SOURCE #1 Auschwitz Concentration Camp The Gas Chambers. Auschwitz Concentration Camp The Gas Chambers & Crematoria Mass Extermination A special commission of doctors arrived in Auschwitz Concentration Camp on 28 July 1941, and select unfit prisoners mostly from Block 15 to be murdered in one of the Euthanasia killing centres. Dr Horst Schumann, the director of the Euthanasia Centre at Sonnenstein, is one of the members of this commission. Altogether 573 inmates, mostly Polish prisoners are selected, and two brutal Capos join the transport at the last moment. Ernst Krankemann, Capo of the road construction squad, and Johann Siegruth, the one-armed head Capo of the Lumber- yard.
Krankemann is murdered during the trip, Siegruth committed suicide, the rest were gassed at Sonnenstein euthanasia centre, in a bathroom where carbon monoxide gas was introduced through the showerheads. In late August 1941 Lagerfuhrer Karl Fritzsch uses the gas Zyklon B to kill Russian Prisoners of War in the cellar of Block 11. Rudolf Hoss described one such gassing: SOURCE #2 First American Report on Holocaust. On July 22, 1942—seventy-two years ago to this day—the first inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto were placed in rail cars and deported to Nazi concentration camps. Accounts of exact numbers vary, but less than six months later, the ghetto held only approximately 50,000 of the original 550,000 Jews.
The rest had been deported. Most had died or would soon die in Treblinka, at the hands of the Nazis. Five months after those deportations began, on December 22, 1942, The New Republic published one of the very first accounts of the Holocaust that would reach Western eyes. Aptly titled "The Massacre of the Jews," the piece laid out in minute detail the horrors being perpetrated against the Jews of Europe and indicted the Nazi government, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Goebbels. Varian Fry's account was unflinching in its honesty and pointedly crafted to alert Americans to "the most appalling picture of mass murder in all of human history. " The Massacre of the Jews. SOURCE #3 Holocaust Survivors Tell the Stories of Their Childhood.
SOURCE #4 German Railways and the Holocaust. The Wannsee Conference was held on January 20, 1942, in Berlin, to coordinate the implementation of the proposed "Final Solution". At Wannsee, the SS estimated that the "Final Solution"--which was already under way--would ultimately involve 11 million European Jews; Nazi planners envisioned the inclusion of Jews living in neutral or non-occupied countries such as Ireland, Sweden, Turkey, and Great Britain. The European rail network played a crucial role in the implementation of the "Final Solution.
" Jews from Germany and German-occupied Europe were deported by rail to the killing centers in occupied Poland. The Germans attempted to disguise their deadly intentions, referring to these deportations as "resettlement to the east. " The victims were told they were being taken to labor camps, but in reality, from 1942, deportation for most Jews meant transit to extermination camps.
The Germans used both freight and passenger cars for the deportations. •Width: 7.2 feet (2.2 meters) SOURCE #5 Introduction to the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire. " The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.
During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals. WHAT WAS THE HOLOCAUST? In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. SOURCE #6 Holocaust Timeline. Jump to: 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1933 January 30, 1933 - Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany a nation with a Jewish population of 566,000.
February 22, 1933 - 40,000 SA and SS men are sworn in as auxiliary police. February 27, 1933 - Nazis burn Reichstag building to create crisis atmosphere. February 28, 1933 - Emergency powers granted to Hitler as a result of the Reichstag fire. March 22, 1933 - Nazis open Dachau concentration camp near Munich, to be followed by Buchenwald near Weimar in central Germany, Sachsenhausen near Berlin in northern Germany, and Ravensbrück for women.
Almost 70 years later, prisoner 918 is holding forth in the home of the scouting association, Baden Powell House in London. Piechowski had a happy childhood in the town of Tczew, swimming with friends in the nearby river Vistula or playing with bows and arrows in the park with his two brothers. When the Nazis invaded the country nine years later, in 1939, the scouting movement was seen by the invaders as a symbol of nationalism – and a potential source of resistance. How did people cope? SOURCE #9 Holocaust survivors: The Dentist of Auschwitz, Ch. 12: Auschwitz. Traumatized, starved, and soaked with human waste, we looked to be the inhuman, useless creatures the Nazis had characterized us as being. It was dark when the train stopped.
Dawn came a few minutes later, and light began breaking through the windows. We are not at a station. Why did they stop? It was light enough to see distant fences. The train rolled on. The doors rolled open and startled us with loud bangs. People began to pray. "Raus! "These are a few of my dental instruments," I said, hoping he would allow me to keep them. More prisoners in their zebra-striped suits gathered, watching us from behind the fence.
The skies were gray and had a strange look of finality. We thought we knew all about Auschwitz's horror, but we were soon to discover how little we actually did know. We were still moving and were soon to meet the group of SS men with the flashlights. Two of the five men in the row ahead of us were ordered to join the weaker line. "Twenty-three," I said. "Occupation? " "Halt! SOURCE #10 Horror Stories from the Gas Chambers of Auschwitz. 350 Reports from Other Camps I will now describe the crematoriums and the transports. At the station 2,000 people got off the trains. They had to throw away all their luggage. Afterward the men and women were divided into two groups, at which the larger boys were assigned to the group with the men. Then that great devourer of Jews, Mengele, drove by in a car, seeking out the strongest from each transport. In front of the gas chamber was a dressing room. The prisoners of the special work details [Sonderkommandos] then pulled the corpses out, took their rings off, and cut their hair, which was gathered up, put in sacks, and shipped to factories.
Once an Italian woman, a dancer, was brought to the crematorium. JANDA WEISS, Brunn (Brno) [Footnote] 2. SOURCE #11 Roll Call (Appel) - Concentration Camps - Key Stage 3 - The Holocaust Explained. As in the concentration camps, those prisoners selected for work faced appalling conditions and severe treatment. After being woken at dawn, they would have to stand in line for the roll call and endure many hours of hard labour. At the end of the working day, exhausted, they returned to the camp, when they would once again have to stand in line for evening roll call.
During roll call (appell) prisoners would have to stand still, wearing very thin clothing, in all weathers and for hours on end. The block kapo would count the number of prisoners before reporting to the SS officer. If the number of prisoners appeared not to be correct, it would take hours until the SS officer finally made the numbers tally. Anyone unable to stand was taken away to his or her death.
Roll calls were often used as a punishment to prisoners. This treatment was used to teach the other prisoners that it was pointless to resist. SOURCE #12 Living Conditions, Labor & Executions at Auschwitz-Birkenau. SOURCE #13 Gale Cengage Product Failure. SOURCE #14 Auschwitz Transport and Arrival - Key Stage 3 - The Holocaust Explained. The first trains carrying Jews arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau in March 1942. Often several trains arrived daily carrying Jews from almost every country in Europe.
Each of the trains carried in excess of a thousand victims. Prisoners had been packed into cattle wagons with no room to sit, no food, a bucket for water and another as a toilet. The journey could last days on end, with the ‘passengers’ not knowing where they were passing through or where they were going. Many victims died during the journey as a result of suffocation, illness or hunger. Initially, arrivals at Auschwitz-Birkenau would be unloaded on a ‘ramp’ alongside the main railway lines at Oswiecim. On arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau the trains would pull up on the unloading ramp in front of the awaiting SS officers and guards, kapos and the Sonderkommando.
The Jews were thrown out of the railway wagons and made to leave their belongings behind them. SOURCE #15 Meals in the Concentration Camps - Key Stage 3 - The Holocaust Explained. Meal times were the most important event of each day. After morning roll call the prisoners would be given their morning ‘meal’ – imitation coffee or herbal ‘tea’. For lunch prisoners would be given a litre of watery soup.
If they were lucky, they might find a piece of turnip or potato peel. In the evening prisoners would be given a piece of black bread weighing 300 grams, together with a tiny piece of sausage, or margarine, marmalade or cheese. The bread was supposed to last the prisoners for the morning also, so prisoners would try to hide it on their person whilst they slept. Kity Hart-Moxon, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau, remembers the high value placed on food, and so much wanting to survive the camp.
She would sometimes take the piece of bread from the body of someone who had died during the night: “The dead body had a piece of bread...” “... The lack of food, poor diet and hard labour caused the prisoners to suffer from starvation sickness. SOURCE #16 Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State . Auschwitz 1940-1945 . The Killing Evolution. Funeral of inmates who died or were killed just prior to liberation The Nazis did not start World War II with a plan to eliminate the Jews. This solution evolved—especially from 1939 to 1941—as they tried different techniques to accomplish their goals.
Particularly in Germany and Poland camp commandants experimented with various killing methodologies and consulted with one another on their successes and failures. The ability of a single camp to kill 2,000-3,000 people per hour took years to achieve. At first, though, murder was done at close range-man-to-man, woman, or child. Death by Firing Squad In 1941, SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski told his superior Heinrich Himmler that the Nazis had been murdering Jews, including women and children, at close range and in cold blood all summer.
Einsatzgruppen killing Himmler realized he had to find new methods that would spare his troops the psychological strain of killing human beings at close range. Carbon Monoxide Hell Vans Zyklon B. SOURCE #17 Liberation of Nazi Camps. As Allied troops moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Nazi Germany, they began to encounter tens of thousands of concentration camp prisoners. Many of these prisoners had survived forced marches into the interior of Germany from camps in occupied Poland. These prisoners were suffering from starvation and disease. Soviet forces were the first to approach a major Nazi camp, reaching Majdanek near Lublin, Poland, in July 1944. Surprised by the rapid Soviet advance, the Germans attempted to hide the evidence of mass murder by demolishing the camp. Camp staff set fire to the large crematorium used to burn bodies of murdered prisoners, but in the hasty evacuation the gas chambers were left standing.
The Soviets liberated Auschwitz, the largest killing center and concentration camp, in January 1945. In the following months, the Soviets liberated additional camps in the Baltic states and in Poland. Resources Abzug, Robert H. Abzug, Robert H. Bridgman, Jon. SOURCE #18 Uniform and clothing in the Concentration Camps - Key Stage 3 - The Holocaust Explained. On arrival at concentration camps prisoners had their clothing taken away, often to be replaced by a striped uniform (now known as striped pyjamas). Men would wear a vest, trousers, hat and coat. Women would be supplied a smock type dress. On their feet prisoners wore wooden or leather clogs.
As socks were not supplied, clogs would rub on feet and ankles, causing foot sores. Clothes would be changed approximately every six weeks. Prisoners were identified by a number printed on their clothing and also an inverted triangle with lettering to signify the reason for imprisonment. In some camps, Jews were usually marked by a yellow triangle over a red triangle to form the Star of David.