Auschwitz was a network of concentration and extermination camps built and operated in occupied Poland by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. It was the largest of the German concentration camps, consisting of Auschwitz I, also known as Buna, a labor camp; and 45 satellite campsconcentrationextermination campsNazi Germany
Auschwitz is the German name for Oświęcim, the town the camps were located in and around; it was renamed by the Germans after they invaded Poland in September 1939. Birkenau, the German translation of Brzezinka (birch tree), refers to a small Polish village nearby that was mostly destroyed by the Germans to make way for the camp.Oświęciminvaded PolandBrzezinka Auschwitz II-Birkenau was designated by Heinrich Himmler, Germany's Minister of the Interior, as the locus of the "final solution of the Jewish question in Europe." From spring 1942 until the fall of 1944, transport trains delivered Jews to the camp's gas chambers from all over Nazi-occupied Europe. The camp's first commandant, Rudolf Höss, testified after the war at the Nuremberg Trials that up to three million people had died there, a figure since revised to 1.1 million, around 90 percent of them Jews. Others deported to Auschwitz included 150,000 Poles, 23,000 Roma and Sinti, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and tens of thousands of people of diverse nationalities. Those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, lack of disease control, individual executions, and medical experiments.Heinrich HimmlerJews Rudolf HössNuremberg TrialsPolesRomaSintiSoviet prisoners of war On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops, a day commemorated around the world as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 1947, Poland founded a museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, which by 1994 had seen 22 million visitors—700,000 annually—pass through the iron gates crowned with the infamous motto, Arbeit macht frei ("work makes you free").International Holocaust Remembrance DayArbeit macht frei
Police in Poland have recovered the infamous sign stolen from the front gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp and arrested five men, they announced Monday. The "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign, which means "Work Sets You Free" in German and is synonymous with the Nazi camps of World War II, was stolen late last week from Auschwitz in Poland, police said Friday. The theft prompted outrage around the world. Five men in their 20s and 30s have been arrested, journalist Tomas Machala of CNN affiliate Polsat in the Polish capital Warsaw said Monday. They were not neo-Nazis, he said, in response to speculation at the time of the theft that the far right was responsible. "They have some criminal background," he said, noting they had been arrested for robbery and brawling in the past. He did not give their names. Video: Holocaust symbol stolen "They wanted to sell the sign and earn some money," he said. Police said it was too early to say if they acted on their own or were hired to commit the robbery. They face up to 10 years in prison if they are convicted, Machala said. It is not clear how they managed to steal the sign, which was cut into three pieces into order to fit it into a car, he said.
The access of the trains with the prisoners The electrified wire Auschwitz
One barrack where can fit up to 1000 persons. Berths where slept up to 6 persons on each of their 3 heights The latrines
They were arrested hundreds of miles north of the concentration camp memorial, near the city of Gdansk. The sign had been hidden in a forest, Machala said. Police were "alerted at 5 a.m. local time on Friday by museum guards" that the sign, was stolen, according to police spokeswoman Agnieszka Szczygiel. The heavy iron sign "was removed by being unscrewed on one side and pulled off on the other," Szczygiel said.