for the Gas Chamber
Hungarian Jewish men, women, and children selected
for death in the gas chamber wait in the wooded area next to the killing
facility at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland. Their numbers dwindled rapidly
as they were taken to the gas chamber and crematorium.
Camps in Europe, 19331945
As early as
1933, with Hitler's rise to power, concentration camps were created in Germany.
The concentration camp system expanded rapidly; Dachau became its model,
and was the only camp that remained in continuous operation from 1933 until
1945. By 1939, six more large concentration camps were established; by the
end of the war, over 1,000 camps were in existence.
Six camps were
situated in the former Polish territory: Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka,
Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Majdanek. These were designed as extermination camps.
Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest camp, and Majdanek served as both slave labor
camps and killing centers. Gassings began in 1941 and continued until January
1945. SS physicians at Auschwitz carried out murderous and horrific medical
experiments. The victims at Auschwitz numbered more than 1.1 million Jews
from all over Europe; Poles, Gypsies, prisoners of war, and others were also
1944 at Auschwitz, Nazis made the prisoners blow up one of the gas chambers,
destroying the adjacent crematorium. The next month, the SS destroyed the
remaining installations as Soviet forces approached. The SS began evacuating
Auschwitz and its subcamps in January 1945; 60,000 prisoners were forced
out on death marches.