This greyscale image depicts a modernised SS watchtower or (guard tower) with an air-raid bunker and an electrified fence at Auschwitz I labour camp, Stanisławy Leszczyńskiej 11, 32-600 Oświęcim, Poland.
Electric fences secured the entire camp making it virtually impossible for POWs to escape.
This specific watchtower (with wooden slats, roof and windows) replaced most of the older towers that were not weather protected, as seen in this image.
The modernised watchtowers provided guards with a better viewing advantage over the camp. They came equipped with two floors (one up and one down) and could sleep 2-4 SS patrolmen.
Initially, the watchtowers with a simple structure were erected around the fence in Auschwitz – four wooden piles supported the observation platform surrounded by a railing and covered roof. Two SS men were usually on duty at night: one operated the searchlight and the other a machine gun.
Towards the end of 1943, they began to replace them with new ones, fully planked and equipped with windows. They were made by German companies and delivered to the camp by rail in prefabricated form. They were completed in the spring of 1944. The larger towers measured 4.5 x 4.5 m at their base and were 11.6 m high.
Several air-raid shelters with concrete vaults covered with bricks and a soil layer were built next to the towers. If the fence was destroyed during an air raid and the prisoners attempted to escape, the guards hidden inside could open fire at them.
Image size: 3992×2752
File size: 3.8MB
Bit: 24 bit
Property/model release: No
Edited: Yes. Adobe Lightroom CC
Location: Auschwitz I, Poland.
Year took: 2020
Copyright owner: J. J. Williamson