The number of prisoners would be counted. After waking and before roll call, up to 2, prisoners at a time would have to share toilet facilities. The toilet would be a concrete or wooden board with often holes for seats. No privacy and no real sanitation was provided.
Daily Life During the Holocaust
Prisoners would have to wash in dirty water, without soap and with no change of clothes for weeks or months on end. For prisoners, meal times were the most important event of each day. For lunch prisoners may have been given watery soup. If they were lucky, they might find a piece of turnip or potato peel. In the evening prisoners may have been given a small piece of black bread; they may also have received a tiny piece of sausage, or some margarine, marmalade or cheese.
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The bread was supposed to last the prisoners for the morning also, so prisoners would try to hide it on their person whilst they slept. Kity Hart-Moxon, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau, remembers the high value placed on food, and so much wanting to survive the camp.
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She would sometimes take the piece of bread from the body of someone who had died during the night:. With this I can buy myself a place to live. I can buy myself a place to sleep. Hunger was one of the greatest problems. The meagre rations were merely intended to keep the prisoners alive. The Nazis did not provide prisoners with sufficient nutrition to carry out heavy manual work. Many thousands died from starvation or illnesses brought on by lack of nutrition. Others became too weak to work and were then murdered in the gas chambers.
Depending on the type of camp, prisoners were assigned to a whole range of different duties. Some remained inside were the camp, working on a variety of jobs, from administration tasks to heavy manual labour. Most prisoners worked outside in one of the many factories, construction projects, farms or coal mines, owned by German companies and for whom they now provided free slave labour. Most prisoners worked outside the camps in one the many factories, construction projects, farms or coal mines. They would quite often have to walk several kilometres to their place of work.
They were selected due to their strength and fitness. The life-expectancy of a Sonderkommando was about four months in the camp. While the prisoners were being processed after their arrival, their belongings were taken away. A group of prisoners was assigned to collecting the valuables, while others sifted through the possessions.
These were then transported back to Germany. The prisoners working on this task were in a privileged position. There were examples of prisoners smuggling valuables which could be used to bribe guards. However, if caught, they risked death. On 14 July , the Sterilisation Law was passed. This made sterilisation of the disabled compulsory. On 20 July , the Vatican signed a Concordat with the Nazis. This made the Vatican the first state to officially recognise Nazi Germany. On 19 July , an exhibition in Munich opened on 'Degenerate Art', presenting modern art as corrupt and un-German.
On 6 July , the Evian Conference began. The conference was called to discuss the growing refugee problem in Europe.
Visit the Wiener Library. Timeline Survivor testimonies About us How to use this site. Section: What were the ghettos and camps? What was the Holocaust? Life before the Holocaust Antisemitism How did the Nazis rise to power? Life in Nazi-controlled Europe What were the ghettos and camps?
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Daily Life in the Ghettos
For those who survived selection, life in the camps was a daily struggle for survival. Jewish prisoners were treated like cattle; packed tightly into cattle trucks and locked inside for days as the trains travelled to camps across Europe. These prisoners are being packed into open trains for their journey to Chelmno; little do they know that it will be their final journey. These Jewish prisoners have just arrived at Auschwitz Birkenau at the end of their journey from Hungary.
They disembark from the train not knowing where they are. Very soon they will be subjected to the selection process. Arrival at the camp Eventually, after days of travelling in the most cramped conditions, the railway carriages arrived at a camp. Please note that the lead in may take a few moments to allow the video to begin. Newly arrived prisoners to Auschwitz-Birkenau who had been selected for work had their identities stripped.
Distinguishes between official regulations and de facto conditions in the camps. Kogon, Eugen. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, DD K [ Find in a library near you external link ]. Langbein, Hermann. People in Auschwitz. A96 L [ Find in a library near you external link ].
Historical account concentrating on the human aspect of both the perpetrators and victims of Auschwitz. Includes a bibliography and an index. Originally published in German under the title Menschen in Auschwitz. Morrison, Jack G. Princeton, NJ: Wiener, G3 M [ Find in a library near you external link ].
Case study of life in one concentration camp that makes connections to the broader history of Nazi Germany. Includes numerous illustrations, a glossary, bibliography, and an index. Munich: Manz A. D33 N [ Find in a library near you external link ]. An exploration of the daily experiences of prisoners in Dachau, with an emphasis on the experiences of Catholic clergy imprisoned in the camp. Saldinger, Anne Grenn. Life in a Nazi Concentration Camp.
San Diego: Lucent Books, A2 S25 [ Find in a library near you external link ]. Introduction to various aspects of concentration camp life.
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Includes a glossary, an annotated bibliography, and an index. Intended for young adult readers. Shuter, Jane. Life and Death in the Camps. Chicago: Heinemann Library, S [ Find in a library near you external link ]. Heavily-illustrated general history of living conditions in the Nazi concentration camps.
Daily Life in the Warsaw Ghetto | Imperial War Museums
Includes sources for further study, a timeline and list of camps, a glossary, and an index. Sofsky, Wolfgang. Provides a sociological perspective on the structure of control and order in the camps. Includes a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. Todorov, Tzvetan.