What was the difference between Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Monowitz in Daniel's Story?

In Carol Matas's novel Daniel's Story, Daniel explains that Auschwitz I housed mostly camp administration and some political prisoners. Birkenau (Auschwitz II) contained men's and women's camps, other prison camps, a hospital, the storehouses called “Canada,” the gas chambers, and the crematoria. Monowitz (Auschwitz III) was a labor camp with factories.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Carol Matas's novel Daniel's Story, Daniel and his family are transported from the ghetto in Lodz, Poland, to the concentration camp Auschwitz.

As Daniel explains, Auschwitz was actually made up of three parts. The first, Auschwitz I or Auschwitz proper, was the “main camp” (82). It housed...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In Carol Matas's novel Daniel's Story, Daniel and his family are transported from the ghetto in Lodz, Poland, to the concentration camp Auschwitz.

As Daniel explains, Auschwitz was actually made up of three parts. The first, Auschwitz I or Auschwitz proper, was the “main camp” (82). It housed mostly the German administrators of the camp as well as political prisoners. The SS was garrisoned in this part of the camp, which also contained workshops, political offices, and the labor administration.

Birkenau, or Auschwitz II, which opened in March of 1942, held the horror of horrors at Auschwitz: “the gas chambers and crematoria” (82). Birkenau also housed a men's camp, a women's camp, a quarantine camp (for prisoners arriving from elsewhere), the Theresienstadt camp (a labor and transit camp), the Gypsy camp (Gypsies were considered enemies of the German Reich), a hospital for prisoners, and the “Canada,” storehouses filled with items the Germans had taken from prisoners. About one million people died at Birkenau during the time of its operation.

Monowitz, or Auschwitz III, was a “labor camp” and home to “synthetic-oil and rubber factories” (82). Daniel and his father, with their mechanical and carpentry skills, were sent there to work in a factory.

All three parts of Auschwitz were places of torture for the prisoners forced to live and die there, and die they did. Nearly 1.1 million people died at Auschwitz, many in the gas chambers, others of starvation and disease, still others killed by guards for little or no reason. Those who survived, like Daniel, vowed never to forget.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team