Auschwitz – Women’s Camp

Of all registered inmates at Auschwitz, 30 percent were female with the first mass transport of 999 non-Jewish female prisoners from the Ravensbrück concentration camp on March 26, 1942. All of which were classified as criminal, asocial, and political prisoners and were brought to Auschwitz as founder functionaries of the women’s camp. These first women prisoners were given serial numbers from 1 to 999. Johanna Langefeld, the women’s guard from Ravensbrück, became the first Auschwitz women’s camp Lagerführerin.

The second mass transport of women arrived from Poprad, Slovakia on the same day as the first transport and also had 999 women prisoners all of Jewish descent. This was the first registered transport sent to Auschwitz by the Reich Security Head Office, office IV B4, also known as Jewish Office, and led by SS Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann. Followed by the third transport on 28 March 1942 of 798 Jewish women from Bratislava, Slovakia.

Blocks 1 to 10 of Auschwitz I were first assigned to hold women, prisoners, until 6 of August 1942, when 13,000 inmates were transferred to a new women’s camp Frauenkonzentrationslager or FKL in Auschwitz II. This new camp at first consisted of 15 brick and 15 wooden barracks in sector BIa and was later extended into BIb, and held 32,066 women inmates by October 1943. Around 11,000 women were also housed in the Gypsy camp and several thousand in the Theresienstadt family camp in 1943 – 1944.

Conditions in this women’s camp were extremely poor. According to researchers from the Auschwitz Museum, the first task male prisoners had to do when assigned to build a new infirmary in October 194, was to distinguish between corpses and the women who were still alive. Gisella Perl, a Romanian-Jewish gynecologist and former inmate in 1948 described conditions she had to face while imprisoned at Auschwitz’s women’s camp. There was one latrine for 32,000 prisoners and they were only allowed to use it at certain hours of the day. The latrine consisted of a deep ditch with planks thrown across it. They had to wait their turn knee-deep in excrement and all suffered from dysentery.

Langefeld was later in October 1942 succeeded by SS Oberaufseherin Maria Mandl and developed a reputation of cruelty. Rudolf Höss assigned men to oversee the women’s camp female supervisors. First overseer was SS Obersturmführer Paul Müller, followed by SS Hauptsturmführer Franz Hössler. After the war, both Mandl and Hössler were executed for their crimes. In addition to the inhumane conditions of the camp, women were forced to undergo sterilization experiments by German gynecologist Carl Clauberg and Horst Schumann in barrack 30.

Our trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau

Leave a Reply

× WhatsApp