Auschwitz was both a concentration and death camp, it was the largest of the Nazi's camps and the most streamlined mass killing center ever created. It was at Auschwitz that 1.1 million people were murdered, mostly Jews. The living conditions at Auschwitz were awful. Prisoners were kept in old brick barracks with several hundred three tier beds in each building.There were 2 types of barracks, brick and wooden. The brick buildings usually had 700 prisoners but sometimes even more were crammed into each building. These barracks lacked any true heating and sanitary facilities. The wooden stable barracks were designed to hold 52 horses. The stalls contained three-tier wooden bunks. Several hundred prisoners lived in each such barrack. Dampness, leaky roofs, and the fouling of straw and straw mattresses by prisoners suffering from diarrhea made difficult living conditions worse. The barracks swarmed with rats. A constant shortage of water for washing, and the lack of suitable sanitary facilities, aggravated the situation. Prisoners spent over eleven hours a day working, and the rest of the time was taken up by long roll-call assemblies, lining up for food rations or a place in the latrines or the washroom, removing dirt and pests from clothing, and disinfection.
The camp was constructed in 1937 in a wooded area on the northern slopes of the Ettersberg, about five miles northwest of Weimar in east-central Germany. Buchenwald has more than 56,000 estimated victims. This estimate does not include 13,000 inmates transferred to Auschwitz or other extermination camps. Prisoners suffered without clean water or sanitation. But conditions of the unfinished camp did not cause terror—the rituals enacted within the camp’s boundaries did. The workday lasted about fourteen hours including Sunday. To eat each prisoner got a small loaf of bread and some water. Like most concentration camps, Buchenwald developed into highly structured and functional society. The SS guards and block officers ruled with almost unrivaled authority. The SS guards who brutally beat, maimed, or killed prisoners under the guise of sabotage or escape attempts earned furloughs, extra pay or rapid promotions. Each prisoner wore a color-coded badge upon his sleeve to show the reason for his internment. This made it easier for the SS guards to keep order, separate the moral from political inmates, and identification.
In late October 1942, I.G. Farben opened its own corporate concentration camp, Buna/Monowitz, to house the predominantly Jewish prisoners who had to do forced labor on the plant grounds of I.G. Auschwitz. The camp was built on the site of the Polish village of Monowice, whose inhabitants had been made to leave their homes. The first 2,100 prisoners arrived from the concentration camps of Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, and Dachau, as well as from the Netherlands. The SS selected 10,000 men for forced labor in Buna from the pool of Jews deported to Auschwitz from every corner of Europe, their relatives, parents, wives, and children usually were murdered immediately after arrival in Auschwitz. Most prisoners in Buna succumbed to the effects of the miserable rations, inadequate clothing, and harsh working conditions, were killed at the construction site, or fell victim to a selection and were sent to the gas chambers in Birkenau.
Gestapo- The Gestapo were the official secret police of Nazi Germany and German occupied Europe. SS (Schutz-staffel)- or the Protection Squadron or defense corps, abbreviated SS was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. It began as a small, permanent guard unit known as the "Saal-Schutz" made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for Nazi Party meetings in Munich. Later, in 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit which had by then been reformed and renamed the "Schutz-Staffel". Under Himmler's leadership, it grew from a small paramilitary formation to one of the largest and most powerful organizations in the Third Reich. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II. The SS, along with the Nazi Party, was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal, and banned in Germany after 1945.
Nazi Party- stands for National Socialist German Workers' Party and it was the political party founded in Germany in 1919 and brought to power by Hitler in 1933. Under hitler it grew into a mass movement and ruled Germany through totalitarian means from 1933 to 1945. The group promoted German pride and anti-Semitism, and expressed dissatisfaction with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the 1919 peace settlement that ended World War I and required Germany to make numerous concessions and reparations. After Germany's defeat in World War II, the Nazi Party was outlawed and many of its top officials were convicted of war crimes related to the murder of some 6 million European Jews during the Nazis' reign.
Third Reich- Nazi Germany and the Third Reich are common names for Germany during the period from 1933 to 1945, when its government was controlled by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party
Dr. Mengele- Josef Mengele was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. He qualified for scientific doctorates in Anthropology from Munich University and in Medicine from Frankfurt University. He liked to research heredity, using inmates for human experimentation. He was particularly interested in identical twins. Mengele's experiments also included attempts to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children's eyes, various amputations of limbs, and other surgeries such as kidney removal, without anesthesia. Mengele would experiment by performing forced sterilization and electroconvulsive therapy. Most of the victims died, because of either the experiments or later infections.
Rudolf Hess- was Hitler's deputy leader in the Nazi Party. Hess had been involved with the Nazi Party from its earliest days and was on the march to the Beer Hall that lead to his and Hitler's imprisonment from 1923 to 1924.It was in prison that Hitler dictated "Mein Kampf" to Hess who acted as Hitler's personal secretary while in prison. Hess was seen by many to be Hitler's most loyal follower.
Adolf Eichmann- head of the Department for Jewish Affairs in the Gestapo from 1941 to 1945 and was chief of operations in the deportation of three million Jews to extermination camps. He joined the Austrian Nazi party in 1932 and later became a member of the SS. In 1934 he served as an SS corporal in the Dachau concentration camp
Heinrich Himmler- was the Reich Leader of the dreaded SS of the Nazi party from 1929 until 1945. Himmler presided over a vast ideological and bureaucratic empire that defined him for many as the second most powerful man in Germany during World War II. Given overall responsibility for the security of the Nazi empire, Himmler was the key and senior Nazi official responsible for conceiving and overseeing implementation of the final solution
Final Solution- the Nazi plan to murder the Jews of Europe.