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Auschwitz Bauleitung. Designing a Death Camp
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Auschwitz Bauleitung. Designing a Death Camp

  • Tis Polish-English album shows a harrowing depiction of Auschwitz camp, functioning as “machine of death” and designed in great detail.
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Tis Polish-English album shows a harrowing depiction of Auschwitz camp, functioning as “machine of death” and designed in great detail. The essence and historical background of this study is constituted by plans which were created in Auschwitz Bauleitung – construction office of the camp. This office, headed by SS-men and employing prisoners who were technicians by education, was engaged in designing of basically all the constructions built in the camp site.  

During the four and a half years of its existence, the Bauleitung architects prepared vast numbers of plans and maps, technical drawings, plan views and cross-sections, façade designs, models as well as furniture and interior designs, cost estimates as well as photographic documentation for the camp’s ongoing needs and future expansion. Many of the plans and designs resulted in the actual construction of the buildings, but there were also plans that were never realised or simply rejected during the war. In other cases, there were several different designs for the same building, which indicates a complex decision-making process.  

Each stage in its creation and expansion was assessed, critically appraised, redesigned and finally approved at various administrative levels. All aspects of German construction engineering were used to build practically from scratch and within a relativity short space of time thousands of extremely diverse structures and installations: prison blocks and barracks, watch towers, crematoria, gas chambers, railway ramps, water supply networks, drainage ditches, model farms, vast factory halls, entire residential estates, army barracks, offices and hospitals.

This book is primarily an album containing over 130 architectural sketches of Auschwitz, specially selected for their significance in illustrating the very conscious, conceptual way in which the camp was created and expanded. Wherever possible they have been complemented by photographs from Nazi documentation files.  

The narrative of this publication focuses on the main phases and areas of the development and expansion of Auschwitz, and tries as much as possible to include the main actors, that is, the SS decision-makers, the prisoner architects and engineers whom the Germans had forced to work on these projects as well as vast numbers of prisoner slave labourers who were made to toil to the point of exhaustion on major Auschwitz construction sites.

Piotr M.A. Cywiński
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