Holocaust: Belzek and Other Concentration Camps

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In “The Holocaust camps” by: Ann Byers it talks about how Adolf Hitler became the dictator of Germany. It then goes on to tell the readers how he uses the power he has against the Jews, that he has a very strong feeling of hatred towards. Hitler’s plan of destroying all the Jews and Dehumanizing them was definitely completed. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust at the concentration camps that Adolf Hitler used his power to create. This all started after World War one.

After World War one every nation had hatred towards others. The hatred led to Nationalism, ethnic division, and militarism. Europe was left completely broken physically, emotionally and economically. Every road, building, bridge and train was destroyed. Germany was blamed for the war and was told to pay for all damages, and take full responsibility for the war. All the while this was happening Adolf Hitler was in prison writing his autobiography “Mein Kampf” where he discovered his hatred for Jews.

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Hitler had the philosophy that all Jews were evil and inferior. He said that they were “unclean, subhuman, like maggots in a rotting body (13)”. Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933 where he began the creation of the concentration camps. The enable act was created which meant that Hitler could do whatever he wants while in power and no one will stop him. With the enable act Adolf Hitler became the complete dictator of Germany. When Hitler invaded Russia on June 1941 it became a turning point not only for concentration camps but the war.

Among the concentration camps were death camps, labor camps, and experimentation camps. In labor camps they would dig in mines for metals to make into weapons. Some camps built warplanes and automobiles for Bavarian Motor camps. Workers made bombs that would destroy homes and dynamite to be used on countrymen. Workers would also repair bridges, roads, airfields, and railroad tracks. Weapon making was the most common job among the laborers. There was very harsh conditions in the Labor camps thousands died because the buildings had no heat, blankets and barely enough clothes. There servings of food was extremely small and thousands died from starvation. The camps were filthy, overcrowded and had illness all through it causing thousands of men and women to die.

The concentration camp prisoners at Mauthausen were forced to carry heavy stones weighing around 60 pounds to and from a certain place for six days a week. They did all this barefoot. Prisoners at Dachau were whipped if they did not work fast enough. Auschwitz prisoners lived no longer than three or four months. Majority of the prisoners died from exhaustion. The camp personnel is what made all the labor camps death camps. They would work the prisoners until they died of “natural causes”. If any of the prisoners showed weakness they would be whipped, beaten, and kicked to work harder. If the personnel thought they were too weak to do work they would tie the prisoners hands together and hang them from a tree or pole, by their wrists.

The Dachau camp prisoners would be forced to march into lakes until they died of natural causes, if they showed any weakness to work in the camp. If one prisoner tried to escape they would kill that person and twenty five others so they would not try escaping. To escape the torture many jumped into electric fences or hung themselves. The graves in Dachau were so full they built a crematorium in 1940. A crematorium is a building with giant ovens that other prisoners would burn other dead prisoners so they would be turned to ash. The rise of death in every concentration camp it made the industry known as the Death brigade.

The extermination camps was created for the soul purpose of killing. A Nazi doctrine of Aryan made a classification of people he said were unfit. Unfit meant mentally ill, handicapped, and even the old people. Six euthanasia centers were made throughout Germany to kill the said unfit people. Fifty thousand people were unfit, killed, and cremated. Four extermination camps were built in 1941 and 1942 because they recognized that it was less messy than mass executions. The code name to these extermination camps was Operation Reinhard, after Reinhard Heydrich. Reinhard Heydrich was responsible for the final solution, which was to eliminate all Jews.

Doctors were experimenting with cyanide and carbon monoxide, with this experimenting came the first extermination camp. It was located in a small village of Chelmno. It was given the nickname palace because it looked like a mansion in a small isolated village. Trucks brought prisoners right up to the gate of the palace because killing was to happen immediately. All the passengers would get into a van, there were 5 total that held one hundred to one hundred and fifty each. After the people were in the vans they would release carbon monoxide exhaust in the area with the passengers, killing them when they breathed it in. Most of the vans were made to look like Mercy trucks or Red cross trucks, so the prisoners would not expect anything. The very first operation took place on December 8th 1941. The trenches where they threw the dead into was completely filled and the stench was unbarble, so they built a crematorium to hide the stench and burn the bodies.

The second extermination camp was opened on March 17th 1942. It was called Belzec. In Belzec there was three gas chambers and three wooden barracks. They were made to look like bathhouses that held seven hundred and fifty each. By that summer there were six gas chambers. In November 1942 five hundred thousand people were killed in just eight months. It took the workers seven months to dispose of the bodies by burning them.

There were many extermination camps, labor camps, and death camps. In every one of the concentration camps thousands of people died. Hitler used his power of chancellor of Germany to become dictator. He made laws so that in the future no one could stop him for what he knew was going to happen to thousands of people. No one will ever forget the Horrible things people went through because of Adolf Hitler.   

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