The huge industrial sector located at Auschwitz-III, also known as "Monowitz" after the largest of its affiliated camps, was established during the autumn of 1942. A year later, the SS decreed that Monowitz, like Birkenau, would become an independent concentration camp although another 12 months later on, Birkenau was reunified with Auschwitz-I whilst Auschwitz-III was renamed Monowitz. The Kommandant of Auschwitz-I was considered the senior officer for all three camps, with central control of all three camps also being located at the Stammlager (main camp, Auschwitz-I). Heinrich Schwarz held the position of Monowitz Kommandant from late 1943 until January 1945, having earlier served as adjutant to Kommandant Rudolf Höss at the main camp. A former book printer from München, Schwarz served at both Mauthausen and Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg before moving to Auschwitz during 1941. Later, overlooked in favour of Richard Baer for the position of Mittelbau-Dora Kommandant, he was transferred to the Natzweiler-Strutthof camp complex to oversee the evacuation of the prisoners to Dachau in spring 1945. Convicted by French authorities in Rastatt, he was executed by firing squad in March 1947.
Prisoners assigned to Auschwitz-III, also referred to as "Buna", worked at the Buna synthetic rubber works located on the outskirts of Monowice near Oswiecim (Auschwitz). Rubber and fuels were manufactured by the IG Farben enterprise at Monowitz, initially using prisoners transferred from Auschwitz-I and later, once Monowitz was established, by slave labour from its own camps. Sub-camps whose prisoners were deployed within the arms and industrial sectors were also subordinate to Monowitz.
The large industrial sector was surrounded by a number of camps, with Monowitz being the largest. The camp was liberated by Soviet forces in January 1945.
1-3) Views of the IG Farben industrial sector "Buna". The area is vast with many period buildings visible today.
4) SS tower structure - a number of these brick buildings, together with small SS air shelters line the main road that runs alongside the complex. Note the gatepost in the background. This road was also the main route taken by the Soviet forces when they arrived in January 1945.
5) Interior of one of the former SS towers, currently home to several abandoned television sets.