Concentration Camps

By: Isabelle Winters

The first concentration camp in the Nazi system-

Dachau, opened in March, 1933. By September 1st, 1939, the Nazi’s made a massive system of more than twenty-thousand camps that stretched across Germany and around that area. The majority of prisoners were Jews, but people were also taken and put in a camp for a variety of reasons. If they were Jews, their political views, people of physical irregularity, or if they didn’t meet the standards. Prisoners were subjected to unimaginable terrors from the moment they arrived in the camps. These camps were used for a range of purposes including forced-labor camps, transit camps which served as temporary way stations, and killing centers built just for mass murder. The Holocaust, 1933 through 1945, during that time millions of people were killed, and many more were beaten and experienced torture. If you weren’t killed, you’d be sent to a camp, where life itself would never be the same. Millions walked into the concentration camps but only a few walked out.

Concentration Camp Schedule-

4 am- You are awakened by the kapo. A kapo or prisoner functionary was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by the guards to supervise forced labor or carry out administrative tasks in the camp. You must raise, find your shoes, but maybe somebody stole them which often means death because you'll not be able to work and start as soon as possible. 5 am- A kapo gives you approximately 10 ounces of bread and some "coffee". Sometimes, if you are lucky, you'll receive some margarine or a thin slice of sausage with your bread. The "coffee" is tasteless. No sugar and no milk, of course. The bread you just received will be the only solid food you'll receive until tomorrow. If you have strength of will, you'll try to spare it for the rest of the day. After “breakfast: all the prisoners are lined up in rows of ten. 6 am- All the prisoners must be at the roll call, including the ones who died during the night. During roll call prisoners would have to stand still, wearing very thin clothing, in all weathers and for hours on end. 7 am- You run to join your work team. If you are lucky, you have received a good tool, a shovel or a pickaxe. Otherwise, you'll have to work with your hands, and this may mean death because you'll not be able to work as fast as the guards request. The day will be long as much as 12-14 hours of work. The work is very hard, and often useless, sometime you would have to move heavy sand bags from one point to another, to extract and carry heavy stones, to dig trenches or to bore a tunnel. 12 pm to 12:30 pm- A whistle was blown to call the prisoners A signaling whistle again, the "lunch break" is now over. The work starts again, always working hard. The afternoon seems harder because you are hungry and you feel you are losing strength. If a prisoner faints and the guards beat him up. If this poor man can't rise, he'll be killed and you'll have to bring his poor body back to the camp, for the evening roll call. 5 pm- A last signaling whistle: your work team walks back to the camp, and the survivors are carrying bodies of the prisoners who died today. All the prisoners are lined up by rows of ten. The kapos are counting the prisoners and the dead. After several hours, the evening roll call is over. After evening roll call you run in order to receive your "dinner": a kind of "soup", just like the one you received at noon. You return to your barrack. The barrack basically is a five person bed with only one blanket. In no way you are allowed to leave the barrack during the night. The guards at all times are waiting for you and your fellow prisoners.

Death-

The Nazis constructed gas chambers, which were rooms that filled with poison gas to kill those inside that would increase killing efficiency. During the height of deportations to the camp, up to 6,000 Jews were gassed there each day. burning pits, murder sheds, “showers”, they would lure hundreds of people into a wooden building and spray it with a flammable liquid, then they would torch the place, men with shotguns would wait outside the building where if any people tried to escape they would immediately be shot. The camp was surrounded by thirteen-foot-tall electrically charged barbed wire fences, of miles of canals, and of watchtowers soaring above and on alert all hours.

Work-

Depending on the type of camp, prisoners were assigned to a whole range of different duties. Some remained inside the camp working on a variety of jobs, from administration tasks to heavy manual labor. Most prisoners worked outside the camps in one the many factories, construction projects, farms or coal mines. They would quite often have to walk several kilometers to their place of work. Guarded men watched you work while you work and make sure that you are on work throughout the day. They were selected for each job they had to do by the. Depending on the type of camp, prisoners were assigned to a whole range of different duties. Some remained inside the camp working on a variety of jobs, from administration tasks to heavy manual labor. Most prisoners worked outside the camps in one the many factories, construction projects, farms or coal mines. They would quite often have to walk almost a mile their place of work. Because of the way the schedule was laid out the prisoners worked around 12 or more hours each day. After a hard day’s work the men, women, and children would have hardly enough dinner to nourish their starving bodies, then after their exhausting day they would get only few hours of sleep. Many times because of the frightful living conditions lots of people would die within the first few weeks they were there.

Surviving the camps-

There are few survivors from these concentration camps. It is a shame that human beings had to go through such torture. There are so many unanswered questions still to this day. How can the Nazi armies live with themselves for killing so many innocent people? Due from these concentration camps, survivors today will tell their tragedies that had happened to them so other people can relive the story too. Because of the schedule of the concentration camps that lead to unfair, and extreme work. If one of the prisoners didn’t do their work fast enough for didn’t follow directions that lead to death.