The preliminary evacuation of the camp
In the second half of 1944 and the first 2 weeks of January 1945, about 65 thousand prisoners, including almost all the Poles, Russians, and Czechs remaining in the camp (a total of about 15 thousand men and women) were evacuated to various industrial plants in the depths of the Reich. However, about 65 thousand other prisoners were kept at Auschwitz until the last moment. Most of them were employed at plants in the Upper Silesia industrial region and other nearby centers areas that were important to maintaining the German war potential. As late as December 11, 1944, German chemical industry officials were conferring in Katowice on ways to increase the productivity of Auschwitz prisoners laboring in their plants in the coming year. In early January, a few weeks before the Soviet Army reached Upper Silesia, work continued on equipping the newly founded Hubertshütte sub-camp at a steel mill in Bytom-Łagiewniki.