The date of 14 June 1940 is considered to be the beginning of the German extermination camp at Auschwitz.
In the first transport, a large group of prisoners consisted of people who tried to get through to the Polish Armed Forces that were being formed in France. They received camp numbers 31 to 758. Along with them, organisers of the transfers also found their way to Auschwitz.
Some prisoners were arrested during Operation AB, the so-called Extraordinary Pacification Aktion, which the Germans carried out in the General Government in 1940. There were also people arrested during round-ups, activists from political, underground and social organizations, civil servants, scouts, high school graduates and other representatives of the Polish intelligentsia. On 14 June 1940, a small group of Polish Jews were also brought to Auschwitz.
During a roll call from the deputy camp commandant SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch, the prisoners heard: “You have come here not to a sanatorium, but to a German concentration camp, from which there is no other way out but through the chimney. If anyone doesn’t like it, they can go straight to the wires. If there are Jews in the transport, they are allowed to live no longer than two weeks, priests a month, the rest three months.”
239 people from the first transport survived the hell of Auschwitz. Some were released after a dozen months, others were there for more than four years.