Scrapbookpages Blog

February 11, 2018

The famous Auschwitz camp where Jews were killed

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany — furtherglory @ 2:09 pm
My photos of the Auschwitz main camp

The Arbeit Macht Frei gate into the main Auschwitz camp, 2005

 It was through this gate that the Jewish prisoners walked each morning on their way to work in the factories, marching to the beat of music played by the camp orchestra, stationed in front of the kitchen building near the gate.

Ten hours later, the prisoners marched back through this gate in the evening, again to the accompaniment of classical music.

Newly arriving prisoners were also greeted by orchestra music as they passed through this gate after being registered in the camp.

Auschwitz 1 was also a transit camp for prisoners who were waiting to be transferred to another camp.

My 2005 photo of Block 24, the former brothel

The first building that you see on the left side, after walking through the entrance gate, is Block 24, which now houses the Auschwitz archives and the office of the Museum director.

Block 24 was formerly used as a brothel for the Polish political prisoners; the camp library was on the first floor. Block 24 also housed the prisoner’s art museum, where their artwork was exhibited.

A sign near the corner of Block 24 tells visitors that the corpses of prisoners, who were executed because they had attempted to escape, were often displayed here as a warning.

There is no sign which identifies Block 24 as the former camp brothel and camp library.

Arbeit Macht Frei gate, Block 24 in background

Photo Credit: José Ángel López

My photo of tourists entering camp

In January 1941, the Auschwitz I camp was designated a Class I camp, where prisoners had a chance to be released. Only Class I camps had the “Arbeit Macht Frei” slogan over the gate.

Other Class I camps included Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Flossenbürg and Gross-Rosen.

Buchenwald was a Class II camp and Mauthausen was a Class III camp; neither of these camps had the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign.

The six death camps (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno, Majdanek and Auschwtiz II, also known as Birkenau) did not have the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” on the gate into the camp.

My photo of entrance gate into Birkenau

Commandant Rudolf Hoess, who had served at both Dachau and Sachsenhausen before becoming the first Commandant of Auschwitz I in June 1940, ordered the Arbeit Macht Frei sign to be placed over the original gate into the camp. He wrote in his autobiography that the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” mean that works sets one free spiritually, not literally.

According to the Auschwitz Museum, approximately 1,500 prisoners were released from Auschwitz 1

Block 11 – the camp prison

Prison Cells Inside Block 11

Standing Cells in Block 11

Gas Chamber

That’s all she wrote — and she rubbed that out.