In January 1940, the authorities of Nazi Germany decided to establish the most notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz.
In the death camp, as it is called, over one million and one hundred thousand people were killed, including one million European Jews. Liberation Day January 27th is celebrated worldwide as Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Auschwitz consisted of the three main Auschwitz 1 camps, which opened first in May 1940 and where Poles were largely killed.
The largest Auschwitz-Birkenau opened in October 1941 and was a death camp that killed over one million people. Auschwitz-Monowitz opened in May 1942 and was a working camp in which IG paint was manufactured.
The first prisoners of war were brought to the camp in May 1940 and it was mainly the Poles who resisted the German occupation authorities.
In September 1941, the SS tested 600 cyclone B poisoned gas on 600 Soviet captured soldiers, which was then used in the gas chambers of the camps in which most of the prisoners were killed as soon as they arrived at the camp.
Others died of systematic starvation, forced labor, uncontrolled outbreaks, executions by shooting and medical experiments.
Each prisoner in the camp was numbered while the letter was a nationality mark and the Jews also wore yellow David stars.
All prisoners are classified into six categories: political prisoner, Jehovah’s Witnesses, expatriates, displaced persons, socialists, criminals and homosexuals.
According to SS standards, the lives of Jews were worth the least and were tortured by the worst methods, starved, exposed to extreme labor and cold until killed in gas chambers.
Yugoslavs in Auschwitz
Until March 1942, there were mostly prisoners from Poland, but there were also prisoners from the Czech Republic, Germany and Yugoslavia. From April of that year, deportations of Jews from all parts of Europe to Auschwitz began as a result of the Nazi “final settlement”.
According to incomplete data, at least 12,000 Yugoslavs were deported to Auschwitz, mostly Jews, but included partisans and illegals.
Auschwitz consisted of 28 blocks and each block was designed to house 700 prisoners, but they also contained 1,200 people. The blocks were devoid of basic living conditions, full of rats, no light, heating and enough toilets.
The working day at the camp began at 4.30 in the summer and 5.30 in the winter. The prisoners were given half a liter of water, inedible soup for lunch and black bread for dinner daily.
About 928 prisoners, mostly Poles, tried to escape from the camp, but only 196 managed to gain freedom.
Only 7,000 survivors
After the great fighting and death of some 230 soldiers of the Red Army, the camp was liberated on January 27, 1945.
Upon the entry of the Red Army troops, about 7,000 prisoners of war were released.
That date was proclaimed the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.