Architecture of Murder: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Blueprints
Selected Panels from the Exhibition
Auschwitz-Birkenau, built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland, was the largest and most important concentration and extermination camp complex. During its operation between June 1940 and January 1945, the German Nazis murdered approximately a million and one hundred thousand people there, the majority of whom were Jews.
The construction of the camps, a massive and lengthy process, was never actually completed. The construction was performed by a special SS Central Construction Directorate. This unit prepared the plans and blueprints, initiated and supervised the work. Among its tasks, the Central Construction Directorate was also responsible, together with a civilian firm, for planning and building the extermination facilities.
Most of the SS officers responsible for the construction of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex were architects and construction engineers. Work at the site was carried out by a number of civilian firms and by several SS construction units. The main part of the workforce was comprised of thousands of slave laborers who worked under extremely harsh conditions and were subject to brutal treatment.