Buchenwald (Holocaust)

CONTENTS Introduction page 1 Concentration Camps
pages 2-5 Death Camps page 6 Buchenwald pages 7-11
Conclusion page 12-13 Endnotes pages 14-15 Bibliography
page 16 (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 "undesirables"
was through the use of concentration camps. "In January
1941, in a meeting with his top officials, the \'final solution\'
was decided". The Jewish population was to be eliminated.
In this paper I will discuss concentration camps with a
detailed description of the worst one prior to World War II,
Buchenwald. (2) CONCENTRATION CAMPS The first
concentration camps were set up in 1933. In the early days
of Hitler\'s regime, concentration camps were places that held
people in protective custody. Victims for protective custody
included those who were either physically or mentally ill,
gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, Jews and anyone
against the Nazi regime. "Gypsies were classified as people
with at least two gypsy great grandparents." By the end of
1933 there were at least fifty concentration camps
throughout occupied Europe. "At first, the camps were
controlled by the Gestapo (police), but by 1934 the SS,
Hitler\'s personal security force, were ordered, by Hitler, to
control the camps." Camps were set up for several 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 mirrored 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 guards\' orders
from the moment they arrived at the camps. "If they didn\'t,
they would be beaten, put into solitary confinement or shot."
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 roll 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 rationalized 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 these items
were then 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 usually 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." People who could not run away from
the camps were often able to survive because they dreamt
about revolt. Special areas of a camp were set aside for
medical experiments. Doctors in one