Auschwitz - Birkenau
This section details my tour experiences at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Oswiecim, Poland. Viewer discretion advised.
Heinrich Himmler ordered the expansion of Auschwitz in the spring of 1941; construction of Auschwitz-Birkenau began in the fall of that year. Auschwitz held 7,000 prisoners; Himmler wanted the camp to hold 30,000, if not more. Camp architect, Karl Bischoff, devised a plan for a second camp, about three kilometers (or two miles) from the main camp, designated Auschwitz-Birkenau. With the final design complete, the Auschwitz concentration camp complex could hold 125,000 (the camp became overcrowded with thousands more).
Auschwitz-Birkenau is infamously known as the primary killing center for the Third Reich. The camp's gas chambers and crematoria could process 8,000 corpses daily, but numbers averaged close to 1,000. This blog section will likely be the darkest, as I will detail Auschwitz-Birkenau's history, daily operations, rail logistics, living conditions, contractors and vendors who helped in its construction and operation, and some lesser-known details.
The sheer size and expanse of the camp, 30+ acres (1 acre is about the size of an American football field), is overwhelming. The enormous effort behind engineering the camp's expansion, the implementation of housing and rationing, and the meticulously designed extermination strategy, coupled with a complex European transport and logistics system, impress on the visitor the Nazis' determination and discipline; their attention to engineering, logistical, and financial details and a gory, fanatical obsession with devising and implementing the Final Solution.
The articles, images, and videos are mine (unless noted otherwise) and I will take you on a step-by-step journey through the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. You will see what I saw. You will hear what I heard. In some videos, I provide real-time commentary. In each post, I try to coalesce the historical aspects of the time, the impact on humanity, lesser-known details, travel and tour information, and the very personal, emotional and spiritual impact I felt on each step and stop during my tour.
People Sent to Auschwitz
Prisoners Who Died at Auschwitz
Inmates Attempted Escape
Years Auschwitz Was in Operation
Prisoners Liberated in 1945 by Soviets
Horrors of Auschwitz: The Numbers Behind WWII's Deadliest Concentration Camp
Natasha Frost, January 5, 2022