Interest Zone of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp

(German: Interessengebiet des KL Auschwitz)

An SS‑administered area of over 40 sq. km established in early 1941 after the expulsion of Poles and Jews from the villages near the camp. The inhabitants of one of the Oświęcim districts were also expelled. Its creation reflected the desire of the camp authorities to remove witnesses to the crimes of the SS, as well as to impede contact between prisoners and the outside world; Rudolf Höss wrote in one of his reports that “the surrounding populace is fanatically Polish” and ready to help escapees “as soon as they reach the first Polish farmstead.” Another important motive was the confiscation of land for camp farms. By 1943, as a result, about nine thousand people were expelled from the area and more than a thousand houses demolished. The construction material thus obtained was used to build barracks in the Birkenau camp. Later, the SS organized eight sub‑camps in the area. Prisoners from these sub‑camps worked in the fields, raised animals and maintained fish ponds.

(Mini dictionary of terms from the history of Auschwitz)