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Behind the Barbed Wire: Auschwitz

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The train comes squealing to a stop at the station. Hundreds of Jews with all the belongings that they can fit into a suitcase with them exit a tightly packed train car. Immediately they are sorted into two groups. One heads into the heart of the camp to start a life of hard labor. The other goes to ‘disinfecting’. They are happy, cheerful, and suspect nothing as they approach the ‘showers’ for disinfecting. After they have rid themselves of their clothes, jewelry, and belongings, they enter the showers and are immediately locked in. They begin to feel suspicious and afraid, but by now, it is far too late for them to do anything. As the small pellets rain down from the roof, the terror builds to an unspeakable level. They try anything they can think of to get out. Screaming, clawing, praying, or pounding, anything goes. Slowly they begin to die. After about twenty minutes, it is all over. Sadly, this was a daily event at many concentration camps during the Holocaust. At Auschwitz, an occurrence such as this happened multiple times every day. Auschwitz was a designated death factory, killing thousands every day. Although there were many concentration camps during the Holocaust, the most notorious camp was Auschwitz.
Many people know a little about Auschwitz, but few know when Auschwitz was actually built or opened, or about it’s history before it became a death camp. Construction of Auschwitz I started in early 1940, and the camp itself was opened in the middle of 1940.(5) Sub camps Auschwitz II and Auschwitz III were opened in 1942. (4) The first prisoners in Auschwitz I were not Jews, but prisoners of war, such as Poles, and soviet Russians.(1,2) In September of 1941, the first prisoners were killed using a makeshift gas chambe...

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