What the Nazis Wanted...

A look into the Cruel Camps of the Holocaust

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Introduction

Camps used by the Nazis during the Holocaust were very barbaric places to be incarcerated. Many people besides Jews were sent away to these camps and tortured just because they believed in something the Nazis did not, or because they were not the Nazi’s vision of an “Aryan.” Statistics show that there were around eleven to thirteen million people were killed by the Nazis. Those who never experienced it just remember the Jews who were imprisoned, but there were people of many different races and social groups that were sent away to the Nazi war camps and mistreated as well.

Types of Camps

There were not just death camps, in fact there were many other types of camps that individuals were sent away to during this time period. In total, there were around 20,000 different camps. Some camps sound less brutal than others, but they all starved the inmates and treated them terribly. The first concentration camps were established in January 1933, soon after Hitler’s appointment as chancellor. People were imprisoned and held in one area for a long period of time. The living conditions were terrible and often made the inmates very sick. Many of the victims died from disease, malnutrition, and exhaustion. People were forced to wear a uniform with a Jewish star on it, even if they were not Jewish. The star was printed on coarse, yellow fabric with a black outlining. In the center the words “Jew” were sewn in with thick black thread. It was worn on the left breast of the inmate. The star’s whole purpose was to mark the people as “inmates” and it was used to make identification easier. The star was also a way for the Nazis to humiliate the victims. The people were looked down upon by all Nazis and they were called “enemies of the state.” The labors and tasks the inmates had to complete were grueling and often had no purpose, it was just satisfying for the Nazis and to make the inmates suffer from exhaustion. Work camps, holding camps, and death camps all became a part of the inmates daily lives. At work camps the victims had to complete strenuous work that was far too difficult for their skill level, as they did at all the camps as well. They worked for nothing, as the work they completed did not benefit the Nazis in the least. The people had to work with their hands in all types of weather, if you were very lucky you were given tools. Death camps were cruel places people were specifically sent to be murdered. The first killing center opened in December 1941. The camp were designed for the efficient mass murder of prisoners. Most people sent here were just shot, but the Nazis had other ideas of torture as well. The most common method- the gas chamber. The gas chamber was a small room that would fill with toxic gas, slowly killing the people inside. Medical experiments were also performed on the imprisoned, killing many inmates as well. Overall, the brutality against civilians was incredible. In addition to the different types of camps, there were many types of torture the people endured while being imprisoned.


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Daily Life at Camps

People were always working in the poor conditions and rarely ever got away from the long, grueling work that was assigned daily at camp. The people had to complete this hard work using their hands and they only got tools if they were lucky. Some of the prisoners worked in factories, but were beaten if their work was not completed on time or they did not work fast enough. They awoke at 4 a.m and headed to breakfast. Breakfast consisted of ten ounces of bread and “coffee.” The breakfast would be the victims only solid meal until the next morning. After breakfast the morning roll call began. Each prisoner lined up in rows of ten. Every inmate was forced to attend, even those who died in the night from sickness, malnutrition, or disease. After morning roll call the people would head towards their work of the day with the rest of their work team. A whistle would symbolize lunchtime, if you did not get to eat, you had to return to work hungry. If victims died while working, survivors were forced to drag the dead bodies back to camp. Finally, when all work was completed, they were allowed to eat dinner. Dinner was soup made up from whatever they had that day. If inmates saved bread from breakfast, they could eat it with dinner. Evening roll call began and then it was off to bed, all to repeat the next day. The victims were forced to live in a very dirty, unsanitary area and often died from sickness and disease. Besides the terrible living conditions that most people believe just Jews went through, many other ethnicities and religions went through as well, not just the Jews.

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People Discriminated Against

Contrary to popular belief, it was not just Jews who were discriminated against. Many other people as well as the Jews were put into camps. If you were not an “Aryan”, the Nazis looked down upon you. This was a very rough time for everyone, they were always on edge and they never knew what would happen next. The people were always alert and on the lookout for the Nazis. Homosexuals, mentally/physically disabled, elderly, and people of African descent were discriminated against as well. Everyone was segregated at camp, but gay men were treated the worst because they were believed to be “weak.” Many of the homosexual men were not actually homosexual, they were just accused of it. African Europeans were experimented on because they were referred to as having “alien blood.” The Nazis wanted to experiment on them to figure out why they were “different” from the other people imprisoned, their experiments never revealed much information, leaving many African Europeans as well as many others to die, which was just what the Nazis wanted to do to these poor people.


Conclusion of the Event

In conclusion, the Holocaust was a very difficult time period in our history. No one knows exactly what went on in those terrible camps, but we can predict the tortures the people experienced while being imprisoned were unthinkable. Besides the Jews, many other social groups, religions, and ethnicities went through the same gruesome tortures as the Jews did. Daily life at camps was very brutal and exhausting. In the end, through the tough time of camps, Nazis, war, and torture, the Holocaust is one of the many events in our history that has shaped how the world is today.