.. was composed of politicals. They arrived in June 1938 because of an action against asocial Jews. In the summer of 1938, 2,200 Austrian Jews were transferred from Dachau. Later that year, arrests after Kristallnacht more than doubled the amount of Jewish prisoners in Buchenwald.
The newly arrived 10,000 Jews lived in recently built huts, and suffered far more than the non-Jews. Of the new-comers, 244 died in their first month of imprisonment. By spring 1939, most of the prisoners were released, deprived of their property and compelled to leave Germany. The vast majority of the thousands of prisoners died at Buchenwald each year died, soon after their arrival. They usually died of exhaustion, physical and psychological or due to their loss of desire to live.
Their lives before the camp didn’t prepare them for this type of exhaustion. A survivor of Buchenwald said, It took a long time for a mind, torn from the anchorages of the outside world and thrust into life-and-death turmoil, to find a new inward center of gravity. The German soldiers were always especially cruel, mentally and physically, to the Jewish prisoners. At that time, the Germans considered Jewish human life not equal the worth of an animal. Mentally, they would try to depress the morale of the prisoners, preventing the development of fellow-feeling or cooperation among the victims. The politically backward individualists knew nothing of organized action so they couldn’t survive long in Buchenwald. If hunger so demoralized a person to steal another man’s bread, he wasn’t reported to the SS. The room attendants took care of him, and if he didn’t die from beating, they injured him so brutally that he was only fit for the crematorium.
This was done to maintain morale and mutual trust. Some men used the typhus wards, which the SS would not go near, to hide men whose names had come up on the death lists. The Nazis physically abused the prisoners in many ways. Next to the shooting chambers, where hundreds died daily, there was a crematorium. Aside from the huge ovens, there were 48 hooks for hanging pairs of prisoners at a time. If they were not dead in the set five minutes, they would be clubbed to dead and then thrown into the incinerator.
The bathrooms prisoners used were 20 feet long, 12 feet wide, 12 feet deep open pits with railings along the side to squat. The soldiers would throw people in the hole while they were doing their business. In October 1937 alone, ten people suffocated from excrement when thrown into a hole. These overflowing pits were emptied at night by prisoners with nothing but small pails. There were about 30 men working on the slippery ground and often as many as ten men fell in.
Until the work was done and the pits were empty, the workers weren’t allowed to remove the corpses. In December 1942, the camp received German criminals who had been handed over to the SS by the prison authorities. Most of them became the victims of pseudo-medical experiments performed in the camp hospital. In Buchenwald, the winter Appels, or roll calls can be considered a form of extermination. Some dropped dead, during roll call, from the freezing cold while others caught pneumonia and then died.
With so many killings in Buchenwald it might be asked why is it not considered a death camp ? One suggested response is that killings constantly went on in a quick orderly fashion at the camps officially known as death camps, with victims not knowing what hit them. At Buchenwald, though, realizing that death itself is not necessarily terrifying, but it is years of daily torture which is most frightening and very effective. Therefore, Buchenwald is called the camp of the slow death. The outbreak of World War II brought a new group of prisoners, mostly stateless people from Poland. More and more prisoners arrived as Hitler’s armies conquered more territory. Most Soviet POW’s (prisoners of war) were killed upon arrival. After Koch left for Majdanek, his successor, Hermann Pister, remained the commander until liberation. In 1942, Buchenwald became a forced labor camp for war weaponry production.
This brought in many more workers. On October 17, 1942 all Jewish prisoners except 200 building masons were transferred to Auschwitz. Until 1943, prisoners were mostly Germans. Due to the changing circumstances of the war, men of all nations were imprisoned; politicals, communists, and Jews from these varied countries outnumbered criminals. Even though many people from many nations were imprisoned in Buchenwald, the Nazis segregated the lows, which were the Jews and Homosexuals.
On October 6, 1944 the number of prisoners reached a peak of 89,143. This increase of numbers diminished the food supplies, further deteriorated the unhygienic conditions, which in turn increased the death rate. From the winter of 1944 until after January 1945, the camps in the east were evacuated due to the approach of the Soviet Army and thousands of prisoners were transferred to Buchenwald. Many of these died in great numbers in Buchenwald. At the beginning of April 1944, the SS evacuated several thousand Jews. On January 1945, tens of thousands of ex-Auschwitz inmates were sent to Buchenwald. Between May 1944 and March 1945, 20,000 Jews were interned in Buchenwald.
A survivor said that the men in Buchenwald, gradually realized that obedience meant death. The only hope of survival lay in resistance. In Buchenwald, there was a firmly established underground where, by the end of the war, the political prisoners ran internal camp affairs completely. The underground made contact with the Allies, resulting in a bombing raid which severely damaged SS sectors of the camp. It was on this raid on August 24, 1944 that the underground began to arm itself.
This was the foundation of the take-over of Buchenwald. The mass evacuation planned for April 5, 1945 was foiled. The armed underground movement strengthened themselves and when the American troops arrived on April 11, 1945, the underground was in control and handed the camp over to the Americans. Of the 238,380 (or 238,980) prisoners held in the camp since it opened, 56,549 (or 56,545) had died or been murdered. The Nazis, under Hitler, organized the destruction of the Jews.
Why they did it is unknown. Perhaps it was because of a history of tension between Christians and Jews, or perhaps, because Hitler needed a scapegoat for Germany’s problems. People throughout history have been murdered; but never as many people as during the Holocaust, in such a short period of time and under such well organized circumstances. One third of all the Jews in the world were eliminated. The estimated total is somewhere around six million.
This number included Jews from all over Europe. There are estimates that over three million non-Jews were murdered. Hitler’s method of killing the Jews and other undesirable people was first by torture and then by methodical murder. In the early days of his administration, he took away their rights as citizens and then as people. They were treated like slaves and lived like animals. After 1942, his goal was to exterminate all Jewish and unpure people.
Many Jews were killed before that date, but they were a small number compared to the mass murdering of the Holocaust afterwards. We Must Never Forget are words which each Jew must remember. It is only through an organized program of education that we can be sure that people will not forget, and so we might, in this way, prevent another holocaust from occurring. With ongoing programs about the Holocaust and the establishment of Holocaust departments in schools and Holocaust museums we are also letting the entire world know and remember that millions of our loved ones were lost in the horrible tragic killing that we call the holocaust. History Essays.