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Ghettos and Concentration Camps during the Holocaust

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Katharine Mulfinger

on 4 March 2013

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Transcript of Ghettos and Concentration Camps during the Holocaust

Ghettos and Concentration Camps during the Holocaust By Mrs. Mulfinger Things to Remember:
1. Those who propagated (caused)“Final Solution” had advanced degrees
2. Holocaust displays what human beings are capable of doing to other human beings
3. Nazi camp system enormous – 100’s of sub camps
4. Camp system evolved
*Different camps established for different reasons
*Camps originally for Communists, political prisoners – not for Jews
*After Kristallnacht, began putting in ppl b/c of religion
5. Holocaust full of choice-less choices Vocabulary

Ghetto – sections of towns and cities that the German authorities and their allies used to concentrate, exploit, and starve regional Jewish populations

Concentration camp – camps established by Nazi regime, which eventually became a major instrument of terror, control, punishment, and killing performed through both deliberate means as well as attrition by hunger and/or disease

Dehumanization – intended to change the manner in which a person or group of people are perceived – reduce them to objects not worthy of human rights

Euphemism – substituting an expression for one that is harsh or offensive
Example: “passed away” instead of “died”

Selection – a euphemism for the process carried out by German physicians to select victims for extermination or forced labor 1933 1945 1939 1942 Holocaust Timeline *March – Himmler establishes 1st concentration camp @ Dachau *September – Ghettos established in occupied Poland *January – Wannsee Conference (led to liquidation of ghettos and extermination of Jews extensively)
*Extermination camps begin operation January – Nazis empty Auschwitz – begin death march – 10 days later Auschwitz liberated by Soviets
April 30 – Hitler commits suicide
May 7 – Germany surrenders Ghettos Concentration Camps Broken people,
Walking along the street.
The transport is leaving for Poland.

Old ones go, and young ones go.
Healthy ones go, and sick ones go,
Not knowing if they will survive.
Transport “A” went.
And more went too.
Thousands died
And nothing helped.
The German weasel
Wants more and more blood.

-Zdenek Weinberger, Theresienstadt ghetto, occupied Czechoslovakia, age 12, ca. 1942-1944 What do you think you know about ghettos? Death Camps Some information about ghettos:
Ghettos - a concentrated area in a city that housed Jews
Lack of food
Lack of living space
Poor living conditions
Term originated in 1516, Venice
First ghetto in Poland, 1939
Three types: open, closed, destruction
Goal of Nazis was to deprive Jews of human rights & human dignity - central step for control, dehumanization, & mass murder
Jews required to wear armbands or badges
Many used as forced labor
Judenraete (Jewish council)
Under control of German authorities
Established to solve so-called "Jewish problem" - place to put Jews - remember, did not begin with killings So, why did Jews not escape?
Choice-less choices
Jews did not know eventual fate - Germans camouflaged their actions
Ghetto conditions
Malnourished, ill
Little to no strength
Responsibility to care for family
Where to go? Some information about concentration camps:
Concentration camp - camp where people are detained or confined, usually under harsh circumstances
First camp - Dachau - established in 1933 - was a camp for political dissidents - place of punishment
Became slave labor
Eventually, ppl needed to keep economy going, so treated a little differently – death did not come as quickly
Camp uniforms
Take away individuality
Escape difficult
Not all Jews the same
Diff. languages, cultures, foods, etc.
Those who lived did not “follow the rules”
Found innovative ways to liveRight-place-at-the-right-time, but had to take advantage of situation Concentration Camp Rules
*didn't necessarily have to be followed*

Punishments allowed at any time are: beatings, drilling, no mail or food, tying to stakes, reprimands, and warnings.

3 days solitary confinement for anyone who:
Does not get up at once, or does not keep his bed or room in proper order.
Takes a second helping of food without permission, or allows the cook to give him two helpings.

5 days solitary confinement (and a whipping of 25 strokes before and after) for anyone who:
Sits or lies on his bed during the day without permission.

8 days solitary confinement (and a whipping of 25 strokes before and after) for anyone who:
Makes ironical remarks about an SS officer, or who does not show respect or in any other way does not do as he is told.
Given authority by the SS, abuses this by favoring, making false reports on, or tyrannizing other prisoners.

The following will be hanged:
Anyone who, at any point, discusses politics; forms a political group; loiters with others; collects true or false information about the concentration camps or takes such information, buries it, passes it on to others, smuggles it out of the camp, discusses it after release, or gets it outside the camp by throwing it over the wall; tries, by climbing onto barrack roofs or up trees, to contact the outside world with signals, lights, or so on; tries to escape, commit a crime, or persuade anyone else to do so.
Anyone who attacks a guard or SS man; refuses to obey an order; encourages mutiny; leaves a marching column or place of work; shouts, agitates, or makes speeches on the march or at work.

Shuter, Jane. The Camp System. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library, 2003. Some things about death camps:
"Only" six killing centers
Final Solution came about (1940) b/c countries not accepting JewsAll death camps in Poland – none in Germany
Most Jews in Poland
Nazis could do as pleased - Poles considered inferior
Nazis did not want camps on own land Death camps are just that - places for death. So, who was charged?
SS persecuted but Wehrmacht not
Soviets still enemy after WWII (Cold War) – why would they be tried?
Why would Americans try Germans for war crimes when Germany is now an ally against Soviets?
Nuremberg Trials
"I was only following orders"?
More politics than morality Aktion Reinhard camps
Named after Reinhard Heydrich
1.5 million ppl killed @ these camps Belzec
One of three Operation Reinhard camps
Strictly a killing center
over 400,000 ppl murdered in six months
Tracks are directly next to camp - ppl got off, taken immediately to gas chambers - had no chance of survival
Only a few kept as slave laborers - for only a few months
Construction began on November 1, 1941
Gassing operations began on March 17, 1942
July 1942 - Polish underground reports what's happening to Allies - distrust and doubt - nothing done to warn Jews in surrounding ghettos Camp halted in December 1942 because:
No longer needed - destroyed Polish Jewry
Had to deal with Soviets - they fought back when not expected
Nazis destroyed the camp
People in area knew what was going on - camp was right there
No Jews living in area now Auschwitz-Birkenau Majdanek
Zyklon B used here 1st to disinfect clothing, not as killing agent - later used in gas chambers
Materials from Operation Reinhard camps brought here & slave laborers sorted them
So much that there were also hangers used to store things
Himmler terrified of revolt b/c ppl would escape - if escape, then talk
In one day, 18,000 ppl killed - shot Majdanek Camp Conditions
Camp constantly under construction
Oct. 1941: Soviet POW's here first; two months later, Jews arrived
Prisoners constantly rerouted from other camps to Majdanek
SS shot prisoners too weak to work
1942: "Final Solution" implemented - transformed into death camp
July 1944: liberated by Soviets - first major camp to be liberated Largest concentration camp
Placed specifically b/c of train system
Only place where prisoners tattooed
Way to identify bodies - camp clothing w/ # usually removed
Only prisoners selected for work given #'s - those sent directly to gas chambers not registered
Began as place for political prisoners, 1940
Gas chambers added in 1942 (Birkenau) - two functions at one camp
Over 40 satellite camps People not supposed to survive this place
Here to serve "greater good" of Third Reich
Work until no longer "useful"
Escape Auschwitz?
Where go? German territory & loyalty
Skin & bones - weak
Security high
Familial punishment - if Polish prisoner escaped, family arrested & sent here
Visibly different - diff. skin color, language
Around 25% arrivals kept - rest sent to gas chambers
To keep ppl calm, told going to showers & then were gassed
Crematoriums what prevented more killings
Around 1.1 million people killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau Survival depended much on work assignment
Indoors had greater chance of survival
Skilled workers had greater chance of survival
Had to find other food - those living only off of rations would die within three months
Guards used fear to keep order - 70-80 prisoners per guard, so used punishment to instill fear
Germans not doing much here - most things done by prisoners In Barracks...
600-700 people in one barrack
6,000-7,000 people using one sanitation place - people from other barracks shared
Only use twice a day - often not much time
Barracks designed in Germany - originally designed for 52 horses Selection
Those "fit for labor" to right
"Unfit for labor" sent to left
Immediately sent to gas chambers - disguised as showers
Mothers with children automatically sent to gas chambers - sometimes older women would take children so mothers given chance to live
Belongings taken to "Canada" - warehouses for shipment to Germany - Canada represented wealth to prisoners Nazis planned on camps & slave laborers to be part of system
Wanted to make permanent
Expand & conquer others - enslave other groups after destroyed Jewish population Warsaw Ghetto
Largest ghetto in Poland (400,000 in 1.3 miles)
30% population (350,000) - largest Jewish community in Europe & second only to New York City
October 1940 - ghetto established
November 1940 - ghetto sealed off
Welfare organizations active
Ringelblum archives (milk cans)
Mass deportations to Treblinka & killings inside ghetto
January 1943 - small uprising
April 19, 1943 - Warsaw ghetto uprising - organized resistance
Finally liberated on January 17, 1945 by Soviets
Only 6% of population left in city; 11, 500 Jews The "Final Solution"
Wannsee Conference - Jan. 20, 1942
Conference lasted 90 minutes
Systematic, deliberate, physical destruction of European Jews
Did not discuss whether to implement plan; rather, discussed HOW it would be implemented U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger Photo by Katharine Mulfinger US Holocaust Memorial Museum Ghettos and Concentration Camps
Works Cited

“Concentration Camp System: In Depth.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 11 May 2012. Web. 23 February 2013.

“Extermination Camps in Occupied Poland.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Map. Web. 23 February 2013.

“Ghettos.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 11 May 2012. Web. 23 February 2013.

“Ghettos in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe: 1941-44.” Map. Week 10: The Final Solution. Web. 23 February 2013.

Jacob, Lili. "Birkenau, Poland, Women pronounced fit for labor..." Photograph. Web. 28 February 2013.
---"Birkenau, Poland, An elderly Jewish woman supervising young children..." Photograph. Web. 28 February 2013.
---"Birkenau, Poland, Men pronounced fit for labor in camp uniform..." Photograph. Web. 28 February 2013.
---"Birkenau, Poland, Unloading personal belongings from trucks..." Photograph. Web. 28 February 2013.
---"Birkenau, Poland, Jewish mothers and their children walking to the gas chambers." Photograph. Web. 28 February 2013.

Kulturbesitz, Bildarchiv Preussischer. “ Warsaw-Photograph.” Photograph. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 23 February 2013.

Piorotte, Julia. “Marseille 1942-Boy and bread.” Postcard. Jewish Historical Institute.
---“Marseille 1943 – Mother with children.” Postcard. Jewish Historical Institute.
---“Marseille 1943 – Boy.” Postcard. Jewish Historical Institute.

Sawicki, Pawel. “Auschwitz I – Eyeglasses.” Postcard. Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum.
---“Auschwitz II-Birkenau – Interior of a wooden barracks.” Postcard. Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum.
---“Auschwitz II-Birkenau – Latrines in the women’s camp.” Postcard. Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum.
---“Auschwitz II-Birkenau – Interior of a brick barracks.” Postcard. Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum.
---“Auschwitz I – Interior of the gas chamber.” Postcard. Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum.
---“Auschwitz I – Canisters that contained Zyklon B.” Postcard. Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum.

US Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Photograph.” Photograph. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 23 February 2013.

Lewin, Ellis. USC Shoah Foundation. Video. Web. 28 February 2013.

“Warsaw.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 11 May 2012. Web. 23 February 2013. Underline anything that describes what life was like
in this particular ghetto (Kaukazus). Testimony clip - Ellis Lewin
How does Ellis describe the pace at which things moved when the train arrived at Auschwitz? Why does he think the Germans moved things at such a rapid pace?

Why didn't Ellis's father want Ellis to hang on to him?

What is Ellis's last image of his mother? Testimony Clip
After listening to Itka, what visual picture emerges for you about life in the extermination camps?

What are some examples of daily humiliation and intimidation that camp prisoners had to endure?

What experience does Nathan Offen share in his testimony?

Nathan continues to show emotion while he recounts experiences in his testimony. Why do you think after so many years he continues to convey such great emotion?
Full transcript