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Auschwitz-Monowitz Concentration Camp

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Auschwitz-Monowitz Concentration Camp, or Auschwitz III, was split off from the original Auschwitz Concentration Camp, which gave it a primary mission of supporting factory slave labor. It was first commanded by Hauptsturmfuehrer Heinrich Schwarz.

I.G. Farben

I.G. Farben Industries was closely associated with Monowitz, building a Buna synthetic rubber plant nearby and expecting to use camp labor. Farben was a conglomerate of eight major German chemical firms, including the present Bayer, BASF, and Hoechst. [1]

Farben board members Otto Ambros and Heinrich Butefisch were responsible for the Auschwitz plant as progrram managers, respectively, for synthetic rubber and gasoline. Dr Walter Durrfeld became general manager. All three, as well as the higher-level Buna board member Fritz ter Meer and others, were convicted in the I. G. Farben Case (NMT).


Ironically, while the Auschwitz complexes were not recognized, during the war, by Allied reconnaissance aircraft, the Birkenau extermination and medical experimentation facility was photographed at the end of a run over the Buna plant. Its significance, however, was not realized until well after WWII, in he historical research of retired Central Intelligence Agency imagery expert Dino Brugioni/ [2]. The factory was the main interest, and the WWII interpreters just marked Auschwitz as an unidentified installation. No one in that organization knew about human intelligence reports of the death camps, and only in the seventies did researchers learn the significance of the camp photographs. [3].

Brugioni explains why Allied intelligence knew little about the targets, even after the President asked that the camps be bombed[3]. "When the bombing specialists were ordered to formulate plans for bombing the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex, officials of the Air Ministry, the Royal Air Force Bomber Command and the U.S. 8th Air Force bemoaned the lack of aerial photographic coverage of the complex. In fact, such photos were readily available at the Allied Central Interpretation Unit at Royal Air Force Station Medmenham, 50 miles outside of London and at the Mediterranean Allied Photo Reconnaissance Wing in Italy. The ultimate irony was that no search for the aerial photos was ever instituted by either organization. In retrospect, it is a fact that by the time the Soviet Army reached Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, the Allies had photographed the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex at least 30 times."


  1. I.G. Farbenindustrie AG German Industry and the Holocaust, Holocaust Research Project
  2. Aerial Photographs of Auschwitz. The Auschwitz Album. Yad Vashem: The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority (2004). Retrieved on 2007-09-16.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Brugioni, Dino (Jan-Mar. 1983). "Auschwitz and Birkenau: Why the World War II Photo Interpreters Failed to Identify the Extermination Complex". Military Intelligence 9 (1): 50-55.