Concentration Camps

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There are many events that take place in history that should be remembered and documented. By knowing what has happened in the past, it may help prevent some disasters from reoccurring. It is also important to know what trials and tribulations we have overcome and grown from. One remarkable event that unfortunately transpired during the Holocaust was the concentration camps. Many people were affected by the reality of what was happening in Germany.

Within Germany, there were types of camps that people could be sent to: concentration camps, labor camps, extermination camps and prisoner-of-war camps. Concentration camps were the Nazis’ way of imprisoning the Jews, political antagonists and other people deemed socially unacceptable of the country. If these people were sentenced to a concentration camp and did not arrive, they could and would be shot on the spot. Death camps came into play to make the killings move faster and leave less anguish on the killers, not the victims.

June 14, 1940 was the date that Auschwitz first became active in bringing prisoners to the camp. The first prisoners to arrive at the camp were Polish prisoners of war. Later came Soviets, Gypsies and other nationalities. In 1942, after Hitler ordered the destruction of the people, Jews were the main targets to become incarcerated at Auschwitz. This was about the time that the camp began to mass murder citizens of the Jewish community. Once arriving at this ghostly nightmare, people spent little time alive. “After the transports of children in the summer of 1942, the French authorities came to the same conclusion. So disturbing was the image of small children fending for themselves, deprived of their mothers, that after the last train containing parentless children left Drancy on August 31 an order was given that such transports were not to be repeated. Never again, as far as the French deportations were concerned, would children be snatched from their mothers; instead, whole families would be sent to Auschwitz together” (Rees, 2005, p. 125). Women and children were instantaneously separated from the men. Then the Nazi doctors would examine the Jews and determine quickly if they would live or die. Very few were chosen to work (Rees, 125). The others were almost immediately sent to gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Oskar Groening was posted to work at Auschwitz in 1942. He gave a personal testimony to what he witnessed as Jews arrived at “the ramp”—platform where the Jews arrived in port. “Sick people were lifted on to lorries. Red Cross lorries—they always tried to create the impression that people had nothing to fear,” reported Groening (Rees, 2005, p. 127).

If the mass murders were not enough, Nazi physicians also committed medical experiments. Most of the experiments violated medical beliefs. One of the physicians was Professor Dr. Carl Clauberg. He practiced sterilization on the women who inhabited the concentration camp. Clauberg would inject a chemical into the organs that caused brutal irritation. If the women did not die, they were put to death to perform autopsies. They found that the chemical closed and completely blocked the fallopian tubes. Another physician was Dr. Mengele. He was interested in “water cancer” of the cheek, twins, dwarfism and different colored irises. Most of his victims were children from the “Gypsy Family Camp”. In some cases, the children were killed and their heads and organs were preserved for further observation. In cases of twins, he would do extensive research on them for hours while they were still alive. After he cast-molded their teeth and took fingerprints and toe prints, he would order them to be executed to study their organs and compare and contrast what he found. Some prisoners were intentionally infected with infectious diseases to experiment with new drug. Physicians such as Friedrich Entress, Helmuth...
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