Auschwitz Concentration Camp – Terrible

Posted in Europe | March 29, 2010 | 0 Comments


Auschwitz refers to a group of concentration and execution camps that were made in the captured Poland by the Nazis at the time of the Second World War. The name Auschwitz was given by the Germans to replace its former name as Oświęcim, which was the town renamed after the invasion of Poland in September 1939. Regarded as among the largest German concentration camps, it comprised of Auschwitz I (main camp); Auschwitz II-Birkenau (execution camp); Auschwitz III-Monowitz, a labor camp; and 45 satellite camps.

Between 1942 until 1944, the Jews of the Nazi Europe were exiled by trains to the gas chambers of Auschwitz concentration camp along with lakhs of Polish folk, thousands of Soviet war prisoners, other people of varied nationalities. Many of them were killed in the gas chambers, while others lost their lives due to starvation, diseases, private executions, and medical experiments.

Finally, Auschwitz was freed on January 27, 1945 by Soviet troops. Today, on the location of Auschwitz I and II, a museum has been a centre of attraction for the visitors who pass via the iron gates adorned with the motto, Arbeit macht frei meaning work makes you free.

Auschwitz I

Known as the original camp in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, it was the administrative center holding 16 one-story buildings. The SS Captain Rudolf Hoss became the first commandant and lived with his wife and four children near the crematorium here.

Formerly barracks, the camp was created by expelling thousands of local residents living in shacks around the barracks, which was called the Interest Area of the Camp. After this, some 300 Jewish residents of the town constructed the camp. Then, started the trend of imprisoning the so-called criminals grouped into various classes distinguishable by marks on their attires; Jews and Soviet prisoners of war were quite inhumanly treated.

The harsh work, poor nutrition, and improper hygiene resulted in high death rates of the prisoners. Block 11 and 13, the standing cells, was where the rule violators were punished by making them to spend the nights in on feet. Further, the basement contained the starvation cells where the prisoners were given neither food nor water and the dark cells with only a tiny window wherein the prisoners gradually suffocated.

Auschwitz II-Birkenau

Larger than Auschwitz I, this extermination camp was built in 1941 to ease the burden on the I. Held many classes of prisoners, this camp witnessed the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, the extermination of the Jews. The first gas chamber, the Little Red House, was a brick lodge transformed into a gassing facility; while the second brick cottage, the Little White House, was another one formed later.

The Auschwitz concentration camp was looked partly by prisoners called kapos (orderlies, convicts) and sonderkommandos (workers of the crematoria). The kapos’ duty was to maintain the order in the barrack huts, while the sonderkommandos were to prepare for gassing, transferring dead bodies to the furnaces from the gas chambers, and removing any gold of the victims.

By 1942, infamous selections were made in which incoming Jews were split as being able to work sent to the right and those who were immediately gassed by putting them in the group at left. This group of death included children, women, elderly, and all who do not seem fit by the doctors. This camp was the most horrible killer than any other.

Auschwitz III

This was the largest work camp here named after the Polish village of Monowice. After the fall, it was treated as an industrial camp. It was related to the synthetic rubber and liquid fuel plant Buna-Werke wherein 11,000 slaves worked. Regularly, doctors of Auschwitz II would come on visit and choose the weak and sick for the gas chambers of Auschwitz II.

Current Status

Today, the entrance buildings of Auschwitz I and II and some of the southern brick-built barracks survive, but of the almost 300 wooden barracks, only 19 remain: 18 near the entrance building and one, on its own, further away. All that survives of the others are chimneys, remnants of a largely ineffective means of heating. Many of these wooden buildings were constructed from prefabricated sections made by a company that intended them to be used as stables; inside, numerous metal rings for the tethering of horses can still be seen.

Museum

The restored Auschwitz I is now a museum to remember the victims of Nazism. Here, you can see the gas chamber of Auschwitz I, men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes and suitcases, and many household utensils. Further, notice 30 m long case filled with human hairs that belong to the people who were brought here.

Auschwitz II and the ruins of the gas chambers are seen today listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Far away from here are the memorial plaques inscribed with many languages.

Most of the buildings of Auschwitz I are surviving today.

You can enter from outside the perimeter fence wherein the camp admission building was once there to register new prisoners and give their uniforms.

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