Aushwitz (Holocaust)

(1) INTRODUCTION 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, Auschwitz. (2)
CONCENTRATION CAMPS 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. (3) 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
them. 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." (4) 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 sold." 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