In German-occupied Europe during World War II, the killing center was a facility established exclusively or primarily for the assembly-line style mass murder of human beings. Those few prisoners who were selected to survive, temporarily, were deployed in some fashion in support of this primary function. The killing centers are sometimes referred to as “extermination camps” or “death camps.” Concentration camps served primarily as detention and labor centers, as well as sites for the murder of smaller, targeted groups of individuals. Killing centers, on the other hand, were essentially “death factories.” German SS and police murdered nearly 2,700,000 Jews in the killing centers either by asphyxiation with poison gas or by shooting.
KILLING CENTER AUSCHWITZ
The largest killing center was Auschwitz-Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz II. It was located in Upper Silesia, a province of interwar Poland that was annexed directly to Germany. SS authorities established Auschwitz-Birkenau in…
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