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83 years ago today the first mass transport of prisoners reached Auschwitz

14.06.2023 17:00
On this day, on the 14th June 1940, the first mass transport (of 728 Polish prisoners) by Nazi Germany to Auschwitz Concentration Camp took place. The transport came from the Polish city of Tarnów.
The gates of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp
The gates of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration campPanoramer360, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

"You have not come here to a sanatorium, but to a German concentration camp and there is no other way out than through the chimney of the crematorium. If one does not like that they can throw themselves on the wire immediately. If there are Jews in the transport they are allowed to live no more than two weeks, priests one month and the others three months."

These words were the "greeting" for the first arrivals from Shutzhaftlagerfuhrer Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch of the SS - Deputy and Acting Commandant at Auschwitz.

The 728 prisoners included soldiers, members of underground organizations, school pupils and university students and Polish Jews. Out of these 728, an estimated 200 survived.

Auschwitz Memorial and Museum has prepared a wealth of educational materials to commemorate this occassion, including an online visit

A previously unknown set of photographs documenting these tragic events has been discovered and published by the Museum:

Sources: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, tarnow.pl, Twitter