AuschwitzPage 1234 BirkenauPage 123 Other Plaszów
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The houses of Birkenau were cleared by the SS in July 1941 and the inhabitants transported elsewhere.

A study of the plans reveals that from the outset that the accommodation was to be too overcrowded to sustain human life. The initial plan was for one barrack block to contain 550 prisoners, which meant that each inmate would only have one third of the total space allocated to a prisoner in 'Old Reich' concentration camps like Dachau. But the plans show that even that level of density turned out to be too low for the needs of the SS planners: in handwirtten alteration, the number 550 was crossed out and replaced with a final figure of 744.

Such callousness was perfectly acceptable to the SS because they knew that this was to be a special kind of prisoner of war camp, designed to hold an enemy they considered to be subhuman: Soviet POWs.