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Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp Established

Barracks in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. This photograph was taken after the liberation of the camp. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, after January 29, 1945.

Barracks in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. This photograph was taken after the liberation of the camp. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, after January 29, 1945. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park

March 1, 1942

The Inspectorate of Concentration Camps opens a second camp at Auschwitz, called Auschwitz-Birkenau or Auschwitz II.

The first prisoners were 945 Soviet prisoners of war and a few Polish prisoners from Auschwitz I. Auschwitz-Birkenau was originally designated for imprisoning large numbers of Soviet prisoners of war. Although it continued to serve as a concentration camp, it also functioned as a killing center from March 1942 until November 1944.