The Holocaust And Aushwitz Essay Research Paper

The Holocaust And Aushwitz Essay, Research Paper

The Holocaust and Aushwitz

Essay submitted by Anonymous


The Holocaust is the most horrifying crime against humanity of all times. “Hitler, in an

attempt to establish the pure Aryan race, decided that all mentally ill, gypsies, non

supporters of Nazism, and Jews were to be eliminated from the German population.He

proceeded to reach his goal in a systematic scheme.” One of his main methods of

“doing away” with these “undesirable” was through the use of concentration camps. “In

January 1941, in a meeting with his top officials the ‘final solution’ was decided”. Jews

were to be eliminated from the population. Auschwitz was the concentration camp that

carried out Hitler’s “final solution” in greater numbers than any other. In this paper I will

discuss concentration camps with a detailed description of the most well-known one,



The first concentration camps were set up in 1933. In the early days of Hitler,

concentration camps were places that held people in protective custody. Victims for

protective custody included those who were both physically and mentally ill, gypsies,

homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, Jews and anyone against the Nazi regime. “Gypsies

were classified as people with atleast two gypsy great grandparents.”

By the end of 1933 there were atleast fifty concentration camps throughout occupied

Europe. “At first, the camps were controlled by the Gestapo (police), but by 1934 the

S.S. (Hitler’s personal security force) were ordered, by Hitler, to control the camps.”

Camps were set up for different purposes. Some for forced labor, others for medical

experiments and, later on, for death/ extermination. Transition camps were set up as

holding places for death camps.

“Henrick Himmler, chief of the German police, the Gestapo, thought that the camps

would provide an economic base for the soldiers.” This did not happen. The work force

was poorly organized and working conditions were inhumane. Therefore, productivity

was minimal.

Camps were set up along railroad lines, so that the prisoners would be conveniently

close to their destination. As they were being transported, the soldiers kept telling the

Jews to have hope.

When the camps were finally opened, most of the families who were shipped out

together ended up being separated. Often, the transports were a sampling of what

went on in the camps, cruelty by the officers, near starvation of those being

transported, fetid and unsanitary conditions on the trains. “On the trains, Jews were

starved of food and water for days. Many people did not survive the ride to arrive at

the camp.”

Jews were forced to obey the guard’s orders from the moment they arrived at the

camps. “If they didn’t, they would be beaten, put into solitary confinement or shot.”

The prisoners usually had marks on their clothes or numbers on their arms to identify


The sanitary conditions of the camps were horrible. “There was only one bathroom for

four hundred people. They had to stand for hours in snow, rain, heat, or cold for

role-call, which was twice a day.” Within the first few days of being at the camps,

thousands of people died of hunger, starvation and disease. Other people died from the

cruel punishments of the guards; beatings and torture. “Typhus, a disease caused by

germs carried by flies, was the main disease that spread throughout the camps. Even

when people were sick, they still continued working because they did not see that

sickness meant death.”

In 1937, 7,000 Jews were in camps. By 1938, 10,000 more Jews were sent to camps.

“Jews were taken to camps if they expressed negative feelings about the government,

if they married a non-Jew, if they were sick (mentally or physically), or if they had a

police record.”

When someone escaped from the camp, all the prisoners in that group were shot.

Nazis, who claimed that they did not necessarily hate Jews, but wanted to preserve

the Aryan race, seemed to enjoy making the Jews suffer. They also felt that slavery

was better than killing their prisoners. “Gold fillings, wedding bands, jewelry, shoes and

clothing were taken from the prisoners when they first entered the camps and were


Surrounding some of the camps in Poland was a forest, that the Jews who planned to

escape would flee into. Before the escaped prisoners got very far, they were killed.

“When the Germans caught a Jew planning a rebellion, and the Jew refused to name

his/her associates, the Germans would bring everyone from his/her barracks out and

force him/her to watch the Germans mutilate the others.” The people who could not run

away from the camps dreamt about revolt.

Special areas of a camp were set aside for medical experiments. One doctor in a

medical unit performed an experiment in sterilization. “He injected a substance into

women’s ovaries to sterilize them. The injection resulted in temperature and

inflammation of the ovaries.”

Joseph Mengels, one of the most notorious Nazi doctors, hummed opera tunes when

selecting among the new arrivals the victims for the gas chambers or medical

experiments. His women victims for sterilization were usually 20-30 years of age. “Other

experiments included putting inmates into high pressure chambers to test the effects of

altitude on pilots. Some inmates were frozen to determine the best way to revive

frozen German soldiers.”


“The first death camp, Chelmno, was set up in Poland on December 8, 1941. This was

five weeks before the Wannsee Conference at which time the ‘final solution’ was

planned out.” Usually, the death camps were part of existing camps, but some new

ones were just set up for this purpose. When the prisoners first arrived at the camps,

those sent to the left were transferred to death camps. When Jews entered the death

camps, their suitcases, baby bottles, shawls, and eyeglasses were taken and were


Once in the death camps the prisoners were again divided. Women were sent to one

side to have their hair shaven and the men to the other. “They were all sent to the

showers, naked with a bar of soap, so as to deceive them into believing that they were

truly going into a shower. Most people smelled the burning bodies and knew the truth. ”

There were six death camps; Chelmno, Treblinka, Auschwitz (Birkenau), Sobibor,

Maidanek, and Belzec. These camps used gas from the shower heads to murder their

victims. A seventh death camp, Mauthausen, used a method called “extermination

through labor”.


Auschwitz, located in Poland, was Nazi Germany’s largest concentration camp. It was

established by order of Himmler on April 27, 1940. At first, it was small because it was a

work camp for Polish and Soviet prisoners of war. It became a death camp in 1941.

“Auschwitz was divided into three areas: Auschwitz 1 was the camp commander’s

headquarters and administrative offices. Auschwitz 2 was called Birkenau and it was

the death camp with forty gas chambers. Auschwitz 3 was a slave labor camp.”

“On the gate of Auschwitz was a sign in German which read, ‘Arbeit macht frei’, which

means work makes you free.” Auschwitz included camp sites a few miles away from the

main complex. At these sites, slave labor was used to kill the people. The working

conditions were so poor that death was a sure result. ” In March 26, 1942, Auschwitz

took women prisoners, but after August 16, 1942 the women were housed in Birkenau.”

When the Jews arrived at Auschwitz, they were met with threats and promises. “If they

didn’t do exactly as they were told, they would be beaten, deprived of food, or shot.

From time to time, they would be assured that things would get better.”

The daily meals in Auschwitz consisted of watery soup, distributed once a day, with a

small piece of bread. In addition, they got extra allowance consisting of 3/4 ounce of

margarine, a little piece of cheese or a spoonful of watered jam. Everyone in the camp

was so malnourished that if a drop of soup spilled prisoners would rush from all sides to

see if they could get some of the soup. “Because of the bad sanitary conditions, the

inadequate diet, the hard labor and other torturous conditions in Auschwitz, most

people died after a few months of their arrival.” The few people who managed to stay

alive for longer were the ones who were assigned better jobs.

“The prisoners slept on three shelves of wooden slabs with six of these units to each

tier. They had to stand for hours in the wet and mud during role call, which was twice

a day. Some people thought the reason hundreds of people died, daily, was because

when it rained they lay with wet clothes in their bunks.”

In place of toilets, there were wooden boards with round holes and underneath them

concretes troughs. Two or three hundred people could sit on them at once. While they

were on these troughs they were watched in order to assure that they did not stay too

long. “There was no toilet paper, so the prisoners used linings of jackets. If they didn’t

have they might steal from someone else.” The smells were horrible because there

wasn’t enough water to clean the Latrine, the so called bathrooms.

When people were loaded onto trains to be taken to the gas chambers, they were told

that they were being “resettled” in labor camps. This was one of the many lies told. It

was impossible for the Jews to make out which building was the gas chambers because

they looked presentable from the outside, just like any other building. Over the gas

chambers were well kept lawns with flowers bordering them. When the Jews were being

taken to the gas chambers, they thought they were being taken to the baths. “While

people were waiting for them ‘baths’, a group of women prisoners, dressed in navy

skirts and white shirts, played very delightful music.”

“In Auschwitz, Jews were killed by something called Lykon B. It was hydrogen cyanide

which was poured through the ceiling of the gas chambers and turned into gas. The

S.S. commanders of Auschwitz preferred Lykon B. because it worked fast.”

At first, there were five gas chambers in Auschwitz, the procedure for gassing was as

follows : “About 900 people were gassed at a time. First they undressed in a nearby

room. Then, they were told to go into another room to be deloused, They filled the gas

chambers like packed like sardines. After a few minutes of horrible suffering, the victims

died. The bodies were then transported to ovens where they were burned.” The gas

chambers were not large enough to execute great numbers at a time, so crematoria

were built. The crematoria would burn 2,000 bodies in less than 24 hours. An elevator

would take them from the dressing room to the crematoria. “It took 30 minutes to kill

2,500 victims, but close to 24 hours to burn the bodies.”

Many Jews and non – Jews tried to escape from Auschwitz. Some succeeded. Of

course they wanted to inform the world of what was going on. Those who escaped

wrote descriptions of the horrors they suffered. Information spread to many countries,

yet no countries seemed to do anything to help the situation. In fact, as the war

progressed, the number of prisoners increased. “In total, between 1.5 and 3.5 million

Jews were murdered at Auschwitz between the years 1940 and 1945.” Where were our

brothers in America when millions of Jews died?


The Nazis, under Hitler, organized the destruction of the Jews. Why they did it is

unknown. Perhaps it was because of a history of tension between the Christians and

Jews, or perhaps, because Hitler needed a scapegoat for Germany’s problems.

People throughout history have been murdered; but never as many people as during the

Holocaust in such a short period of time.1/3 of all the Jews in the world were

eliminated. “The estimated total is somewhere around six million. This number included

Jews from all over Europe. There were also 500,000 non- Jews murdered.”

Hitler’s method of killing the jews and other undesirable people was first by torture and

then by plain murder. In the early days of his leadership, he took away their rights as

citizens and then as people. They were treated like slaves and lived like animals. After

1942, his goal was to exterminate all Jewish and “unpure” people. Many Jews were killed

before that date, but they were a small number compared to the mass murdering of the


” We Must Never Forget ” are the words that every Jew must remember. By not

forgetting, we are preventing another holocaust from occurring. We are also letting the

entire world know and remember the millions of loved ones lost in the horrible killing that

we call the holocaust.


Bauer, Yehuda. A History of the Holocaust. New York: Franklin Watts, 1982.

Chartock, Roselle. The Holocaust Years: Society on Trial. New York: Anti-Defamation

League of Bnai Brith, 1978.

Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust – A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second

World War. New York: Holt, Reinhardt & Winston, 1985.

Meltzer, Milton. Never to Forget the Jews of the Holocaust. New York: Harper & Row,


Rossel, Seymour. The Holocaust. New York: Franklin Watts, 1981.

“Concentration Camps”, Encyclopedia Judaica. 1972 ed., Keter Publishers.

“Concentration Camp Conditions Reported Worse”, New York Times, (March 7, 1940),

page 8.

“It Happened to Me”, Sassy, (May 1991), page 24.


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