Interrogation in Block 11

This scene depicts the basement of the infamous Block 11 in Auschwitz I, the first Auschwitz camp and administrative center. If Auschwitz was the end of the line either for gassing or for forced labor, Block 11 was the end of the line at the end of the line. After a person found oneself in a concentration, labor and extermination camp, it was possible to be incarcerated in the camp prison, Block 11. Here standup cells were employed, as well as suffocation and internment cells. In a standup cell, as many as three prisoners were made to crawl in through a small door on the floor, and then stand in a very small space making it impossible to sit. Food rations were scarce and sanitary conditions were beyond filthy. One can imagine various scenarios, possibly an interrogation. Exact description of this particular scene is unavailable. On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner's escape, ten men were chosen to die. Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father and was sent to the basement of Block 11. He was the last of the 10 to die, having been shot after enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect in an isolation cell. Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1981.

Watercolor: Wladyslaw Siwek
Reproduction courtesy of Auschwitz Museum Archive, 1980