The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
A considerable part of the industrial program for the Auschwitz region was actually implemented, because this was essential to the war effort. On the other hand, the more “esthetic” development of the concentration camp and the SS colony was not realized, halted by the extermination of the Jews and relegated to the lowest of the economic priorities of the moment. Despite the lack of written documents, the overall picture of the SS colonisation of Oswiecim can be clearly seen thanks to the remaining drawings [see documents]. In order to translate their view of the world, the SS in fact preferred plans and drawings to written documents. The size and importance of the “Bauleitungen” and their drawing offices is eloquent in this regard. Drawings made it possible to represent their ideas in concrete form, providing precise representations comprehensible to all, whereas written documents, even very detailed, still leave room for personal interpretation and a certain fuzziness and can never produce results as clear and reproducible as drawings.

Knowing what the SS planned for the Auschwitz region, one may ask:
1. Whether it would have been materially possible to realize the projects, in particular the buildings for the SS and the organization of the whole town on the lines of a luxurious barracks. If the war had turned in favour of the Axis powers in 1942 and been won quickly, the buildings could have been constructed and finished at the price of stepping up the concentration camp system, but using the prison labour more “sparingly”, which would have meant the end of the earlier system of a “three months of slave labor and afterwards the chimney!” Initially. Hoess, the first Camp Commandant of Auschwitz was very much in favour of this solution (no doubt mainly on the grounds of efficiency), but his efforts were in vain first of all because the other SS did not see it his way, having instituted a system of ill-treating the prisoners, and then because it became impracticable because of the senseless orders he received and the pressure of the general situation.
2. What social progress did the SS offer with their model colony? The answer is disquieting: a return to the social order of a thousand years ago, through the establishment of a neo-feudal society with an SS aristocracy, new knights in shining (motorized) armour, reigning over their serfs: prisoners and others of lowly status. The stresses engendered by such a society would be so strong that they would sooner or later have become explosive. Modern day “peasant revolts” would have broken out, and the system, always in a state of latent crisis, would have broken down, undermined from within. The SS vision of the future was simply utopian.
Other attempts have been made to analyze what would have happened to a Germany that had won the Second World War, and in these the position of the SS would have been dominant. Albert Speer outlines the prospects in his “Der Sklavenstaat” (The slave state]. The “colonization” of the east, defined essentially as a programme of major works and huge constructions, would have cost the lives, according to Speer’s calculations, of 29 million prisoners, being literally worked to death in “SS construction brigades”, each made up of 4.800 men in 24 companies. These men would have been supplied by the concentration camps. The “Ostraum / Eastern area” would have become a colonization area, criss-crossed by motorways, with towns of 15 to 20,000 people located at the major intersections, surrounded by a purely

Document 13
Document 13:
[PMO neg. no. 20589]
Gemeinnchafthaus der NSDAP Auschwitz für die Bereitschafts-Siedlung dar IG Farbenind. /
Auschwitz NSDAP / [Nazi Party] community center for the IG Farbenindustrie workers' district
Blatt Nr. VI/Sheet No VI J
Auschwitz 4/10/41
The Architect (unknown signature)