This camp was a nightmare realized.
Auschwitz was originally constructed to be a Polish army artillery barracks but would quickly be modified with additional buildings and camps.
Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II would be constructed 1 year after the original Auschwitz camp and would serve as the extermination camp
Auschwitz III was considered to be the slave labor camp and was built 1 year after Auschwitz Birkenau.
Thousands of people poured into this camps on a daily basis. New arrivals were brought in by train in packed to capacity cattle box cars.
The innocent people that were now prisoners had traveled many days without stopping with no food or drink and the only bathroom facility was a bucket in each boxcar.
Many that arrived at Auschwitz were already at the point of death or already deceased.
“Arbeit Macht Frei” was the German slogan on the gates as one entered Auschwitz.
The meaning was “Work Makes You Free”, but in reality prisoners were about to die or be worked to death. This was a quote meant to deceive new arrivals.
As the prisoners ,which were mainly Jews, exited the cattle cars there was a distinct odor of burning flesh.
The incoming Jews went through a process called “Selection”.
During selection you were totally at the mercy of the Nazi elites.
Massive amounts of Jews waiting in long lines to see if they would have immediate death
Or a slow death of the malnourished labor camps.
Those who looked healthy and might be able to work
went to a line on the right. Those that appeared unworthy of harsh labor went to the left and to the gas chambers.
More times than not older women and children under age 15 were sent immediately to be gassed but word spread about the age requirement for survival so some children survived by lying.
Once the prisoners were behind the gates and double barbed wire electric fences real life hell began.
Nazi guards would torment the prisoners by saying that the only way out of Auschwitz was through the smoke filled chimneys of the crematoriums.
Those chosen to be gassed were inspected by a doctor (typically “Angel of Death” or Dr. Josef Mengele) to see if they could be used for ghastly expeerimentation.
The Jewish women would proceed to have their heads shaved.
Not only were the women stripped of their hair
But women, children and the elderly were stripped of their clothing
Led to what they were told was a shower.
Very impersonal community shower with approximately 2,000 people crammed into one chamber with very little room to move.
Once inside the door locked behind them with no place to go.
Auschwitz was the launching pad for Zyklon B which were pellets that produced poisonous cyanide gas.
Zyklon B pellets where poured into the roof of the chamber which killed all 2,000 helpless prisoners within 20 minutes.
After the certainty of death the mouths of the deceased where searched for any gold fillings….Heartless and Merciless.
Burning the bodies proved to be the most efficient way to cover the genocide that was being committed.
Approximately 20,000 people could be gassed and cremated each day. The Auschwitz camp would be known as the death factory.
Life of the Prisoners
If you ask any survivor of Auschwitz camp they would agree that life was not much better than death which is extremely heart wrenching.
Once accepted into the labor camp the dehumanization began. Prisoners were treated worse than animals.
The process for the camp was to strip them of their clothing and they were given striped prison uniforms:
The prisoners were next branded like cattle with a tatoo. They were a number now and no longer human:
The prisoners were foced to use their own hands to help develop Auschwitz into a more efficient factory of death. Some of the work was pointless and served as entertainment for the Nazis.
The work hours were long and intense with very little to eat.
The prisoners were given rotten food or a small piece of bread with black coffee to sustain them. Sometimes they were given what was supposed to be soup but resembled dirty water.
The bathroom facility was primitive consisting sometimes of a bucket that would be packed to capacity. The inmates were given seconds to relieve themselves with no privacy and no adequate way to clean themselves.
The roll call was a dreaded torturious experience and was taken morning and evening.
No matter the weather conditions the prisoners would have to stand for hours either shivering in frigid conditions or at the point of passing out from heat exhaustion.
Prisoners that survived the rigorous brutal workday were herded like cattle back to their long rows of wooden bunks.
Or they had to sleep on their sides for lack of room in the bunk.
Many times inmates would wake up to a deceased bunk mate that could not survive another day.
The horrific stories of Auschwitz camp could and has filled volumes of books as there were several thousand that managed to survive to be able to share their experience.
In the beginning of winter in 1944 the Nazis began to sense and experience defeat in World War II and knew that their crimes would soon become known to the world.
Orders were given to blow up the crematoriums and gas chambers of Auschwitz because the Russians were gaining ground.
Hitler also wanted to continue the destruction of the Jewish people and ordered for the remaining survivors in the Auschwitz camp to be destroyed which was never fulfilled as the haste to flee prevailed.
Many were not able to battle the elements of the extreme cold and long journey.
Those not strong were left to die in the snow or were shot and killed along the way.
The Russians would prove to be more persistent and powerful for the retreating Germans.
The Russian army was able to liberate and save several thousand perishing lives.
Faith and Persistence Made Them Free
That’s right the Jews are God’s chosen and He is always faithful to deliver them.
There has been much discussion and argument about how many people perished and how many survived
But more important than an accurate number……..
NEVER AGAIN can we allow such crimes against humanity happen.