Auschwitz Research Paper
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In this analysis I am going to inform you about Auschwitz, the Nazi death concentration camp and what it is. I will enlighten you on the methods used for the mass extermination of the Jewish culture. Finally, I will briefly inform you on how the camp was liberated.
The mention of Auschwitz sends chills to the bone of most people. Auschwitz, for most, symbolizes the pain and destruction inflicted by the Holocaust. It was the largest of the Nazi concentration death camps, exterminating the most Jews during the Holocaust by poison gas. This number is one that can only be estimated to this day.
There were three main parts to the camp: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II Birkenau, and Auschwitz III Buna Monowitz. Auschwitz I Stammlager (the main camp) was ordered to be built on April 27, 1940 per the orders of Heinrich Himmler, who was head of the SS and the Gastapo. (Encyclopedia of the Holocaust pg. 107)
It was built in southern Poland, outside of a town called Oswiecism (which the Germans renamed Auschwitz), near the Wilsa River, and about 37 miles outside of Krakow. It consisted of 28, two-storied, brick buildings and wooden side-barracks. The average occupancy was 18,000 prisoners. The whole camp was surrounded by an electrically charged barbed wire fence. Above the entrance gate there was a phrase that stated Ð²Ð‚ÑšArbreit macht freiÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Ð²Ð‚ÑšWork liberatesÐ²Ð‚Ñœ) (Holocaust Learning Center sec.5)
In October of 1941, the building of Auschwitz II Birkenau was taking place at the order of Heinrich Himmler as well. This camp was intended to be much larger than the first one. It included 250 wooden and stone barracks. It included nine sub-units which were isolated from one another with electrically charged barbed wire fencing. They were camps BIa, BIb, BIIa, BIIc, BIIc, BIId, BIIe, BIIf, and BIII. (Encyclopedia of the Holocaust pg.108) It was intended to have occupancy of 100,000. (Holocaust Learning Center sec.3)
Birkenau was planned to be an extermination center and has been referred to as the Ð²Ð‚ÑšKilling CenterÐ²Ð‚Ñœ. It contained the majority of the gas chambers and crematoria. The crematoria could burn up to 4,756 bodies every day. It was also the most populated camp. This section of the camp was where selection took place. Transported victims were brought here and examined by a doctor, and then they were put into two categories: one for the gas chambers and crematoria and another for forced labor. (Encyclopedia of the Holocaust pg.109) The majority of the prisoners that were sent to the gas chambers consisted of woman, children, pregnant women, and the elderly. These people were incapable of performing work according to the examiner. (Holocaust Learning Center sec.4)
The last section of the camp, built in November of 1943, was Auschwitz III Buna Monowitz. It was built in Monowitz, Poland, which is a suburb of Oswiecism. It also contained 45 sub camps. Some of the important sub camps were Budy, Czechowitz, and Gleiwitz. Buna Monowitz was primarily a forced labor camp. IG-Farben a rubber plant was one of the German firms that took advantage of the cheap labor and used the camp to carry out the production of Buna, synthetic rubber, from which the camp gets its name. This was where many of the occupants of Auschwitz were brutally worked beyond their physical capacities, suffering greatly due to this horrible method of annihilation. (Holocaust Learning Center sec.8)
Many techniques were used at Auschwitz in the extermination process. The most popular was poison gas; called Zyklon B. Zyklon B is hydrogen cyanide and was first used to kill lice (Lindsay pg. 2). Then it was discovered that if it could kill lice then it could kill people.
It came in the form of little blue pellets that when exposed to air, turned to gas. It was released into vents in the gas chambers and caused death by suffocation. The amount used would determine the length of time it took for the victims to die. Death could be instantaneous but often took hours.
After the bodies were gassed they were usually taken to the crematorium to be burned. This wasnÐ²Ð‚™t always the sequence of events. At times, prisoners were burned alive as a result of punishment for being to exhausted and unable to work. To the SS they were useless so they were killed. (Vidal-Naquet pg 86) The ashes of the cremated bodies were usually disposed in the surrounding bodies of water and river. They were also buried in large pits dug outside the camps.
Inmates were given a very restricted food ration. They were usually only given about 1700 calories of food per day. (Vidal-Naquet pg. 81) There was only one inmate in charge of giving out the rations to a great number of prisoners, so you can imagine that these inmates who were being worked to death didnÐ²Ð‚™t want to stand in a long, slow line to wait for a measly so called Ð²Ð‚ÑšmealÐ²Ð‚Ñœ. This was why these inmates suffered so greatly, because the work exceeded the food ration, if they even got a ration.
Outside of the normal gassings and cremations, inmates had to endure the other brutalities of the camp life. They were often beaten to death if they were considered insubordinate, not up to par as far as work performance, or just because they seemed like good candidates. There was a wall in Block 11 of Auschwitz I, referred to as the Ð²Ð‚?Black WallÐ²Ð‚™ that was used solely for execution purposes. (Holocaust Learning Center sec.10) Inmates were brought here and shot by the SS for whatever they felt was necessary. Prisoners were often hung publicly as well.
The most demented way of eradicating inmates, that I read, were the criminal medical experiments. The most famous practitioner of these acts was Joseph Mengele. His tests were usually held in Block 10 of Auschwitz I. He often injected inmates with typhoid and tuberculosis to see how different races withstood different diseases. (Brank and Mondelli sec.2)
Mengele also killed a number of prisoners by personally injecting chloroform or CHCl3 into their hearts. He did this to carry out many pathological tests and studies of the internal organs. His purpose for these experiments was to develop a genetic cause for the birth of twins in order to double the birthrate of the Ð²Ð‚?AryanÐ²Ð‚™