According to Nazi policy of the Third Reich, after the partial expulsion – or "Germanization" – of the local population, Poland and other occupied countries of central and eastern Europe would be settled with Germans.
After the Third Reich occupied Poland, the city of Oświęcim, renamed Auschwitz, was incorporated into the territory of the Third Reich. Within a short time, Germans established a concentration camp on the outskirts of the town and began implementing redevelopment plans.
The decision to establish the IG Farben plant, as well as the concerns and demands of its management, played a significant role in developing these plans. Moreover, a designer had to take into consideration SS requirements connected with the scale of the Auschwitz concentration camp and its planned expansion, which was ordered by Heinrich Himmler during his first visit to the camp.
Finally, in the vision about a new German bastion in the East, which Auschwitz was to become after the victorious war, an important role was played by three strictly connected and interactive elements: redevelopment of the town according to designs of the German architect Hans Stosberg, the plant of the IG Farben concern, and the camp, whose prisoners would constitute cheap labor for the German industry and agriculture.
The goal of these construction works, which started after the Auschwitz concentration camp had been established, was to create a transit camp for approximately 10,000 Poles. When this objective became outdated and obsolete, the Auschwitz concentration camp not only served as a concentration camp for prisoners from occupied Poland but also included prisoners from other European countries. Over time, the camp developed into a major complex consisting of three main camps and approximately forty-seven sub-camps, where the Nazis, while maintaining the functioning concentration camp, carried out the mass murder of European Jews.
Extension plans, which are displayed on the exhibition, focus on the part of the town lying on the outskirts of Auschwitz where the Auschwitz concentration camp was established. Germans planned to expand the camp already during the war and maintain it even after its victorious ending.
“…Considering…Himmler’s orders, that the camp and its entire interest zone had to be extended and developed, the first plan to establish only a transit quarantine camp in Auschwitz had already failed in 1940. During subsequent years the camp was systematically extended, and regarding the requirements of the German munitions industry various enterprises were developed where prisoners were working …”
Rudolf Höss, Höss’s Trial, vol. 21, p. 36
“…the concentration camp in Auschwitz has to be developed in such a way that in conditions of peace it could accommodate 30,000 prisoners…”
Rudolf Höss’s Memoirs, p. 224, Warszawa 1961 (H. Himmler’s statement from March 1, 1941)
Plan of artillery barracks (pre-1940) including the outlines of the following buildings: theater, outhouses, as well as one-story and two-story military blocks . Also highlighted are buildings in the vicinity of the barracks taken over by the SS in 1940 to establish the Auschwitz concentration camp and its economic base.
Plan of the Auschwitz concentration camp from March 11, 1941.