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Block 11 was known as the 'Death Block'. It served several functions, of which the most important was its role as the central camp jail. Male and female prisoners from all parts of the camp complex were held in this building. Most of these people were suspected by the camp Gestapo of involvement in clandestine activities: attempting to escape, organising mutinies, and maintaining contacts with the outside world.
Poles from outside the camp who had been arrested for rendering aid to prisoners were imprisoned here too. Following brutal interrogations, they were in most cases sentenced to death by shooting. In the early years of the camp the Strafkompanie (penal unit) and Erziehungskompnie (re-education unit) were also held in this block. The prisoners of the penal unit, to which almost all the Jewish men and Polish priests held in the camp at that time were sent on arrival, were assigned to the most back-breaking work; most of them died.