Auschwitz

Speech given by Obersturmführer Franz Hössler to a group of Greek Jews in the undressing room shortly before the group was led into the gas chamber to be killed:

On behalf of the camp administration I bid you welcome. This is not a holiday resort but a labor camp. Just as our soldiers risk their lives at the front to gain victory for the Third Reich, you will have to work here for the welfare of a new Europe. How you tackle this task is entirely up to you. The chance is there for every one of you. We shall look after your health, and we shall also offer you well-paid work. After the war we shall assess everyone according to his merits and treat him accordingly.

Now, would you please all get undressed. Hang your clothes on the hooks we have provided and please remember your number [of the hook]. When you’ve had your bath there will be a bowl of soup and coffee or tea for all. Oh yes, before I forget, after your bath, please have ready your certificates, diplomas, school reports and any other documents so that we can employ everybody according to his or her training and ability.

Would diabetics who are not allowed sugar report to staff on duty after their baths.

The Auschwitz concentration camp was a network of concentration and extermination camps. It was the largest of the concentration camps, consisting of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II–Birkenau, Auschwitz III–Monowitz and many other sub-camps. Auschwitz is based around the the Polish town of Oświęcim, not far from Krakow. Auschwitz I was the administrative base camp, Auschwitz II–Birkenau the main extermination camp and place for the ‘final solution’. Transport trains delivered Jews to Auschwitz from all over German-occupied Europe. It is hard to say exactly how many people were murdered at Auschwitz since the Nazis destroyed a number of records, but the accepted figure today is no more than 1.5 million and no less than 1.3 million, with about 90% of the victims being Jewish. Those that were not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, infectious disease, individual executions, and medical experiments.

Restored “Arbeit macht frei” sign (Work will set you free) at the entrance to Auschwitz I, after it was stolen and later retrieved in 2009.
Auschwitz I saw the deaths of roughly 70,000 people, mostly ethnic Poles and Soviet prisoners of war. Including residents of Oświęcim and other surrounding villages in a bid to isolate the camp from the outside world
Escape, especially from inside the camp, was difficult. Most were quickly captured, a common punishment was death by starvation. Often families of successful escapees were publicly executed by hanging for all to see and put prominently on display to deter others. Likewise, the SS would pick 10 people at random from the escapees block and starve them to death.
These building existed before before the ‘final solution”, as polish army barracks, but they were only one storey high. They were later extended by the inmates.
Auschwitz I memorial containing ashes from the various nationalities of the camp’s victims
Our guide explaining the location of the camps.
Empty cans of Zyclon B poison
Prostheses of the victims
The victims were told to mark there cases so they could easily retrieve themwhen they had ‘showered’
30,000+ pairs of shoes… it really makes you comprehend the number of victims
Initially ‘workers’ were photographed but when this became inefficient they began to tattoo numbers on the left forearm of the inmates. The tattoo only happened at Auschwitz and only to those that passed selection; deemed fit enough to work and not immediately murdered in the gas chambers.
Some didn’t even last 24hrs
Siblings too…
This picture got my attention based on the look of total contempt
The execution wall. Notice the covered windows, so the next block wouldn’t know what was happening. The murderers used silencers and even designed the wall to produce less noise before the victims were brought out naked,to maximise humiliation, before being shot dead.
The punishment block held various cells including a starvation and suffocation cell as well as this standing cell, no bigger than a phone booth that would be crammed with up to six prisoners who would have to crawl in on their hands and knees.
A replica of the gallows at the location in which Rudolf Höss, first commandant of Auschwitz, was hanged.
Post war reconstruction of the gas chamber using the original components, which remained on-site after the war.
Inside the gas chamber that operated from 1941 to 1942 killing about 60,000 people
The hatch in which pellets of Zyklon B poison was dropped. This was a slow, suffocating death that lasted 15 or 20 minutes. Those closest to the hatch died quicker.
Crematoria oven
Auschwitz II (Birkenau), the extermination camp, built by inmates to relieve Auschwitz II and which saw the deaths of at least 960,000 Jews, 75,000 Poles, and some 19,000 Roma Gypsies
One of the original deportation wagons that would be crammed with up to 100 people…
The gas chambers and crematoria were destroyed by the SS at the end of the war
The demolition was a futile attempt to cover up what had happened here…
Just as they tried to destroy evidence of the gas chambers and crematoria they also destroyed the accommodation blocks, the chimneys were for red cross propaganda purposes
Conditions were terrible and the worst place was often the bottom ‘bunk’ as the diarhoea would flow down and this was also where the rats were
View from the guard tower of the platform where the infamous selections took place whilst the Auschwitz inmate orchestra played; rght for labor, left for the gas chambers. Otherwise healthy women were gassed because they had children with them, rather than separate them and cause panic they were sent to the gas chambers together.
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