HOLOCAUST : A Life into the Horrors

HOLOCAUST … what comes to your mind when you hear this word. Is it some images, some faces or some voices … or nothing because you know about it only as one of the many topics of History. Well … if you ask this question from one of the Holocaust survivor or his descendants you can’t even imagine how horrific responses you will get. Can you imagine sleeping on a broken barrack or surviving on just half a bread each day. So, on account of that based on some of their responses I am trying to present a picture depicting the lives of those inside the Holocaust.

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History of the Camps

The first Nazi concentration camp was set up in Dachau in march 1933 but by the end of second World War Nazis had well over 40000 concentration camps filled mostly with Jews. It was basically a place to stock over the Jews of the country … or in the Nazi language the burden and garbage of the country and kill them in a state sponsored way. AUCHWITZ … most of you must have heard the name, it was a complex of over 40 Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Inside a camp, there was a hierarchical identity system. Those belonging to upper class got better treatment and were given less laborious work such as administrative work while those belonging to lower class were embedded with heavily demanding jobs like construction work, factory work and mining.

The mortality rate was also higher among the lower class prisoners only, due to excessive fatigue, stress and torture. Looking at the hierarchy within the camp. At the top level there was a hierarchy of commanders headed by LAGERKOMMANDANT (camp commander) who would have a number of junior commanders, guards and wardens under him. Even amongst Prisoners there were some ‘KAPOS’ appointed by commanders only who were the senior and so called elite prisoners usually from upper class who controlled the prisoners and even had the key to life or death of them. I think that post was made to ensure that even when commanders are not around, the abuses and torture on the lower class prisoners continue.

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The Daily Routine of a Prisoner

The life of a prisoner can’t even be imagined by us sitting in a relaxed position today. An early wakeup at around 4 to 4:30 am was followed by arranging bed’s straw, cleaning barracks and then cleaning themselves, all this in just 35-40 minutes. Though that ‘Cleaning themselves’ part was just for namesake as there were around 2000 prisoners sharing just one ‘so called’ toilet which didn’t even had clean water, toilet paper or a soap. All this while slowing down meant getting punishment. After that they had to form the line and go for a morning roll call (just to take a count how many died during the night), for which they had to stand completely straight for hours and again ….. collapsing meant getting punished. Then they marched for hard and forced labor, bare footed for kilometers for the work which was really hostile and extremely torturous in nature.

Purposefully too much burden was put on one person, so that upon failing on it they can again be brutally punished. All this resulted in many dying out on the field out of fatigue. All this while, during the work the prisoners were not free from the torture and violence of SS Men (Schutzstaffel; a major paramilitary army founded by Adolf Hitler under his Nazi Germany) as during the course of work they were often abused, humiliated and even forced to sing such songs that belittles them and other prisoners … as it amused the SS Men. After the day’s work ended around 5-6 pm the prisoners marched back to camp, after working more than 10 hours, again in a line for yet another roll call (again to count how many died during the course of the day). The day ended at around 9pm for them after which the lights were switched off and the prisoners used to go into their ‘so called’ beds which was nothing but broken barracks.

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First of all, the point to be noted here is that the SS themselves treated the prisoners as nothing more than hardcore Enemies who deserved nothing more than brutality and torture. As a result, prisoners used to sleep in in broken-barracks, under leaking roofs, sometimes even on muddy floors that too without even a Blanket. The living place was just way too overcrowded, foul smelled and even lacked sanitation, deadly conditions especially for Diarrhea patients. At worse, some prisoners were even thrown away to sleep in flimsy tents or damp tunnels. Interestingly, as a fact the prisoners also had a currency amongst themselves and that was … Cigarette. While 12 cigarettes fetched a loaf of bread, it took to 400 cigarettes to be collected for getting an alcohol bottle. Not just this, evidence is present to show that during wars the rations of the prisoners were cut down and they were torturously starved. While all this if any prisoner got ill, he was deported to die in separate Extermination camps or executed down there only, but in no way did they got any medical treatment. Hunger and Disease also ensured that most of the alive prisoners rot into Skeletons. All the prisoners who died were loaded in trucks like a pile of garbage and then thrown away into a separate camp made particularly for that purpose.

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After doing all this all they got was a ONE time ‘so called’ food comprising dilute vegetable soup and half a piece of bread. Initially they had to walk back the whole distance and then go back to work after eating. But after some time lunch was started to be brought straight to the prisoners, not to comfort them but so that some more of the prisoner’s time could be assigned for work.


For the purpose of executing the prisoners … well, the conditions did half the job but even after this if someone was found revolting, escaping or just disobeying he was straightaway shot down or hanged publicly so that no one else dares to repeat the same mistake again.

Conclusion : Salute to the Martyrs and Lesson to Us

Well … what can I conclude in this story … except the fact that anyone who survived all this must be a Superhuman. Frankly tell me, how many of you think that you could have survived this if you were a Jew and your answer will itself show the enigmatic nature of the lives of these people. What we have to keep in mind is the psychological strength that was put on display by them and how they somehow kept their identity alive through writings on scrap papers or walls. But, at the same time all those who died … it doesn’t mean that they were weak or didn’t put on a fight. At last I would like to salute all the Bravehearts and hope that they all Rest In Peace and I wish no one ever goes through what they did.

This Story tells us that what can a human be transformed into blinded by HATRED. What happened inside the Holocaust is not that big a matter than the fact that the people outside were made to believe that this is deserved to be done in the name of Nationalism … that was the level of Hate prevalent regarding the Jews. Since in our country also nowadays some super smart people believing in such ideologies are sitting at the very top putting in place quite a few Detention centers and bringing up dividing policies in place. Do I even need to tell which community is being filled with poison against in the name of Nationalism here and who is behind all this. Well … I just hope that History doesn’t remember similar kind of scenes over the name of our country ever.

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