|Monowitz (also called Monowice or Auschwitz III) is a subcamp or one of the three main camps of Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. It was established in October 1942 in Poland. |
Monowitz was primarily a labour camp, though with a strong extermination component. It held approximately 12000 prisoners, the great majority of whom were Jewish, but also carried non-Jewish criminals and political prisoners (who were generally given easier work). Monowitz prisoners labored at the attached Buna synthetic rubber factory, run by civilians from IG Farben Company with the cooperation of the SS. The factory was to be entirely built and operated by the prisoners, who were provided with the strict minimum of tools, food and shelter. Death from exhaustion or starvation within a few months was the norm, but there was a constant flow of fresh laborers.
Monowitz was the only subcamp of Auschwitz to be bombed by the Allies, since the Buna factory presented a military target. Due to these 1944 bombings Buna's construction was not completed and not a single pound of rubber was ever produced.
Monowitz eventually became the largest labor camp operating in Auschwitz. The IG Farben company invested more than 700 million Reichmarks (which was about 1.4 billion U.S. dollars during 1942) in Monowitz.