Oświęcim – Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp (Birkenau – Wooden Barrack for Children)

It’s hard to imagine the suffering that would have taken place in this small area, formerly a wooden barracks at Birkenau where children were kept. They were mostly Jewish twins, kept alive for a while so that Josef Mengele could conduct experiments on them.

Mengele would work in his laboratories every morning, before rushing to the ramps where Jewish prisoners were being brought in by train in vast numbers nearly every day. Usually Hungarian Jews, he would monitor the selection process of who would live and die, looking particularly for anyone he considered might be useful for his medical research.

The children would for a while receive sufficient food and drink, and for the twins, it was essential that both stayed alive. If one died, usually due to some experiment initiated by Mengele, then the other would be killed so that there could be a comparable autopsy.

Today, there isn’t much left of this barracks. Like many others on the site, it was only ever a temporary wooden structure and it wasn’t well-built at the time meaning it has since been lost. All that remains now is the bricked area in the centre of the barracks, which was part of a rudimentary and mostly ineffective brick heating duct.