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The Evolution Of Auschwitz Essay

1742 words - 7 pages

A Polish prisoner in Auschwitz, Pavel Stemin, stated, “Death, death, death. Death at night, death in the morning, death in the afternoon. Death. We lived with death. How could a human feel?” (“The History”). Contraction camps played a huge role in the Nazi’s plan to slaughter the Jewish people, and throughout the holocaust they succeeded in killing approximately two-thirds of the Jews in Europe (“Concentration Camp”). It’s been estimated that 1.1 million to 1.5 million people were murdered at the Nazi concentration camp called Auschwitz (“1945: Liberated”). Over time Auschwitz evolved into a horrific place of torture and injustice and became a destination of mass murder and inhumane treatments.
It all began on April 27, 1940 near Oswiecim, Poland when Heinrich Himmler ordered the camp’s construction (“Encyclopedia”). Later, Rudolf Höss, the posted commander, and additional SS men arrived at what was then the town’s deserted army barracks (“AUSCHWITZ”). Originally, Auschwitz was not designed to be a death camp, but merely meant to restrict and persecute the Polish descendants, who were considered to be a threat (“The History”). The first mass transport consisted of 728 Poles, who came as political prisoners accused of either enmity to Germans, participation in resistance, helping Jews, spreading propaganda, and/or other acts of rebellion towards the German government (“AUSCHWITZ”). The site was initially created to accommodate for only ten-thousand people, but as the intake of prisoners grew, it was forced to expand (“The History”). Exceeding its limits, Auschwitz developed into a whole complex of death camps with three main camps and forty-five sub-camps (“AUSCHWITZ”). The original camp, known as Auschwitz I, housed prisoners as well as the Nazi staff, and was where “Arbeit Macht Frei,” the infamous slogan affirming prisoners that “Work Makes One Free,” was inscribed on its gate. Auschwitz II (or Birkenau) was 1.9 miles from the first camp, completed in 1942, and became the real killing center of the camps. The final central camp was Buna-Monowitz, which was also known as Auschwitz III (“Concentration Camp”). As the location changed, so did its purpose. The Germans believed that the right time had come to exterminate all the remaining Jews; this was known as the “Final Solution” (“AUSCHWITZ”). Therefore, no longer did the camp mainly consist of Soviet prisoners of war, but now the Jews were central to the future of Auschwitz, and by the summer of 1942 it succeeded in killing thousands of them. Throughout that year, about two-hundred thousand Jews were sent here from across Europe and approximately seventy percent of them were murdered on their arrival (“The History”). Jews, Gypsies, criminals, and prisoners of war would be jam-packed into cattle cars and shipped to the camp (“Concentration Camp”). They would stop at Auschwitz II, and be forced out onto the railway platform known as “the Ramp”, being commanded to leave all personal belonging on...

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