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.