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Concentration and Labor Camp Work

Page history last edited by Lilo 13 years, 11 months ago





                                                                                                   "Arbeit" means "work" in German




          Daily responsibilites in concentration camps were to be completed quickly and effectively.  Slave labor camps were created in 1938 after mass arrests started being made.  Prisoners endured sixteen-hour work days every single day.  Subcamps also started sprouting up all over Europe, so much so that there were eventually 3,000 of these subcamps.  Children were also forced into labor, if they even got a chance at that.  Some young kids were murdered as soon as they arrived at the camp.  However, teenagers thirteen to eighteen years old had a better chance of surviving because they were able to work.  The types of jobs in concentration camps varied according to age, gender, and backround.





Children's Jobs


            Life in concentration camps for children was rough and upsetting because they were so young.  They were worked to exhaustion everyday.  “The Holocaust was the most evil crime ever committed”, stated one man (BrainyQuote).  That statement is reinforced by the jobs the kids in concentration camps had to do.  In Auschwitz, children under thirteen years of age were killed immediately because they were thought to be too young to work (Altman).  In other camps, teenagers thirteen to eighteen years of age had a better chance of living because they were fit to work (Caulfield).  The younger kids who were not automatically killed helped their parents in fields and factories (Weiner).  These children would stand behind their parents while parents did most of the work.  Another tedious job for young ones was to dig ditches in the summer all day long (Rytel).  This was backbreaking work.  Children’s lives and duties in concentration camps were tough for them.



Women's Jobs


            Women’s duties in concentration camps ranged greatly.  Women were responsible for a number of “jobs”.  Doing laundry, cooking, and repairing clothing for the Nazis were some of the common jobs ("Women During the Holocaust").  In addition, women were often beaten and raped by the Nazi soldiers because they were easy targets ("Women During the Holocaust").  These women were forced to do everything and anything the soldiers wanted them to do.  Exhausting daily duties left women nearly worked to death everyday (Holocaust Survivors and Remembrance Project).  The men and women were almost always separated in regular concentration camps, so they could not make plans to escape.  There were also camps solely for women.  The largest women’s sub camp was Auschwitz-Birkenau ("Women During the Holocaust").  However, the largest mainly women’s concentration camp was Ravensbrück in Germany ("Women During the Holocaust").  Ravensbrück’s start is described as this, “The first prisoners interned at Ravensbrück were approximately 900 women whom the SS had transferred from the Lichtenburg women's concentration camp in Saxony in May 1939” ("Women During the Holocaust").  Women’s roles in concentration camps were of utmost importance to keeping the camp flowing smoothly.


A man pushing dead bodies into a pile


The Poles


            Polish people were treated terribly in concentration camps.  Most of them were only kept alive to be slaves.  Educated Poles were killed first, not even getting a chance to survive, as they were one of the only threats to Nazis because they could think of a plan to revolt (Altman). This book explains Hitler's education plans,“Hitler [planned to] educate Poles only up the the fourth grade.  Instructors would teach Poles to count up to 500, write their names, and be obedient to the Germans” (Altman 35).  Poles would be forced into hard labor and to work in factories (Altman).  Deep in the Polish forests, people would work sixteen hour days in the tall, dense snow (Rytel).  Prisoners were often in charge of the fate of other inmates, as some were chosen to supervise others.  These people temporarily in charge were as cruel, if not crueler than the Nazi supervisors (Altman).  The Poles worked under especially awful conditions.





                                                                        A concentration camp with observing towers





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Comments (1)

Bashfull said

at 10:04 pm on May 19, 2010

I really really like it

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