Panorama of the Camp at Birkenau [ Auschwitz II ]

For panoramic map see: http://www.remember.org/camps/birkenau/index.html

Left: Women prisoners on the left are being marched to work from their barracks on the left in the women’s camp, either BIa, or b.

Center: Unloading of prisoners ringed by armed SS guards, and selection for either slave labor or, more probably the gas.

Rear: In the background, 3/4 km. from the front, are the smokestacks of Krematoria II, and III where men, women and children were gassed, their bodies burned, and their ashes dumped into huge pits, or in the river Sola. These were the largest Krematoria in the entire Nazi system. Originally built to exterminate the Jewish people, many “Gypsies” (more accurately named Sinti and Roma) were also murdered here.

Right: On the right are the men’s camps: BII-a, b, c, d, e, f, g. Each of these barracks has about 1,000 people crammed into impossible living conditions. At the peak in 1944, about 100,000 people were imprisoned here, almost all of them merely because of their different culture, ethnicity, and religion. In the right foreground a men’s Kommando, or work unit, watched by armed SS, are carrying poles into the camp. In the extreme foreground is a prisoner foremen, or Kapo, who had the power of life and death over his charges.

Oil: Mieczyslaw Koscielniak
Reproduction courtesy of Auschwitz Museum Archive, 1980