Holocaust Survivors Biographies
While many Jews, gypsies, liberals, homosexuals, clergies and political prisoners perished in the Holocaust, there were others who managed to make a miraculous escape from the concentration camps that dotted Europe. Many of these Holocaust survivors have penned down biographies and it is through them that common man was informed about the atrocities perpetrated by Nazi Germany. One such Holocaust survivors biography was penned by a person named Rudy.
Here is an excerpt from Rudy's biography that talks about the miserable conditions that he and his family had to face in Auschwitz.
Rudy along with his family were incarcerated in a ghetto for nearly 2 years, and thereafter the family was informed that they would be moving to the east. The family along with other Jewish people was loaded onto cattle cars, which were then sealed. The car in which Rudy was had around eighty to hundred other people. Rudy's family thought that it would be better to cooperate with the SS than jumping off the car. They assumed that they would be freed.
The people in the freight cars were taken to Auschwitz, Poland, the most dreaded concentration camp. The people in the cars were asked to come out, but were instructed to leave their luggage behind. However, they did not leave them behind. The people were marched into the camp that had an electrical fence as well as guard towers. What Rudy and his family did not realize was that they had made their way into a death camp.
In the camp, the people were asked to place their valuables into large boxes. Those who resisted were beaten by the guards. The men and women were separated and then moved the Camp B. The barracks to house the prisoners consisted of bunks that had burlap sacks filled with straw.
The inmates were given 2 slices of bread for breakfast every day along with coffee made from ground toasted acorns. In the afternoon, the meal consisted of a potato soup and some times the prisoners got some meat. The evening meal consisted of 2 plain slices of bread. The kind of food that the prisoners got in Auschwitz caused large scale starvation amongst them.
Every morning the SS guards would count the number of prisoners. If the guard some how miscounted the prisoners, the counting would start all over again. At times, the prisoners were made to stand for hours together, so that the SS could finish counting.
None of the prisoners realized that they were in a death camp. Though there was constant stink and a large chimney spewed smoke throughout the day, the prisoners were completely unaware of the fate that lay in store for them.
Rudy and his brother spent their time reading a book by Goethe that the brother had managed to hide away from the Germans. They also played cards to spend their time. Rudy's brother managed to get a job to lay stone roads. For this, his brother got little extra food, but the work was hard and difficult.
The prisoners were sent on a daily basis to sod along a drainage ditch that used run through Camp B. Rudy's mother would use this opportunity to collect plants that were edible and feed them to her family. However, Rudy, his family and all the other prisoners were on the brink of starvation. Many prisoners died due to hunger. Their bodies were just tossed by the guards and then incinerated. Even then the inmates of the camp had no idea that Auschwitz was equipped with gas chambers.
Rudy was lucky to have escaped death at Auschwitz. However, there were millions who did not. The Holocaust is the darkest hour in human history and people should never forget this incident. It was humanity at its worse; something we should all be ashamed of.
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