At the beginning of the 1930s, Germany was under stress of recuperating after the First World War. Germany was in need of a leader to lead them through the hard times of recovering after a war, with no help from other countries. A man by the name of Adolf Hitler stepped up to the challenge. His goal was to lead Germany out of their troubles and make them a world power. Through this plan, many different courses of action were beginning to take place. As part of becoming a world power, Hitler, wanted to make Germany larger and fill it with what he considered a “perfect people”. These perfect people were those of blonde hair and blue eyes, which ironically enough, Hitler lacked. This course of action is now commonly known as The Holocaust. These perfect people also had to be pure, that means that no homosexuals, gypsies, nor Jews would be living in the land controlled by Germany. To achieve this goal, Hitler and the rest of Nazi Germany, created concentration and extermination camps to put the people that did not meet the requirement of being a perfect people. Two of these camps were named Auschwitz, which is in present day Poland, and Dachau, near Munich.
As referred to earlier, there were two different types of camps created by the Nazis. The first one is a concentration or work camp. The first camp, Dachau, was created on March of 1933 and is classified as a Class I camp. Many famous, high-level political opponents of the Nazi government were held here until the end of the war. These camps were primarily to incarcerate communists, social Democrats, trade union leaders, spies, resistance fighters, religious dissidents, common criminals, Gypsy men, homosexuals, asocials, and anyone else who proposed as being a threat to the state. Camp such as these did were not meant to kill every person that walked through the gates that state “Arbeit Macht Frei”, work will set you free. Perhaps one of the biggest lies of all time, at these camps, nobody was set free. It did not matter how hard a person worked, they were never released until the end of the war when the Nazi government was defeated.
Albert Speer’s contribution to the Nazi war effort started well before the declaration of war. His work for the Nazi regime aided Adolf Hitler in lifting the morale of the German people and consolidating Nazi power which was determined to engage in armed conflict. Speer was an accomplished architect and a highly efficient organiser. Hitler addressed Berlin’s university students at a Berlin ...
Though these camps were not meant to kill every person, though that did not mean that people were killed by the furnaces, gas chambers, or through experiments that doctors, such as Dr. Schilling, performed on inmates involving Malaria. In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were housed in Dachau with 130,000 killed. Being the first concentration-style camp, all other camps to follow had Dachau as an example. There was a separate secure camp near the command center, which consisted of living quarters, administration, and army camps.
In a little Polish town, Hitler set up his biggest and more efficient extermination camp. This camp is known as Auschwitz. There were three main camps, with thirty-nine camps nearby. Being the largest concentration camp ever, its main sites were the labor camp Auschwitz I, the extermination camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and Auschwitz III- Monowitz. At least 1.1 million people were killed there, 90% of whom were Jews. Prisoners, naturally, would try to escape the death hold of Auschwitz. There were about 700 recorded attempts with only around 300 successful. A common punishment for an attempted escape was starvation to death. Many prisoners died of starvation regardless if they tried to escape or not. One of the more famous and accurate accounts of the Auschwitz concentration camp is Elie Wiesel. In his book, Night, he recaptures the horrifying experience of being held captive in Auschwitz.
... any other concentration camp, though all camps were deadly. It is estimated that nearly 1, 500, 000 people alone died in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the majority ... chambers to be chemically destroyed. Nazi guards would give the prisoners a small piece of soap and tell them to go ... a pile to be cremated, over 8, 000 people were killed a day in some camps (Knight 1). The horrific conditions of these ...
Through first hand accounts, discoveries have been made that the camp of Auschwitz was meant for exterminating people. They would have to line up and got picked out by their physical appearance if they would live those few extra days or be sent strait to the furnaces where the stench of flesh and blood reeked out. Adolf Hitler, himself, ordered for the mass murders to take place on a daily bases at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Many women and children were killed upon arrival, due to the fact that they would be able to work. Witness, Lucie Adelsberger describes the sight of the children, “Like the adults, the kids were only a mere bag of bones, without muscles or fat, and the thin skin like pigment scrubbed through and through beyond the hard bones of the skeleton and ignited itself to ulcerated wounds. Abscesses covered the underfed body from the top to the bottom and thus deprived it from the last rest of energy. The mouth was deeply gnawed by noma-abscesses, hollowed out the jaw and perforated the cheeks like cancer”. Many decaying bodies were full of water because of the burning hunger, they swelled to shapeless bulks which could not move anymore. Diarrhea, lasting for weeks, dissolved their irresistant bodies until nothing remained …..”
Through the description of both types of camps, work camps such as Dachau, and extermination camps such as Auschwitz, one could tell that both can be compared to entering hell, but in the extermination more prisoners were faced with actual hell. What the Nazi government did to innocent people during World War II is unimaginable, but first hand witnesses, like Elie Wiesel, prove to people what few people lived through. The lucky ones were the ones who got to die when they were picked out at the door of the gates. Others had to work and many worked until death took them too as prisoners.
The German people are very ashamed at what is now known as the Holocaust, due to the fact that the leader that they put their trust in decided to have world domination with the risk of others’ lives. Hitler was a great ruler, but what he did to become that ruler is frequently frowned upon. Looking back through history, it almost seems that Germany having to recover from the First World War could have been avoided with the aid of other countries. History must be read and be read carefully in order for repeats to never happen again. The Holocaust was a horrific event and the various concentration camps are there to prove it. The image of “Arbeit Macht Frei” will always be burned into the minds and hearts of those who have either visited the camps after the Nazi annihilations, or have had the misfortune to have to barely lived through what is now known as The Holocaust.
Imagine being forced by total strangers, no different than yourself, to leave your home and everything in it behind. You are then pushed onto a train packed with other people. After a long train ride you are taken off the train and the women and children are put in one group. The people who can perform the tasks that these strangers need done are put into another group. The women and children who ...
1. “Quick Overview of Dachau.” 16 July 2007.
2. Posner, Gerald L. “Gate to Hell: Auschwitz.” 16 July 2007.
3. “Auschwitz-Birkenau” 16 July 2007.
4. Greenspun, Philip “Dachau Concentration Camp.” 16 July 2007.
5. “Dachau” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC. 16 July 2007.
6. “Auschwitz and Birkenau” 16 July 2007.