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How was it like at Auschwitz’s Concentration Camp? Essay Sample

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How was it like at Auschwitz’s Concentration Camp? Essay Sample

“Why is it that nobody cries out, nobody spits in their faces, nobody jumps at their throats? We doff our caps to the S.S. men returning from the little wood; if our name is called we obediently go with them to die, and—we do nothing. We starve, we are drenched by rain, and we are torn from our families. What is this mystery? This strange power of one man over another? This insane passivity that cannot be overcome? Our only strength is our great number—the gas chambers cannot accommodate all of us” (Borowski). “This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” by Tadeusz Borowski displays how survival and death have a close relationship. In Tadeusz’s story we learn about the daily life of the survivors of the camp and the S.S officers. The thought of being led to one’s own death without even knowing is what went through the minds of many Jews during the Holocaust. It was essential to endure these issues in order to survive the concentration camp.

Back in the 1940’s the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was established by the Soviet Army. “Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps (Gutman).” It had more than 40 camps spread all over filled with Jews and Gypsies. The camp owes its importance to its size and its special role as both a death camp for Jews and Gypsies and the headquarters of a slave-labor camps housing Jews, Polish political prisoners, and homosexuals (Adler). Life as a prisoner in Auschwitz women, children and men were treated more like animals than humans by the Nazis. The Nazi’s had a way of separating the Jewish people. It was called “Selection” which took place at the railroad tracks. Children, elderly, the sick, and the large number of man and women were selected for death and marched immediately to the gas chambers others were sent to the came for labor work (Gutman). The prisoners living conditions were horrible. “The prisoners lived in overcrowded, unsanitary wooden beds (Holocaust).”

They also never had a change of clothes, whatever clothes the camp gave to them is what they wore every day and all day. Their clothing also never matched the weather so the weaker prisoners often died from hypothermia. Every single day a prisoner would die from the gas chamber or by the punishment if they didn’t listen to a S.S officer. At the camp there have been an estimated number of victims: 2.1 to 2.5 million. The prisoners of the camp received meals three times a day: morning, noon, and evening and a minimum working day of eleven hours in all concentration camps (Jewishgen). The pace of the work, the starvation rations of food, and constant beatings and abuse exacerbated the death rate of many Jews of the camp. Execution was what Auschwitz concentration camp was known for. The Nazi’s killed there prisoners by gas chambers or execution by shooting them. S.S officers had a big role when it came to the camps making sure no prisoner escaped. Although the prisoners futures were for the most part destined, as they got closer and closer to death, few never lost hope that some incredible intervention could change their chances for the better.

Borowski’s short story exposed the man’s experience as a privileged prisoner in a concentration camp. The narration provides a realistic day-to-day life within the camps. Borowski demonstrates the victim’s desperation to live even in the early stages of death through the gas chambers. Their stories and situations are expressed and explained through the eyes of narrator Tadek. In this story Tadek the main character arrives at Auschwitz as a political prisoner. With that, he does not live as a prisoner and does not participate in daily tasks as bad as most of the others. He becomes one of the experienced and well-adjusted inmates.

The camp its self was upsetting men, women, and children being separated from their families. Many of the elderly Jewish folks were sent to the gas chambers because they were not able to work. In the story there had been babies that have been killed in the result S.S officers made prisoners carry these dead babies to their graves. That was a sad sight for many women because those babies might have been their own child. Tadek as a political prisoner did all he could do to survive the camp. He was in survival mode doing what he was told so he wouldn’t be killed. Throughout the story Tadek realizes that the Jewish people at the camp were people too like himself. I realized that what the Nazi’s were doing was wrong. He soon valued humanity from his experience at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Work Cited:

Alder, jerry. “The Last Days of Auschwitz’s” ebsco’host. 01 1995. 12 2012 <ebscohost.com>. Borowski, Tadeusz. “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen.” The Story and its Writer. 7th ed. ED. Ann Charters. New York: Bedford/St. Martins. 2007. Print. Gutman, Israel . “Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp” 04 1994. 12 2012 Nataupsky, Mark . “Auschwitz: Camp of Death” 03 1997. 12 2012 <holocaust-trc.org>.

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