Surviving the Unthinkable: Life Inside Nazi Concentration Camps

I picked this topic (Concentration Camps) because I knew some things about the Nazi concentration camps, but I wanted to learn more about them. This topic intrigued me because I wanted to know if the rumors I had heard about World War II were true and I uncovered some things that I never thought could’ve happened to these people. I already knew that there were many deaths every day and that people were tortured non-stop at discriminative concentration camps like Auswitch and Bergen-Belson. I knew that evil scientists like Dr. Joseph Mengele tortured the Jews for sick experimentations to see how Nazis would withstand things like bullets and explosions. Twins were put under cruel conditions, studied, and dissected to study any that had died. Very few times did Mengele experiment for good, yet he justified every experiment.

There were some things I wanted to discover more about as well. I wanted to know what other types of people were held there besides Jews, and what they did with child-bearing women. I wanted to know, when all of this started, and why Hitler was who he became. Last but not least, I wanted to know what the people in the camps’ daily routine consisted of, and how people were treated there. Adolf Hitler has changed the world as we know it permanently by hurting the families of Jews and other people for decades, scarring people for their lives and hurting them. He left all families that he and his men encountered hurt. What I wanted to know was: What truly happened there, and how did just one man cause all of this chaos?

Something I had wanted to know was what concentration camps really were. The term concentration camp means a camp that holds people there without their consent. The people there are confined and are held under unacceptable conditions. There are also different types of camps. Those are: concentration camps, which you know a bit about already; Transit camps that held Jews and others waiting for transportation to a new camp, usually held there before being transferred to a killing center; Killing centers were camps that had people stand in a lines outside minutes after arriving there, and get shot to death one by one (there were 5 killing centers in Germany); Forced labor camps were places where people were forced to work under harsh conditions; Finally, prisoner-of-war camps, where people that were literally prisoners from countries Germany had conquered were held.

There were several invasions that brought people to camps, like the Night of Broken Glass. The Night of Broken Glass became world-known when on Nov 9, 1938, Germany staged mass violence against Jews that lived in Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Austria, and took them to camps. More than 44,000 camps used for mass murders and forced labor. Outside of Munich, Germany was Dachau, a concentration camp in WWII. Dachau was the first-ever opened concentration camp, opening in March 1933. Dachau was used mostly for political prisoners. The camp shut down in April 1945 and was the longest-running camp. Adolf Hitler came to rise in about 1933, and he started all the discrimination against these people, hoping to create some kind of alpha race of humans. He is the cause of everything that went on because when everyone was weak without a ruler, he changed and brutally enforced his beliefs against Jews and other types of people.

The Jewish prisoners had rough lives at concentration camps, like nothing we could begin to even fathom. It was even considered legal to be beaten by S.S. officers there! The Jews’ morning routine consisted of an early wakeup, arranging their bed’s straw neatly, the “lineup”, marching outside in harsh conditions, forced labor, and waiting for the meager daily meal. The daily meal was usually a bowl of watery vegetable soup and a half a piece of bread. Such a meager meal was insufficient for people that were working all day. They weren’t allowed to continue any other activities until their jobs were done.

Even though Jews were put under these types of conditions, Religious and cultural activities never ceased inside of camps. People created diaries, made metal jewelry from copper wire, or even conducted prayer services. At concentration camps, people were ranked based on their status. Prisoners were not only Jews. They were: Social Democrats, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, German Communists, homosexuals, Socialists, obviously Jews, and persons accused of socially deviant behavior. The New Yorker says, “At the bottom of the K.L. hierarchy, even below the criminals, were the Jews.” They were treated worse than everyone else, and given the toughest jobs.

Pregnant women and babies were also sent to concentration camps. says, “Most pregnant women at Auschwitz concentration camp were simply sent to the gas chambers. Women who found out they were pregnant at the camp were sometimes given abortions by Gisella Perl, a doctor who helped prevent hundreds of women from giving birth. Often, when women were discovered to be pregnant they were summarily executed. Others were sent to a hospital barracks to wait out the rest of their pregnancy in squalid conditions.” Sister Klara, a midwife sent to Auswitch for murdering a child watched over people with another midwife, Sister Pfani. Sister Klara did not deliver babies, but sister Pfani did. The midwives got to decide if the child being born was stillborn or not (often drowning babies when nothing was wrong with them). The stillborn babies were drowned in a bucket, usually in front of their mothers who had just birthed them. There were heroes at the camps, too. Stanislawa Leszczyńska, A polish midwife delivered over 3,000 babies at Auschwitz in its horrible conditions. Even though she wasn’t supposed to, she tried to keep the babies alive and succeeded with at least a few.

When people died trucks came filled with bodies to drop off in pits near campsites. The people had either died at camp or on the way. The bodies were to be cremated after arriving. Things slowly changed after the war. After WWll, Burgen-Belson was used as a displaced persons camp. By the end of everything, over 6 million Jews and millions of other people were murdered. Nearly 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz alone, and over 1.1 million people perished there. My research has shown me that Adolf Hitler has started a never-ending crisis of discrimination against all Jews, which a non-Jewish person of our generation can much more easily forget the importance of. No one really realizes what tragedies had gone on in WWII. Very few people that actually know a lot about the war can say they can justify any of the horrible things that went on. Now that you’ve read it, I hope you truly understand how horrible this war was. The damage German Nazis have done to the families deported to the many types of camps makes me sick. Pregnant women and babies died in the pregnancies every day, and children had to watch as their families were beaten, murdered, or used for horrific experiments. No one could ever apologize enough for all the horrors that occurred at camps, and I rest assured in knowing the case has been uncovered, and in praying for those seeking, lost souls searching for their families still.

01 February 2021
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