The Holocaust: Buchenwald
Uploaded by Admin on Dec 15, 1999
The Holocaust is the most horrifying crime against humanity of all times. "Hitler, in an attempt to establish the pure Aryan race, decided that all mentally ill, gypsies, non supporters of Nazism, and Jews were to be eliminated from the German population.He proceeded to reach his goal in a systematic scheme." One of his main methods of "doing away" with these "undesirables" was through the use of concentration camps. "In January 1941, in a meeting with his top officials, the 'final solution' was decided". The Jewish population was to be eliminated. In this paper I will discuss concentration camps with a detailed description of the worst one prior to World War II, Buchenwald.
The first concentration camps were set up in 1933. In the early days of Hitler's regime, concentration camps were places that held people in protective custody. Victims for protective custody included those who were either physically or mentally ill, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, Jews and anyone against the Nazi regime. "Gypsies were classified as people with at least two gypsy great grandparents."
By the end of 1933 there were at least fifty concentration camps throughout occupied Europe. "At first, the camps were controlled by the Gestapo (police), but by 1934 the SS, Hitler's personal security force, were ordered, by Hitler, to control the camps."
Camps were set up for several different purposes. Some for forced labor, others for medical experiments and, later on, for death/extermination. Transition camps were set up as holding places for death camps.
"Henrick Himmler, chief of the German police, the Gestapo, thought that the camps would provide an economic base for the soldiers." This did not happen. The work force was poorly organized and working conditions were inhumane. Therefore, productivity was minimal.
Camps were set up along railroad lines, so that the prisoners would be conveniently close to their destination. As they were being transported, the soldiers kept telling the Jews to have hope. When the camps were finally opened, most of the families who were shipped out together ended up being separated. Often, the transports mirrored what went on in the camps; cruelty by the officers, near starvation of those being transported, fetid and unsanitary conditions on the trains. "On the trains, Jews were starved of food and water...