Nederlands Holocaust in Europe Auschwitz

Auschwitz-Monowitz III

Starting in the second half of 1942, camp prisoners in Auschwitz were increasingly deployed in the German weapon industry.  In 1941, the German chemical company IG Farben used slave labour to build its enormous Buna Works complex seven kilometres from the main camp. The factory was intended for producing synthetic rubber, but that never materialised during the war. The Allies succeeded in bombing parts of the complex. Next to the factory was the Monowitz labour camp, also known as Auschwitz III. The factory is still in use today. Between 1942 and 1944, a complete network of approximately 40 satellite camps was built in the vicinity of Auschwitz and Monowitz.  All the prisoners were treated with harshness and cruelty, both by the SS and Kapos - prisoners who became foremen for groups of slave labourers - as well as by the supervisors for IG Farben. Well-known survivors of Monowitz are Primo Levi, the Italian writer who after the war published his chilling memories of slave labour in the camp, and Elie Wiesel, who was later awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.


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The huge Buna factory in Monowitz produced synthetic rubber. Photo from 1945. Bildarchiv Preu├čischer Kulturbesitz Collection
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