The first discussions about the possibility of establishing an Auschwitz II camp appeared in the spring of 1941. The Nazi authorities chose the village of Brzezinka (Birkenau) as the site for this new camp as it was located 3,5 kilometres from the main camp of Auschwitz I.
The Auschwitz II camp was designated as the place where the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question’ would take place. That fact explains the appearance of the ‘Little Red House’ and the ‘Little White House’ in 1942, when the existing buildings were turned into gas chambers, with Crematoria II, III, IV and V then being put into operation in 1943 following the mass transportation of Jewish people to Brzezinka.
In 1944, as a result of the expansion work carried out by thousands of prisoners, the area of the camp totalled about 140 hectares with 300 buildings, most of which were used as residential barracks. In May and June 1944, the number of prisoners was approaching 90,000.
Ultimately, the number of murdered on the territory of Auschwitz II Birkenau exceeded one million people. 90% of them were Jewish.
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
20 Więźniów Oświęcimia Street
+48 33 844 8000