German concentration and extermination camps established in Poland were a part of the holocaust, the brutal policy of terror and germanization of Poland after the German invasion on 1 September 1939 to Poland and subsequent occupation of Poland by the Nazi Germany supported by the Stalinist Soviet Union. German occupants introduced mass executions, several thousands of Polish were forced to leave their homes. The Jewish minority in Poland was treated even worse. The Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp was established in summer 1940 as a sub-camp of the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. It was made autonomous in May 1941. The Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp was located near a granite quarry, where the prisoners would work under inhuman conditions. Later, the Gross-Rosen was the main administrative center for several smaller concentration camps. Most of the prisoners in the Gross-Rosen, approximately 50 000 of them, were the Jews transported from concentration camps in Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald. They were deported mostly from Poland and Hungary, and from Belgium, France, Netherlands, Greece, Yugoslavia, Slovakia and Italy. Some of the prisoners were arrested and sent to the concentration camp on order by Adolf Hitler, "Nacht und Nebel" (German for "Night and Fog") , resulting in the kidnapping of political activists and people found guilty of endangering the "security" in the middle of the night (Nacht) , who subsequently vanished into the "fog" (Nebel) within the German Third Empire.
According to the available data, the total number of prisoners who went through the camp is estimated to have been 125 000. One third died of the effects of the atrocious treatment during the transport, right in the camp or in the quarry. Political and Jewish prisoners were exposed to extreme brutality from the SS soldiers and German civilians who worked in the quarry. The conditions in the Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp were even more cruel than in other camps. Laborious work in the quarry, starvation, absence of hygiene and medical care resulted in extremely high death rate. In 1942 the prisoners usually did not survive more than 2 months in the camp. The Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp was a training centre for approximately 500 female SS soldiers. "Properly qualified", they were sent to work in the sub-camps, e.g. to Brunlitz, which is the place where the Jews saved by Oskar Schindler were hidden. In 1945, by the end of the war, 100 000 prisoners were being kept in the Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp. Many of them were Jewish women. Before the Nazis withdrew from the Polish territory, they managed to organize one of the worst death marches ever. Nearly all the prisoners who had survived the brutal conditions in the camp and the march were moved to other camps, predominantly within the boundaries of Germany . The majority of people died in those camps afterwards. After the liberation in February 1945 only a few people were found alive within the premises of the Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp.