Between 1.1 and 1.5 million people died at Auschwitz; 90 percent of them were Jews.
Also among the dead were some 19,000 Roma who were held at the camp until the Nazis gassed them on July 31, 1944—the only other victim group gassed in family units alongside the Jews.
The Department devotes a large part of its efforts to the conservation of movable objects from the Museum collections.
These include about 110 thousand shoes, about 3,800 suitcases, 12 thousand pots and pans, 40 kg.
The Poles constituted the second largest victim group at Auschwitz, where some 83,000 were killed or died.
Auschwitz was probably chosen to play a central role in the “final solution” because it was located at a railway junction with 44 parallel tracks—rail lines that were used to transport Jews from throughout Europe to their death.
During most of the period from 1940 to 1945, the commandant of the central Auschwitz camps was SS-Hauptsturmführer (Capt.) and ultimately SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieut. Thousands of prisoners were also selected by the camp doctor, Josef Mengele, for medical experiments.
Auschwitz doctors tested methods of sterilization on the prisoners, using massive doses of radiation, uterine injections, and other barbaric procedures.
In October 1941, work began on Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, located outside the nearby village of Brzezinka.
There the SS later developed a huge concentration camp and extermination complex that included some 300 prison barracks; four large so-called (“cremating ovens”).