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I can tell you what it was like in the concentration camps... lice everywhere. there was very little food and water and you could not showere. the disgusting smell was everywhere and you could not escape death. you had to work hard every day and there were big roll-calls which lasted for hours. any objections and you would be killed. it was much, much worse and i cannot find the right words to explain but that should give you a brief outline of what it was like.

It seemed very sad to have no parents and expect you treacherous death soon after.

The conditions for the prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps were horrible. The Germans treated the imprisoned people as if they were animals, instead of living, breathing humans. The lives of the prisoners were never-ending nightmares. The nightmare began the moment they first stepped onto the train.

Cattle cars, freight cars, and passenger trains were used to transport people to the Nazi concentration camps. People were herded into the cars by German soldiers. Only thirty or forty people could comfortably fit into the cars, but the soldiers kept packing the cars until it was filled to at least twice its capacity. There was only standing room inside, and there were no restrooms in the cars. People were forced to urinate and defecate on themselves during the long trip to the concentration camp. Often, the train ride would last several days and nights, and there was little food or water available to the passengers. When the train would stop occasionally, a soldier would pass a bucket of water inside the train, but the people nearest the door would drink it all. There was no fresh air circulating inside the terribly hot car, and the stench in the air was unbearable. Many people died during the trip because of the heat and lack of food and water.

Upon arrival at the camps, things got even worse. At many of the camps, Auschwitz specifically, the people were divided into groups as they exited the train. The strong and able people were sent to one line and the weak people, including children and the elderly, and many women, were sent to the other line. Large boxes were set out, and people were instructed to give up their valuables. Those who did not willingly give up their belongings were beaten badly. Then, the weak people were sent off to a building, where they were told they would be receiving a shower. The people were stripped down naked and herded into the "showers." They crowded underneath the spouts and were showered with either carbon monoxide or Zyklon B, which is a form of crystalline prussic acid, which was also used as an insecticide in some concentration camps. The bodies were then burned up in the crematorium.

The stronger people were stripped of their clothing and taken to real showers. After the shower, which was usually ice-cold, a guard came by and doused the prisoners' heads with a chemical to kill the lice. Lice were rampant in the camps. Another guard put the chemical on the prisoners' underarms, and another guard shaved their heads. The hair was used for ship rope and mattresses.

When that was finished, the prisoners were given a set of clothing, which consisted of one pair of shoes, a pair of underwear, a shirt, a pair of pants, and a jacket. The prisoners traded sizes with each other so that they could have a set that fit as well as possible. Then they were lined up to be tattooed. Their camp identification numbers were tattooed on their forearms. Their loss of identity was then complete. Each person would be identified only by his or her number from that point on.

The prisoners were then assigned to barracks. The bunks that they slept in had three tiers, and the mattresses were burlap filled with straw. The straw was often rotten and fermented, and the barracks were crawling with lice, fleas, and other creatures.

For the prisoners, the day began between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., when they had to report outside for roll call. Outside, they were counted. If the officer in charge lost count, then he started over. Often, the prisoners had to stand outside for hours at a time.

Then it was time for breakfast, which consisted of a slice of bread and a cup of coffee made of ground-up acorns and water. The midday meal was soup made of potato peels and beets, and dinner was another slice of bread. People in the camps were dying of starvation. There was never enough food. Some ate grass and roots to try to stay alive.

Many prisoners were forced to do labor. They had to lay sod, dig drainage ditches, work in factories, unload gravel and coal from trains, and do other hard labor. Those who could not complete their tasks were brutally beaten. During the harsh winter, labor was especially difficult. The prisoners would be forced to work in below-freezing weather; many froze to death. No one tried to escape because the camps were surrounded by electrically charged barbed wire.

Some prisoners were not even aware that they were at an extermination camp. The Germans took great care to paint the Red Cross symbol on their vehicles so that the prisoners and airplanes overhead would not know that they were transporting poisonous gas to kill prisoners.

The guards were very cruel to the prisoners. Beatings were frequent, and the guards would often amuse themselves by threatening the prisoners. They would say that at the end of the day, all of the prisoners would be gassed because no more workers were needed.

Every few months, there would be a "selection." That was where officials came into the barracks and picked out the prisoners who looked too weak to be of any use. The next morning, the trucks would come and take those prisoners directly to the crematorium.

Millions of people died in the concentration camps because of starvation, overcrowding, disease, exposure to cold, and the brutality of the Germans. People died by the thousands in the gas chambers and mass execution by a firing squad. Dead bodies were stacked like firewood, and every twenty-four hours a truck would come by to pick them up. The bodies were buried in enormous mass graves or burned in the crematorium.

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2010-03-16 01:55:21
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