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Auschwitz KZ (Poland)

Oswiecim, WWII

Last modified: 2011-05-07 by andrew weeks
Keywords: poland | auschwitz | death camp |
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[Auschwitz I death camp flag] by Jarig Bakker, 5 Jun 2002 See also:

Auschwitz I death camp flag

This flag is  hoisted above the "death-wall" at Auschwitz I death camp. Auschwitz I was used also for Political Prisoners while Auschwitz II (Birkenau) is the infamous "death factory"
The flag is an upside down red triangle (representing political prisoner) on light blue - white stripes representing the prisoners "uniforms".
Dov Gutterman, 22 Mar 2002

The red triangle stand for the political prisioners (red for communists, perhaps also for anarchists, what about dissident nazis?). Other known sysmbols were the yellow (solid?) six-pointed star for Jews, pink triangle for (male only?) homossexuals, and (something black?) for common criminals. What about Gypsies and Slavs? Were or are any of these other symbols used in flags?
António Martins-Tuválkin, 10 Jun 2002

I once saw a chart of sorts- I think it was in Time Magazine- which also showed purple for Jehovah's Witnesses, and some others, I think. There were also combinations- a colored triangle combined with a yellow one to form a Star of David, say, pink for Jewish homosexuals, etc.
I don't know how much of this is a Nazi regulation never actually practiced, or even simply made up. To me, it sounds too "neat" to be real, considering what was going on here (mass murder, made even worse, if possible, by the inhuman conditions of the camps). Recall also that there were numerous Jewish symbols. In much of Poland, for example, Jews wore white armbands with blue stars. There were plain yellow bands, different colored and sized stars, and so on. These would be in ghettos or pre-deportation. I don't know if they were "standardized" when they were placed in camps, or, indeed, if anything was (uniforms, etc.)- whether stars were worn at all, what happened when uniforms wore out, and so on.
Then again, the Nazis did have a certain mania for order- note how large the Third Reich section is on FOTW, and that's flags alone. I wouldn't be surprised if regulations, at least, existed for just about everything. That said, when killing millions of people, usually at once, I doubt such things were regularly practiced.
Nathan Lamm, 10 Jun 2002

Oh, yes, it was very meticulously codified. From 1938,Jews in the camps were identified by the yellow star sewn onto their prison uniforms, a perversion of the Jewish Mogen David symbol. Later, the Nazis required Jews to wear the yellow star not only in the camps but throughout most of occupied Europe. After 1939 and with some minor variation from camp to camp, the categories of prisoners were easily identified by the marking system combining a colored inverted triangle with lettering. The badges sewn onto prisoner uniforms enabled SS guards to identify the alleged grounds for incarceration. Criminals were marked with green inverted triangles, political prisoners (not only communists)with red, "asocials" (including Roma, nonconformists, vagrants, and other groups) with black or - in case of Roma in some camps - brown triangles. Homosexuals
were identified with pink triangles and Jehovah's Witnesses with purple ones. Non-German prisoners were additionally
identified by the first letter of the German name for their home country, which was sewn onto their badge. In some camps, a Jewish political prisoner would be further identified with a yellow triangle beneath a red triangle.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 10 Jun 2002