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10 Facts about Auschwitz So We Never Forget

  • Monday, March 25, 2024
10 Facts about Auschwitz So We Never Forget


Seventy-five years ago on January 27, around 7,000 prisoners at Auschwitz were liberated from their nightmare in German-occupied Poland. While the horrors of World War II go beyond the concentration and death camps, Auschwitz looms as an especially harrowing reminder of the capacity humans have for evil. By remembering these atrocities, we honor those who were liberated and killed in hopes that the world never sees another Auschwitz.

10 Facts about Auschwitz So We Never Forget

1. Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi death camps.

2. Auschwitz was actually three camps: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II (also known as Birkenau), and finally Auschwitz III.

3. Auschwitz was originally a prison for Polish prisoners but became infamous when Auschwitz II was added to be a mass killing site for Jews.

4. Auschwitz II was created by the Nazis as part of the “Final Solution,” which is what they called the plan to annihilate all European Jews. It is important to note how the Nazis disguised the horrors of their plan by giving it a harmless name.

5. When arriving at Auschwitz, the elderly, women, and children were almost immediately killed in the massive gas chambers. Those who were spared were those deemed strong enough for incredibly hard labor.

6. The gas chambers were disguised as shower houses so the prisoners would be less likely to put up a fight.

7. Once in 1944, a group of a couple hundred prisoners realized what they were walking into and there was a revolt. Three guards were killed, and the crematorium and adjacent gas chamber were blown up by explosives snuck into the camp by Jewish women who had been assigned to labor in the armaments factory nearby.

8. More than 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz, most of whom were Jews. Overall estimates say that around 6 million European Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

9. The Red Army, soldiers from the Soviet Union, liberated Auschwitz. Though Stalin’s totalitarian regime is often painted as the bad guy in our western history, they were a key player in stopping the Nazi takeover.

10. In mid-January 1945 as the Soviet soldiers approached Auschwitz, the Auschwitz guards forced almost 60,000 prisoners to march west from the death camp. As many as 15,000 estimated prisoners died during the evacuation marches.

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