MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

Monowitz

A sub-camp and from November 1943 a concentration camp to which all the “industrial” sub-camps in the Auschwitz complex were subordinated. It was established at the site of the Polish village of Monowice, whose inhabitants were expelled and buildings razed. The location had previously been envisioned as one of ten barracks-camps planned for compulsory laborers for IG Farben. The first of approximately 2,000 prisoners were brought there from Auschwitz I at the end of October 1942, after which the prisoner population rose to 6,000 in 1943, and almost 11,000 in the late summer of 1944. The prisoners lived in 59 wooden barracks and one made of concrete panels. Each barracks was furnished with 56 three-tier bunks, several tables and stools, and a central heating installation.

Despite somewhat better conditions than in Birkenau and an extra helping of camp soup (food), the strength of Monowitz prisoners dropped rapidly due to the hard labor, and they died or fell victim to selection. In total, 1,670 prisoners were murdered at the building site or died in the sub-camp hospital, and 11,000 were sent to Auschwitz and Birkenau, where the majority of them were killed with a lethal injection of phenol or in the gas chambers.

The commandant throughout the entire existence of Auschwitz III-Monowitz, renamed the Monowitz camp in November 1944, was SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Schwarz. He had 440 SS men at his disposal. In January 1945, the prisoners were evacuated on foot to Gliwice, from where they were transported by rail to the Buchenwald and Mauthausen camps. 

Source: Auschwitz from A to Z. An Illustrated History