Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland (in a portion annexed into Germany in 1939) during World War II and the Holocaust. It consisted of Auschwitz I, the main camp (Stammlager) in Oświęcim; Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a concentration and extermination camp with gas chambers; Auschwitz III-Monowitz, a labor camp for the chemical conglomerate IG Farben; and dozens of sub camps. The camps became a major site of the Nazis' Final Solution to the Jewish Question.
After Germany sparked World War II by invading Poland in September 1939, the Schutzstaffel (SS) converted Auschwitz I, an army barracks, into a prisoner-of-war camp.
The initial transport of political detainees to Auschwitz consisted nearly solely of Poles to whom the camp was initially established. The bulk of inmates were Polish for the first two years.