MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

Death block

Auschwitz I, Block 11 – The death block

This building had several functions, but was used above all as the camp jail. The SS placed men and women prisoners from all parts of the camp complex in the basement cells. These were people suspected of and under camp Gestapo investigation for, among other things, involvement in the camp resistance movement or attempting to escape.

Prisoners sentenced to death by starvation or stays in the dark or "standing" cells were also held here. It was in the cellars of this block, as well, that the SS carried out tests on mass killing with Zyklon B before the start of the operation for the total extermination of the Jews.

On the ground floor, an SS man was always on duty. Beginning in 1941, people in the separate "police prisoner" category were held here. These Polish men and women were prisoners of the Katowice district Gestapo waiting for trial before the summary court that usually sentenced them to death or imprisonment in Auschwitz.

Visitors could see the jail cells in the basement and, on the ground floor, the room where the summary court sat, the SS duty room, and the room where police prisoners were held. Also presented on the ground floor were two displays connected with the functions of the block and the subjects of punishment, execution, and the camp resistance movement.