1940 April 27, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
Under Himmler's orders, work began on Auschwitz. The first and smallest camp was used for German criminals. Later it was used for Polish prisoners as well. It only began taking in massive numbers of Jews in March 1942. Auschwitz was to become the main killing center for European Jewry. In May, its first commandant, Rudolf Hoess, was appointed. He eventually constructed the camp at Birkenau and developed an assembly line system for murder. At its peak, Auschwitz was able to "process" 10,000 people in 24 hours. Hoess was later captured by the British and hung on April 16, 1947 on the one-person gallows outside the entrance to the gas chamber.