Joseph Hefner, former student merchant. Joined SS in 1942 as a Sturmmann (Stormtrooper).
Image: Institute of National Remembrance
Following the invasion of Poland by Germany in September 1939, construction began on a complex of camps to house thousands of Polish political prisoners — Auschwitz.
The first prisoners began to arrive in the spring of 1940. The camp rapidly expanded and was repurposed into one of the central points for the concentration and murder of Jews
Before the liberation of the camp by Soviet troops on Jan. 27, 1945, 1.1 million people, 90 percent of them Jewish, died there. They were systematically exterminated in gas chambers or killed by beatings, starvation, exhaustion or disease. Read more…