.  During the liquidation of the camp in January 1945, the SS set the warehouses on fire in order to eliminate evidence of their crimes.

"Canada" Before the SS raised it to the ground.


"Canada" Today
Poking around in the debris from one of the store rooms


Piles of debris from the store rooms now under a glass case on site


Some finds from "Canada" 5

Miles of Barbed wire still surrounds surrounds the camp

A small souvenir of Birkenau


Well That's the end of another crazy adventure.

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