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Polish Tobacco Monopoly

The complex of the Polish Tobacco Monopoly in Oświęcim consists of 4 buildings, erected in 1916-1931.

The first of the buildings was completed in 1916 and was used as a bakery until 1924 when the buildings were taken over by the Polish Tobacco Monopoly. Then it was changed into a warehouse for the goods required for the production of the tobacco. During the war, the Lagerhaus was located in that building - it was a food warehouse for the SS personnel of Auschwitz.

The following three building were part of the so-called Barrack Settlement, which was designed for the immigrants from the Galicia. The biggest of them was erected in 1918-1931 and during the war the SS-Unterkunftsgebaude was located there. In 1916-1917, the third warehouse was built – it was known as SS-Stabsgebaude during the war, and houses the offices of the camp administration, the living quarters of the female SS guards, warehouses and the SS laundry. The fourth building was completed in the same period of time, and the Nazis set up the SS TWL-HWL storages there – it was used as the storing, service and the residential base of the SS troops.

The first prisoners of Auschwitz were houses in the SS-Stabsgebaude as they were deported to the camp on 14th June 1940. They were unloaded on the railway siding adjacent to the Polish Tobacco Monopoly (which was built in 1931). The registration process took place outside of the building, and then the prisoners were divided into two blocks and were taken to two rooms located on the first floor. The next prisoners were also put in that building. A couple of weeks later they were all moved to Auschwitz I.

Many of the former Auschwitz prisoners refer to the buildings of the former Polish Tobacco Monopoly as the first Auschwitz camp.

Map showing the location of the Polish Tobacco Monopoly
Map showing the location of the Polish Tobacco Monopoly
Map designed by Michael Challoner ©
The former Polish Tobacco Monopoly as it looks today
The former Polish Tobacco Monopoly as it looks today
Photo by Michael Challoner ©


Information about sources we used while researching the industrial zones of Auschwitz you can find here.