Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On page 16 and 17 of the book that I started reading this afternoon ( Sybille Steinbacher, Auschwitz: A History ( London: Penguin Books, 2005; translation of Auschwitz: Geschichte und Nachgeschichte, Munich: Beck Verlag, 2004 ) I learnt an interesting detail that I had read before but somehow never really paid attention to:
" [...] on 26 October 1939, when the regulation concerning the establishment of the new border of the German Reich, drawn up by the Border Commission within the Reich Ministry of the Interior, came into effect was the decision finally made: Auschwitz was part of Upper Silesia, and thus of the German Reich. [...] The annexation of western Poland had an immediate effect on Auschwitz: the town was part of the German Reich - and did not, as is often suggested, lie in the geographically nebulous East. In other words: the largest extermination site in the Third Reich was ( like Chelmno extermination camp in the Warthegau ) on German soil..."

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