The History Of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Submitted By Yellowflower12
Words: 859
Pages: 4

Guarded walls, barbed wire, soldiers standing at every corner, gas chambers, voices screaming, all took place in many camps by the Nazi genocide. Many remember these tragic times that took place from 1933 to 1945. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the most well known of the six concentration camps, whose goal was to eradicate the entire Jewish race. As the Nazi regime spread across Europe taking prisoners, most of them Polish Jews were beat, starved and burned alive. This camp was known as an extermination camp. It all started in April 1940; Rudolph Hess, who was the first commandant, selected Silesian town of Oswieem as a possible camp site. In May 1940, Poles were dismissed from the vicinity of the barracks. Some were executed and 300 Jews were forced to work service. By March 1st, 1941, the camp population increased to 10,900. The camp was renowned for the torture and mass murder. Himmler visited Auschwitz in March 1941 and demanded to make the camp larger so that it could hold 30,000 prisoners. In the center of Europe, there were convenient transportation connections which made deporting people easier. (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/31)

Auschwitz, or as others like to call it, “the torture center” was surrounded by electrical barbed wire fences which were guarded by the SS soldiers with machine guns and rifles. In March 1942, trains began to arrive daily, filled with Jews coming from the ghetto of Eastern Europe and Southern Europe. They traveled in cattle cars like animals. The journey took days without toilets and nothing to eat or drink. Upon arrival they would typically get sent to the gas chambers which contained Zyklon-B poison gas. Their heads were shaved, they were stripped of everything, and they were given striped uniforms and had no change of clothes. Their personal identities were taken and had numbers tattooed to their arms which took place of their names. As Viktor Frankl described in the book Man’s Search for Meaning (page 9) he talks about how he lost all feeling and would just watch people die before his eyes and did not even care. Food was treasured because they were given very little and the soldiers had no mercy whatsoever. “I was horrified, but this was just as well, because step by step we had to become accustomed to a terrible and immense horror” Even though such horrible things were happening to him and to those around him; he did nothing to fight it. He accepted his fate and lost all hope. The Jewish race felt inferior compared to the Aryans, neglected because of who they were. They felt that they did not belong, that they were beneath them. The lack of respect that they received and the hate that was shown to them caused the Jews to give up on everything that was worth fighting for; they disappeared into their sadness and grief. For a certain amount of time these children enjoyed certain privileges. They were allowed to live with their loved ones, went to a so-called Kindergarten (orders from the head SS physician Dr Mengele) and received slightly better food. The kindergarten was like a day-care and had a playground set with a carousel, sandbox, and swings. Dr. Mengele would experiment…