The Holocaust at Auschwitz

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“The Holocaust at Auschwitz”

Introduction

Auschwitz functioned throughout its existence as a concentration camp, and over time became the largest such Nazi camp. In the first period of the existence of the camp, it was primarily Poles who were sent here by the German occupation authorities. These were people regarded as particularly dangerous: the elite of the Polish people, their political, civic, and spiritual leaders, members of the intelligentsia, cultural and scientific figures, and also members of the resistance movement, officers, and so on. Over time, the Nazis also began to send groups of prisoners from other occupied countries to Auschwitz. Beginning in 1942, Jews whom the SS physicians classified as fit for labor were also registered in the camp. From among all the people deported to Auschwitz, approximately 400,000 people were registered and placed in the camp and its sub-camps (200,000 Jews, more than 140,000 Poles, about 20,000 Gypsies from various countries, more than 10,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and more than 10,000 prisoners of other nationalities). Over 50% of the registered prisoners died as a result of starvation, labor that exceeded their physical capacity, the terror that raged in the camp, executions, the inhuman living conditions, disease and epidemics, punishment, torture, and criminal medical experiments. Through this, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. It was established by the Nazis in 1940, in the suburbs of the city of Oswiecim which, like other parts of Poland, was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. The name of the city of Oswiecim was changed to Auschwitz, which became the name of the camp as well. Over the years, the camp was expanded and consisted of three main parts: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and Auschwitz III-Monowitz. It also had over 40 sub-camps. At first, Poles were imprisoned and died in the camp. Afterwards, Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies, and people of other nationalities were also incarcerated there. Beginning in 1942, the camp became the site of the greatest mass murder in the history of humanity, which was committed against the European Jews as part of Hitler's plan for the complete destruction of that people. During the 19th century, nearly six million Jews were killed and murdered in what the historians have called “The Holocaust.”  In the years between 1933 and 1945, the Jews of Europe were marked for total annihilation. Moreover, anti-Semitism was given legal sanction. It was directed by Adolf Hitler and managed by Heinne Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann. There were many other great crimes and murders, such as the killing of the Armenians by the Turks, but the Holocaust stood out as the “only systematic and organized effort by a modern government to destroy a whole race of people”.

This paper is to explain what happened during the Holocaust, why it was rated to be the darkest time in the history of the 20th century, and why, of all the people to be exterminated, it is the Jews who had to experience this horrible act. Auschwitz, as was said earlier, has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. What could possibly be learned out of this?

Body

A. Auschwitz

Auschwitz-Birkenau became the killing centre where the largest numbers of European Jews were killed during the Holocaust. After an experimental gassing there in September 1941 of malnourished and ill prisoners, mass murder became a daily routine. By mid 1942, mass gassing of Jews using Zyklon-B began at Auschwitz, where extermination was conducted on an industrial scale with some estimates running as high as three million persons eventually killed through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting, and burning. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Nazi Germany's largest concentration and extermination camp facility, was located nearby the provincial Polish town of Oshwiecim in Galacia, and was established by order of...
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