The Holocaust Alphabet http://tinyurl.com/aahmzvv By: B. Wise Bell 5B
Auschwitz - Birkeneau Auschwitz was established in 1940 as a concentration camp for the Poles. Commanding the camp until 1943 was Rudolf Hoess. In 1941, it became a camp for soviet POWS and changed to a death camp in 1942. In October of 1942, Heinrich Himmler ordered Jews from all other camps to be concentrated at Auschwitz. It became a system of camps, created into three main areas. The first area was known as the central camp, containing workshops, the camp commander’s headquarters, administration and Gestapo officers. The second area was where the death camp Birkeneau established, containing four gas chambers. The third area was where the slave labor camp Monowitz established, containing outlying camps where men and women worked as slaves. The area also included industrial enterprises and factories for the German armament program. At Auschwitz, there was a total of five gas chambers. The first gassing experience took place in September of 1941, the victims being Soviet POWS. In the year of 1944, 6,000 Gypsies and one million Jews were gassed. Bauer, Yehuda. A History of the Holocaust. Danbury: A Division of Scholastic Inc, 2001. Print
http://tinyurl.com/a845rx • This photo shows Auschwitz concentration camp taken by Allied reconnaissance units.
Bergen Belsen Bergen Belsen was a concentration camp in Northwest Germany, established in May of 1943. It was originally a Soviet prisoners of war camp but changed into a detention camp by the S.S. It held “Exchange Jews” that the Nazis found could be used for exchanges with Allies. This group consisted mostly of Jews with political or economical connections. Other groups included Jews with passports or South American papers, 4,00 Dutch Jews from Westerbork and a transport of Hungarian Jews. Bergen Belsen was divided into several sub camps. For the first ten months, Bergen Belsens ‘s conditions were than other Nazi camps. Towards 1944, the conditions worsened, becoming like most concentration camps. It included a dumping site for other prisoners. More prisoners arrived when the Russian Army advanced into Poland. In December of 1944, Josef Kramer became camp commandment, creating it into a tougher camp. On April 15, 1945, the British found 60,000 starved and diseased prisoners along with 10,000 unburied, decomposing corpses. Eleven members of the Bergen Belsen staff were sentenced to death in November of 1945 and executed December 12 by the British Military court. Today, Bergen Belsen is now a memorial opened to the public. Wigoder, Geoffrey. “Bergen Belsen.” The Holocaust Volume 1. 1997. Print
http://tinyurl.com/bde33fg This photo shows the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, the date is unknown.
Gypsies The Gypsies were one of the many groups targeted during the Holocaust. Every group was labeled with a symbol or initial, the Gypsies’ being a brown triangle. They were considered the lowest status. In 1935, under Germany’s race laws, they were ranked lower than Jews being considered, “socially inferior,” and, “racially impure.” The name, “Gypsies,” was a phrase given to the Romani people by the Europeans. They were composed of seven distinct tribes, the two largest being Sinti and Roma. They had been experiencing discrimination in Europe since the 1300s. At Auschwitz, they were separated into their own sub camp, consisting of only 16 bar racks. The sub camp was liquidated on July 31, 1944. The 4,000 Gypsies who remained were sent to gas chambers. The estimated number of Gypsies murdered by the Nazis is one million. It was thought that the Nazis killed 20 to 50 percent of the entire European Gypsy population. The extent of the devastation is unknown due to little documented about the Gypsies. Soldinger, Anne. Life in a Nazi Concentration Camp. San Diego: Lucent Book Inc. 2001. Print
http://tinyurl.com/al7bzzm This photo shows the Gypsies standing in front of their tents in Romania.
Kristallnacht Kristallnacht occurred on November 9 and 10 of 1938. It was also known as, “November Pogram,” or,” Night of the Broken Glass.” The, “Broken Glass,” reference comes from the excessive amounts of windows broken by the Nazis. It was launched throughout Germany and Austria after Jewish refugee Hershel Grynszpan shot Ernst VomRath, Germany’s Embassy official. The Nazis in Munich were told the riots would spread but they couldn’t interfere. Instead, they organized and executed them. In total, 815 Jewish shops and 29 warehouses were destroyed. 171 homes of the people were burned down. 91 Jews were killed and 300,000 of them were sent to concentration camps in Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Dachau. The Jews were forced to pay a fine of one million marks for the damages. In 1939, a number of the Jews who were arrested were released and able to leave Germany, resulting in them to give up their property. Many say Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the end of the European Jewry. Wigoder, Geoffrey. “Kristallnacht.” The Holocaust Volume 2. 1997. Print
http://tinyurl.com/akvlq8nThis photo was taken on November 10, 1938. It shows a Jewish shop destroyed.
Sonderkommando Sonderkommando is considered the most horrifying of work forced upon the Jews. It was the name given to the job of a work team that hauled the corpses from the gas chambers to the crematoriums. The workers who were picked were strong, young men. They were told it would be a permanent job with better bar racks and they would be fed well. The work was cut off from the rest of the camp. It was completely isolated to the point where they couldn’t communicate with other prisoners. It took the gas chambers ten minutes to kill 2,000 to 3,000 people. The workers would then have to hook the necks of the corpses with their canes to untangle them. They left the bodies in the corridor. Two other workers would start their work by one shaving off the hair on the corpses and the other would remove gold teeth. The corpses were then taken to fifteen ovens of the crematorium and stacked in layers with wood to burn easier. The prisoners became desensitive and numb to the reality of the sight. Soldinger, Anne. Life in a Nazi Concentration Camp. San Diego: Lucent Book Inc. 2001. Print
http://tinyurl.com/bdtgel3This photo shows Sonderkommando workers at a bone crushing machine at Janowska concentration camp.
Warsaw Ghetto In September of 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland, destroying 80 percent of it. The ghetto was segregated from the city. A ten foot wall stretching eleven miles separated it. Barbed wire and broken glass topped the wall, helping the people to not escape. The ghetto was divided into three sections. The shop section was where the labor began. Stone walls permitted the sections. The second section contained seven German brush making factories for the European Army. The third section was known as the central ghetto. It contained apartment buildings and few factories. The Judenrat headquarters, Jewish councils made by Nazis in different invaded countries, were established there. Landau, Elaine. The Warsaw Ghetto. New York: New Discovery Books, 1992. Print
http://tinyurl.com/b9hpp8cThis photo was taken in May of 1943, showing the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto.