The Auschwitz Concentration Camp commandant stood at the head of the camp personnel and the garrison stationed there. The first commandant of Auschwitz was SS-Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Höss (May 1940-November 1943). His successors were SS-Obersturmbannführer Arthur Liebehenschel (November 1943-May 1944) and SS-Sturmbannführer Richard Baer (May 1944-January 1945). After the first organizational reform of the Auschwitz complex, the commandants of Birkenau (Auschwitz II Concentration Camp) between November 1943 and November 1944 were, first, SS-Sturmbannführer Friedrich Hartjenstein, replaced by SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Kramer. The commandant of Auschwitz III (known from November 1943 as Monowitz Concentration Camp) was SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Schwarz.
The commandant had complete authority over the camp and the SS garrison. In turn, he reported to the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps. After the inspectorate became part of the SS Main Economic-Administration Office (Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamat, SS-WVHA) on March 3, 1942, the concentration camp commandants came under the authority of Office Group D (Amtsgruppe D) in the SS-WVHA.