Standing cells inside Block 11

Entrance to standing cell through tiny door

The 1998 photograph above shows the reconstructed entrance to one of the 4 standing cells (Stehzellen) in prison cell #22 in the basement of Block 11. These 4 cells were 31.5 inches square; there was no light coming in at all, and no heating or cooling system.

Prisoners had to crawl into the cell through a tiny door, as shown in the photo above. Metal bars at the entrance allowed guards to open the door and look inside the cell. There was no room to lie down or sit down in the cell; prisoners had to stand up. The floors of these cells were covered with excrement left by the occupants.

Prisoners who were being punished were put into these cells at night, and in the morning taken out to perform a full 10-hour day of work. This punishment was usually given to prisoners who had tried to sabotage the work done in the factories at Auschwitz.

The reconstructed door, which is shown in the picture above, opens into Cell #2; there is another cell to the right of the door, which you can see in the photo. To the left in the picture above, you can see the edge of the door into Cell #1 on the left, which gives you an idea of how small these cells were. Imagine the problem of removing a dead body from one of these cells!

After Arthur Liebehenschel replaced Rudolf Hoess as the camp commandant on December 1, 1943, he ordered the standing cells to be torn down. The standing cells have been partially reconstructed, as the picture below shows.

Standing cell with wall cut away so visitors can see inside

The photograph below shows a window with bars on it, on the outside wall of Block 11, and just below the window there is a small black metal box which looks something like a mail box. There were tiny holes punched into the top of this box to let a little bit of air into the 4 standing cells which were behind this wall in the basement. During the winter when snow covered these holes, the prisoners suffocated. Old pictures taken when the camp was in operation show that there were several of these boxes, but there is only one there now.

Air vent for basement prison cells

Each Stehzelle (standing cell) was used for third degree punishment, which consisted of 3 days in a dark cell without room to lie down or sit. The standing cells were about the size of a phone booth and had no windows.

A description of the standing cells in Block 11 can be found in the book entitled "Das Bunkerbuch des Blocks 11, im Nazi-Konzentrationslager Auschwitz," written by Franciszek Brol, Gerard Wloch, and Jan Pilecki, Hefte von Auschwitz (prisoners from Auschwitz), which was published in 1959. On page 120 of this book is a "Plan of the Bunker of Block 11 redrawn after the original plan No. 1152 of March 16, 1942." On this plan, the four Stehzellen in Cell 22 are marked out and numbered 1-4.

The Black Wall

Kitchen & other buildings in Auschwitz I

Barracks Buildings in Auschwitz 1

Old Sentry Box and camp kitchen

Commandant's house & old theater

Gas Chamber

Introduction to Auschwitz I

Entrance to Auschwitz I

Inside the Visitor's Center

Exit from the Visitor's Center

Entrance through "Arbeit Macht Frei" Gate

Auschwitz Museum Exhibits

Swimming Pool

Block 11 - the camp prison

Prison Cells Inside Block 11

Back to Photo Gallery 2


This page was last updated on January 22, 2010