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Auschwitz Essay

963 words - 4 pages

Auschwitz

Auschwitz was one of the most infamous and largest concentration camp known during World War II. It was located in the southwestern part of Poland commanded by Rudolf Höss. Auschwitz was first opened on June 14, 1940, much later than most of the other camps. It was in Auschwitz that the lives of so many were taken by methods of the gas chamber, crematoriums, and even from starvation and disease. These methods took "several hundreds and sometimes more than a thousand" lives a day. The majority of the lives killed were those of Jews although Gypsies, Yugoslavs, Poles, and many others of different ethnic backgrounds as well. The things most known about Auschwitz are the process people went through when entering the camp and throughout their time there, the conditions at the camp, and the experiments performed by Dr. Josef Mengele.

In the concentration camp, Auschwitz, there was an elaborate process that the people went through when they arrived. Freight cars filled with people arrived daily in the camp. From that point the people were ordered to unload any of their belongings that they brought with them. At that point they are immediately told to line up to go through the first selection. Those were old or unfit to work, such as children, were automatically sent to the gas chambers. The others were then tattooed with a specific identification numbers, had their hair cut off, and were given prisoner uniforms to work in. These who passed the first selection then were forced to perform excruciating labor jobs. Each morning and afternoon a roll call was held and yet another selection was made. The SS, German soldiers and doctors, would make the prisoner’s strip from their clothes in order to make a full examination of the health. Once again all the weak, frail, and dying were sent to the gas chambers. The Nazi’s would sometimes make those who were going to die believe that they were not. For example, they sometimes would hand the prisoners a bar of soap so they would think that were actually going to take a shower. Usually in this case they were just led to the gas chambers. In these gas chambers, a form of Zyklon B was dropped in there, and once it made contact with air it changed to the gas form. After this, the bodies of the dead were taken to the crematoriums. Jewish prisoners were given the jobs of transferring the deceased bodies to the crematoriums. Every day many died. Almost one million people were killed in Auschwitz alone.

The conditions of the camp were unbearable. The prisoners were barely fed, mainly bread and water, and were cramped in small sleeping arrangements. "Hundreds slept in triple-tiered rows of bunks (Adler 51)." In the quarters that they stayed, there were no adequate cleaning facilities or restrooms for the prisoners. They rarely were able to change clothes which...

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