Phoebe Anderson



Auschwitz

external image auschwitz.jpg external image auschwitz-birkenau.gif


Auschwitz camp can be dated to early 1940's, when the SS sent a commission to the Polish town of Oswiecim (German: Auschwitz) to determine if a set of barracks that had been constructed during WWI, and was previously used by the Polish military, could be used as a concentration camp.
The camp was appointed by Adolf Hitlers Reichsfurer-SS Heinrich Himmler that who also introduced the “Final Solution.” The name "Auschwitz" was made the official name of the work camps by the Germans after they invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. It was the largest of the German concentration camps. Auschwitz concentration and death camp had three seperate quarters all with different purposes, connected as a network of camps: Auschwitz I, the base camp Auschwitz II– the extermination camp, Auschwitz III– a labor camp and 45 satellite camps. This was known by Germany's Minister of the Interior as a place of "final solution of the Jewish question in Europe". Transported and delivered by trains, Jewish, Romas, Poles, and soviet soldiers were delivered to the camps, where they would either be put into gas chambers or work within the camps as labourers from all over Nazi-occupied Europe. The previous owners of the houses around the town were expelled from their houses, and their houses were demolished.

From the period of January to December 1941 it is indicative that excluding soviet prisoners of war, 16,710 prisoners were registered in Auschwitz, of which only 1,055 were Jewish peoples. Of the people stowed in Auschwitz, Jewish prisoners suffered the worst of treatment, during registration and in the course of the penal physical exercises called sport.

At least 1.1 million people including more than 200 thousand children and young people, were killed in the gas chambers immediately or soon after arrival. This camp was considered the Jewish peoples last stop.
  • 1.3million died because of German treatment
  • 90% were Jewish
  • 150,000 Polish
  • 23,000 Roma/Sinti
  • 15,000 Soviet prisioners
  • 400 Jehovas witnesses
  • And many other nationalities were put to death.

Those that were not killed in the gas chambers died of many causes including starvation, labour, sickness, executions, or medical experimentation. Many medical experimentations were done on identical twins. These experiments were done through numerous types of torture, for example cutting off limbs, injecting poison into their hearts, or worse, seeing how long a child could last in cold water without dying.



On January 27, 1945 only 7,500 prisoners were liberated from Auschwitz by the soviet army.


The Parts of Auschwitz:

Auschwitz I ( The base camp)
Consisting of 28 buildings each two stories tall, a main kitchen, housing for the staff, a "prison within a prison" block 11, and two gas chambers or crematoriums.

Block 11 was a prison within a prison (the bottom floor contained jail cells) where they would prisoners who disobeyed rules were payed for it. Some prisoners spend nights in a cell of 16sq ft with 3 others, standing all night, and then expected to work the next day. There were also "starvation cells"; prisoners, here were not given food and water until they died. "Dark cells"; had only a small hole and a solid door, slowly the victim would suffocate as they withdrew all of the oxygen in the cell; on occasion the SS would light candles in order to make the victim die faster, by the candle using up the oxygen.

Auschwitz II (Birkenau)
The largest of all Auschwitz camps, 90% of its prisoners died, so approximately 1 million did die in this one location, 9/10 of these people were jewish. The rechid thing about this is that the Nazis forced the Soviet prisoners of war, to build this horrible place before most likely killing them. Numerous gas chambers were designed for this specific camp, and many died right upon arrival.

They built a total of just about 300 housing buildings, which went on for 13 km.16 km of drainage ditches and of barbed-wire fencing. more than 10 km, of roads within Birkenau and two provisional gas chambers, known as bunkers 1 and 2.The construction of a complex of four gigantic gas chambers and crematoria. The Germans wanted 1.6 million people a year to be killed and burned there.

During the spring and winter, prisoners would be knee deep in mud because it was all farm land, and the land was a plateau which meant freezing winters with no protection with temperatures less than -40 celcius. Bathrooms were also in horrible shape, because the typhoid fever was very common, so many did not bother to use the washrooms because of the fear of getting sick. The bathrooms also did not have the capacity to facilitate all of the men and women within the camp, so there would be 5-6 people on one "toilet" or cement hole. "Beds" were layered in three rows, prisoners wanted the top bed, because many were sick with diarrhea, and the top layer would drop amongst the bottom layer as they slept.


Aushwitz III (Monowitz)
Finally, the headquarter of the industrial camps, to build its third large plant for synthetic rubber and liquid fuels.
The prisoners had to walk from the camp 6 to 7 km to the labour factory. At the end of July, the labor detail, now numbering about a thousand, began taking the train to Dwory station. They had to do hard physical labor: leveling the ground, digging drainage ditches, laying cables, and building roads.
The life expectancy of Jewish workers was three to four months; for those working in the outlying mines, only one month. Those that weren't able to work were gassed at Birkenau.


Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005189
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