The blood-curdling fame of the Konzentrationslager Auschwitz has spread the world throughout. Actually it was not a single camp, but a whole complex including 39 camps in the vicinity of Auschwitz, but the extermination complex lay some 2-3 km away, at Auschwitz II or Birkenau, as it was officially called. The camp of Birkenau proper stretched over less than 2-sq. km., but it included four crematoria with light gas chambers and 46 ovens.
Spoon after the settling up of the first Nazi concentration camps, Hitler issued an ordinance warning against the turning of the concentration camps into "boarding houses" or "sanatoria".
Faithful to their Führer, Himmler and the whole gang of SS-men in Totenkopfeinheiten, the death's head units, saw to the setting up of the camps as true factories of death, as they had actually been conceived, and not boarding houses or sanatoria. Führer's plan was most perfectly put into practice at Birkenau, where death was inflicted at conveyor belt rate.
And in order to settle any doubts as the high level of the "death technology" at Birkenau-Auschwitz, one of the chiefs of the camp, Karl Fritsch welcomed the newcomers with the following words: "You are not in a sanatorium, but in a German concentration camp where from there is only one way out: trough the chimney. If this doesn't suit you, you can immediately throw yourselves over the barbed wire fences where through high tension current is running; if in this transport there are Jews, they don't have the right to live more than two weeks, the priests a month while the others -- three months."
The detainees in the other concentration camps throughout the Reich were struck with terror when hearing of what happened at Auschwitz.
Germaine Tillon, who was deported to Ravensbrüch in 1943 writes in her book: "the Czech detainees who had just returned from Auschwitz lived in the same block with us and they told us in a low voice the terrible thing they had seen there, the systematic destruction of Jews by gassing, the burnt corpses, the hillocks of human a shies; with them there also were some Jewish women who were waiting to leave for Auschwitz and who knew by now what fate they had in store."
"According to Hitler's wish -- Höss confessed -- Auschwitz became the greatest extermination complex of all times."
During the fascist night, hundreds of thousands of deportees arrived at the platform of Birkenau-Auschwtz from all Europe. On January 27, 1945, when the Soviet liberating troops entered the camp they found only 2.819 Häftlings alive.
But one does not know and never will the ashes of how many human beings were scattered the world throughout by the winds that swept over the crematoria of Birkenau-Auschwitz.
Could there possibly be a more terrible indictment bill of Nazism than the fact that to establish the precise number of the victims in the K.Z.'s which had spread all over Hitler's Germany and a whole area under his, influence, has never been or will be possible.