MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

Other classifications

The Soviet prisoners of war brought to Auschwitz in 1941 continued to wear their uniforms, but they were marked with a stripe painted on using oil paint, and a symbol made up of the letters “SU.”  Reeducation prisoners (Erziehungshäftlinge) were marked with the letter “E.” Police prisoners (Polizeihäftlinge) wore their civilian clothing, with no additional marking, as they awaited trial before the police summary court. 

It should be added that some of the people imprisoned in Auschwitz were not formally prisoners of the concentration camp. These were, above all, the above-mentioned police prisoners, the reeducation prisoners for whom Auschwitz was a substitute for a corrective labor camp (Arbeiterziehungslager – AEL), and prisoners who had been sentenced by a court to penal camp (“Straflager”). 

There were also cases in which the basis for imprisonment changed in the course of incarceration, especially for reeducation prisoners who were subsequently reclassified as “political.” A few Jewish prisoners who were arrested while carrying false documents were not recognized as Jews, and obtained the kind of triangles assigned to “Aryan” prisoners. Jews transported to Auschwitz for immediate killing and Poles sent to Auschwitz to be executed were not given any identification markings.