The Third Reich sought the removal of the Jews from Germany and eventually from the world. This removal came in two forms, first through emigration, then through extermination. In David Engel’s The Holocaust: The Third Reich and the Jews, he rationalizes that the annihilation of the Jews by the Germans was a result of how Jews were viewed by the leaders of the Third Reich-- as pathogens that threatened to destroy all humanity. By eliminating the existence of the Jews, the Third Reich believed that it would save the entire world from mortal danger. Through documents such as Franzi Epsteins’s, “Inside Auschwitz-A Memoir,” in The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History by Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, one is able to see the struggle of the Jews from a first-hand account. Also, through Rudolf Hoess’s “Commandant of Auschwitz,” one is able to see the perspective of a commandant in Auschwitz. In Auschwitz: A History, Sybille Steinbacher effectively describes the concentration camp of Auschwitz, while Hermann Langbein’s People in Auschwitz reflects on Rudolf Hoess’s power and control in Auschwitz as commandant. Through these four texts, one is able to see the effects that the Third Reich’s Final Solution had on the Jews and the commandants.
Epstein shows the process that the majority of Jews were being put through, such as the medical examinations, medical experimentations, gas chambers and crematoriums. Medical examinations were used to determine if the Jews were healthy enough to work. Dr. Mengele used the Jews as “lab rats” and performed many experiments such as a myriad of drug testing and different surgeries. The gas chamber was a room where Jews were poisoned to death with a preparation of prussic acid, called Cyclon B, which was used in camps as an insecticide. The crematorium was a large stove, where naked bodies were burned to death.
In Auschwitz: A History, Sybille Steinbacher outlines the journey of the Jews as prisoners in Auschwitz. Before the Jews were being systematically murdered through gas chambers, medical experimentations, and crematoriums, the Jews were dying of hunger, harassment, and intolerable working conditions. The Jews were transported in trucks from the ghettos into concentration camps, such as Auschwitz. Upon arrival in Auschwitz, the Jews were registered and assigned a number, which replaced his or her name. After the number was assigned to each prisoner, each prisoner had to undress, have their heads and bodies shaved, and were beaten toward the showers. They were given a striped suit to wear and had their photo taken “in police style.” These prisoners worked 10 hours a day, first in the construction of the camp, and later for German industrial companies. Besides the laborious everyday activities, the Jews were faced with penalties for offenses.
Steinbacher says that these offenses included having “a missing button, an unsuitable facial expression or a sloppily washed food bowl” and were subject to...