Since I was a little girl I have been very interested in the history of the Auschwitz concentration camp, I do not know if it was because my uncle used to always share stories about it or because I could not believe that people could be so evil and torture and kill so many human beings without the world doing anything really to stop it. In this thread I would like to discuss some of the horrible things people just like you and me went through there not more than 60 years ago...
When I was big enough to understand what was Auschwitz many questions popped up on my mind, but one particularly: what happened with the children who were in Auschwitz? Do they went through the same things that their parents? What about the women who were pregnant? Were they allow to have their children? What happened with those babies?.
The women who were pregnant in Auschwitz as any other concentration camp was sent directly to the gas chamber. Some women were allowed to deliver their babies but as soon as they were born, the nazis would take the babies away and drown them. Of course those babies who 'make it' did not have a long life expectancy. They may have survived a couple of months since the concentration camp would not provide things like diapers, vaccination or baby food. Some of them would suffer the bites of rats or being killed by them.
Those children who were already born, would work as any other adult. The food rations were not sufficient and they suffered the same malnutrition as their parents.
Lucie Adelsberger who was a prisoner's doctor describes the life of the children:
"The children's block in the gypsy camp was in no way different to the block of the adults. But the poverty and the mysery of those little mites was touching in the midst of the heart.
Like the adults, the kids were only a mere bag of bones, without muscles or fat, and the thin skin like pergament scrubbed through and through beyond the hard bones of the skeleton and ignited itself to ulcerated wounds. Abscesses covered the underfed body from the top to the bottom and thus deprived it from the last rest of energy. The mouth was deeply gnawed by noma-abscesses, hollowed out the jaw and perforated the cheeks like cancer.
Many decaying bodies were full of water because of the burning hunger, they swelled to shapeless bulks which could not move anymore. Diarrhoea, lasting for weeks, dissolved their irresistant bodies until nothing remained."(Source: Langbein, Hermann: Menschen in Auschwitz.)
Image from Wikimedia public domain.
I was raised in a family whose ancestors where partly from Germany. The war was only talked about from my Dad's point of view. He served in the army and was stationed in the pacific. He didn't know much about the things going on in Germany, his enemy was Japan. I have read enough about the death camps, including Auschwitz, to know that the horror was real and very evil. Parents who were sent to these places were often forced to choose which of their children were to die. If they refused to choose then all their children were killed. The Nazi's were very good at torture and finding horrifying ways to kill someone. I don't know how the world let it happen, except for the fact that without television most average people had no idea what was happening. The countries propaganda officials would only allow those things that they felt people needed to know to get out. It is very sad to say that there are still those who refuse to believe that these horrific events actually took place. I can't understand how anyone could not look at all the evidence and say those things didn't happen. Sometimes I am ashamed of the fact that I have any German blood in me, but I know that the true evil of those times was with a minority of Germans who got too powerful.
As a Jew, this subject is obviously very close to my heart. Every year we have a remembrance day here in Israel, and every year I try to comprehend the measures of the disaster - but I can't.
My grandmother was born in Greece and escaped to Israel when the war started. Her three brothers and one sister never got to Israel. When the war ended she looked for them, but never found: no one had heard from them, and they did not return her letters. Since most of the Jews in Greek were sent to Auschwitz, she assumed that they died there.
The most hurtful thing is that the world knew - and did not do anything to stop the death of 11 million innocent people (6 million of them were Jews).
|The most hurtful thing is that the world knew - and did not do anything to stop the death of 11 million innocent people (6 million of them were Jews).|
Here in is a story about some that actually survived:
FROM the horror of Auschwitz, an astonishing story of survival has emerged after almost six decades. It concerns a troupe of Jewish travelling musicians named Ovitz, comprising seven dwarfs and their two full-sized sisters. They actually heard the gas chamber door clang shut on them, and smelled the poison seeping in. But their lives were saved by Dr Josef Mengele, the Polish death camp's evil doctor.
|And the world knows even today of such atrocity... and it is hid under the banner of expediency because it is none of our business... news reporter|
My senior year of high school I took a college English class that seniors had the option of taking if you could test into it. As part of this class, we had to do a major project. We were put into groups and we chose a decade, and each of us focused on a portion of that decade. We had a group project as a whole, but then our individual projects within it. We chose the 1940s, and I focused on the different concentration camps that had been used.
I had always been apalled at the stories and happenings that took place during this era in our world, but once I began to dig into the details even deeper, I got to a point to where I could barely eat anything on the days I did my research. It made me so sick to my stomach, and my heart just broke repeatedly. Staring at these pictures of people who had committed no crime, yet were being treated as if they were worse than scum of the earth simply because of a religion and culture they had been born into.
I remember looking at pictures of mountains made of bodies that had been gassed. Several of them would reach into the hundred yards measuring up. There was one picture that showed piles of bones from people who had been burned to death. Even now, just remembering those is about to make me cry.
I read one story about a teenager whose family was taken, and she had a little brother. Her brother was scared and was young enough where he could go with his mother, or stay with his sister whichever. She told him to go with their mother, and her mother and brother ended up being sent to the line that went to the gas chamber and she survived. She talked about how she could never forgive herself because she felt as if she had sent her brother to his death.
There's a Holocasut Memorial Museum that has stories and such on their website:
AUSCHWITZ ESCAPEE RUDOLF VRBA DIES
Rudolf Vrba, an Auschwitz death camp escapee who is credited with saving hundreds of thousands of lives, has died in Vancouver. He was 82.