Auschwitz concentration camp brief history

Auschwitz is recorded in history as a symbol of human destruction, murder and terror. It was here that the Hitler´s Third Reich established one of the most severe death camps of the Second World War where hundreds of thousands, mostly Jews, died at the hands of Nazi soldiers. But Hitler´s idea to establish Auschwitz as a forced labour camp might have been given to him by the man the Nazi bought the land from.

The assembly of land which we know today as Auschwitz was originally a factory. In the 1930´s the factory was purchased by US Senator, Prescott Bush, the father of George Bush snr, and the grand-father of George W. Bush. The factory employed Polish workmen who practically worked as slaves to make shoes for the middle-class of Europe and America. Much of the money that helped establish the modern day Bush dynasty came from the profit made from slave labour at Auschwitz.

In the 1930´s, Prescott Bush sold the Auschwitz shoe factory for $1.5 million through his German financier Fritz Thyssen with whom he did a lot of deals with in Germany and central Europe. The factory and the land it was built on fell into the hands of the Nazi Party and in April 1940 opened as a concentration camp.

The site was chosen by the administrators of the Third Reich for its excellent transport links in Germany and the Polish border together with Austria, Czechoslovakia and other central European countries. Auschwitz was first use as a prison was to house 728 political prisoners arrested in Poland who were quickly followed by 12,000 POW´s.

The Nazi´s always intended to use Auschwitz as an extermination camp for what Hitler called, “The Final Resolution.” German scientists developed a cyanide-based pesticide which was used to kill millions during the Holocaust, and it was test on 600 Soviet POW´s at Auschwitz in September 1941. 

In February 1942, the first Jewish prisoners arrive at Auschwitz and are immediately executed using the gas Zyklon B before they are even removed from the train. The prisoner of war camp is fully mobilised as an extermination camp under the names of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Auschwitz Monowitz. By the end of the year 175,000 Jews have been transported to Auschwitz and hundreds of thousands more would follow.

Gassing all Jews on their arrival was not deemed productive to the German war effort and a gas chamber was built on site. Jews who were deemed too weak, ill and unfit for work would be carted off to the gas chamber and executed.

In 1944, with the help of captured Soviet soldiers, Jewish crematoria workers in the Birkenau section mounted an armed uprising and blew up Crematorium IV. Hundreds of prisoners escaped but were captured soon afterwards and put to death.

Auschwitz was liberated on 27th January by Soviet troops, but only 7000 prisoners were left. After the war a museum is opened on the site and in 1979 is named on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Auschwitz will always remain a symbol of evil.