The other day, we went to Auschwitz, Poland, a concentration camp used in World War 2 to exterminate thousands of Jews. I learned that in WW2, the Nazis killed off six million Jews. in Auschwitz they killed one million. Auschwitz was the worst concentration camp because of all the Jews the Nazis killed.
There were a few different ways people would die at Auschwitz: starvation, freezing, experiments conducted on them by the Nazis, gas chambers, dehydration, being shot, suffocating, and drowning. I learned that the Nazis gave the residents of Auschwitz clothes made out of human hair. They would shave the people that were going into the gas chambers and then use the hair to make clothes. The Jews also got wooden shoes. After the people arrived, they had to stand out in the snow with these clothes on, sometimes for four hours so that the guards could count them.
Only one man ever escaped from Auschwitz, after nine hundred tried. He took a bicycle from one of the guards, and when none of the guards were looking, he made a run for it. Several families gave the man shelter, but later he was caught and the Nazis shot him.
On the front gate of Auschwitz, there was a sign that said ARBEIT MACHT FREI which means work sets you free. The Nazis were obviously lying though because not very many people were set free, and if they were, it was definitely not because they worked hard at the camp.
The Nazis made the gas chamber for newcomers to look like a shower room. There were shower heads and nozzles that made it look exactly like they were about to have a nice warm shower. The guards would tell the newcomers that they were going to be cleaned so that they didn’t spread disease, but they were taken into a gassing room. And when all the screaming and moving stopped, the guards would go in and retrieve the bodies.
At the next camp 2 kilometers away called Birkenau, we learned that it was 25 times bigger than Auschwitz. This camp took 3 years to build, which is more than half the time that the war went on. This camp was started to be used before it was finished, so there was no water. They started sending women there, and if they were lucky, they would live 5 months at that camp. None of the women escaped the camps when it had no water because they all died of dehydration.
We went into the barracks, where there were lots of queen size beds inside. These beds didn’t have mattresses and they were like bunk beds. They were made out of dirt and wood and the bottom beds had rats. They would have up to ten women per bed. Imagine having ten full-grown people on your parent’s bed. That’s what this is like, but back then, starvation diarrhea was real. So now imagine your parent’s bed covered in diarrhea with ten people in it. Now that would be hard.