Hundreds and hundreds of walled compounds, dirty and grimy, some scorched from bombs, others completely destroyed as last ditch efforts to conceal the Nazi's work. Some with towering columns, still bellowing out smoke and ash. The Nazi's began employing their murder long before these concentration camps were established however, perhaps in an even more sinister way.
The child euthanasia project began in the summer of 1939. Hitler's personal attendees, such as his physician and director of private chancellery, began targeting the disabled. They spread word of clinics, specialized places where they encouraged parents of the disabled to leave their children for treatment. In reality, these clinics were little more than pure killing grounds. Initially it was just for infants and toddlers, but soon it spread up to adulthood. Some of them didn't even comprehend it, didn't even see it coming, thinking their own thoughts of love, their family, happiness as the gas and bullets took hold. Hitler put an end to it eventually, not out of pity of course, but instead to plan out "phase two". The euthanasia clinics spread like wildfire.
In just four years, Auschwitz had seen 1.3 million people alone. Some were children, some were adults, some were Gypsies, some were Freemasons, most were just Jews. The Nazi regime had amounted to a death toll of over 12 million, 5,933,900 Jews, 3 million POWs, all innocent. The death camps had broken the spirits of everyone who suffered through the grueling imprisonment. It didn't stop at just putting people in a deathtrap and watching them squirm and die off, not at all. Some, as you may know, were gassed, others mutilated, some even...let's say fatally copulated.They did experiments too. Injecting people's eyes with chemicals, separating conjoined twins and watching them die agonizingly, cutting them open, letting them live, see how they work. Some experiments involved traumatic brain injury, bone and muscle transplantation, lobotomy. Soon, these experiments would be nothing more than putting a bullet in
Some were separated from families, friends, children never saw their parents or grandparents ever again. Some did, in the crematoriums at least. Many a day a child would hobble up to an overseer, and beg him to tell him what happened to their parents. Some they'd just kill, maybe beat, others were simply ignored, and the unlucky few were just met with an outstretched arm, pointing to the large chamber attached to the towering columns, still bellowing out smoke and ash.
Some were able to escape, sometimes entire families could, sometimes they would all be okay. Others would not. Others wouldn't make it over the wall before a tiny chunk of lead stole their life away, others would, but would never see those who the loved again. Even fewer were ever given closure about it.
Sometimes you would just see someone go up to the towering brick wall and start bashing his face into it. Over, and over, and over, begging for it all to end. The cruel masters never let 'em get what they wanted, instead placing cruel devices preventing anyone from meeting such end. Even if you wanted to die, and even though they wanted you to die, you had no say in the matter. It was rarely ever suicide. It was disease, starvation, experimentation, or the gas.
Sometimes when a prisoner died in the night, inmates would gather all the strength they could and strip him or her of their belongings. Clothes, jewelry, anything. Sometimes their relatives would be around them, screeching, hollering, begging those around them to stop. They never listened though. I sort of wonder why.
How about some examples? Once upon a time, there was a woman and her friend, toiling amongst their fellow captives in the dirt of the camps. And as the overseers marched, one could not stand anymore. She fell to the ground, desperately trying to get up. An overseer walked over and looked down, knelt a bit, and whispered a single word,
The woman tried as she could, but her body was too weak.
"Aufstehen" the overseer said again.
Once more the woman tried to lift herself up, but she couldn't. She just couldn't.
"Steh auf du Schwein!", and with that he brought down his boot onto the woman's head. A soft crunch was heard, and the woman shrieked and started sobbing. Her friend tried to get involved, just trying to stop this torment, she was met with a bellowing holler and a swift topple. On the ground with her friend, now totally alone, the overseer drew his gun and fired. The splash and crunch signified the end of the ordeal. The overseer barked orders to his men and they continued onward.
The women crawled to her friend and held her. She sobbed, holding now a fragment of what she could only assume was a skull fragment. As the overseer disappeared overhead, the woman heard two things amongst her chocked sobs. One was the shrill laughter of the demon himself, no doubt finding this demented comedy in his latest kill. The other was the last blow she took before she just...gave out. The other sound was her friend, chocking.
Some camps had found better days. When the Red Army's assaults broke the barrier, some camps were bombed to oblivion. Sure, this seems well, but to the survivors, they were now alone, weak, homeless, and unable to continue. Many died just trying to live outside the scalding remains of their prisons.
The German citizens were brought back the horrifying corpses of the Jews. Paraded through the streets, the army men shouting profanities at bystanders, some broke windows, others threw makeshift Molotov firebombs. They shared in the disgust.
Not all the liberated survived, obviously. 23% of those who were imported and slaughtered like cattle to Auschwitz alone were alive by the end of the war. A good quarter actually survived. Most couldn't take more than 300 calories a day, some were so emotionally traumatized they couldn't function. They were homeless, jobless, penniless, all alone.
Shit didn't stop there.
Women, and some men, were not met with open arms. Did you know that following the liberation of the Jews, there occurred something known as, "The Rape of Europe"? The strewn women of the camps, met by their so-called rescuers, were ravished violently. The torment didn't stop for these poor people, first through the public executions, then the camps, and now this.
Many became atheists, including Elie Wiesel. Many just stopped going, whether it by suicide, drug abuse, anything really.
There was a satisfying end to some at least. Hitler pussing out and killing himself, the Japanese being bombed beyond belief, the Nazi regime crumbling at it's feet, many dead, but justified.
Many still haven't recovered though.
I like to think that maybe, just maybe, when the last of these survivors finally die out, it'll be all put to rest.
I know it'll never be forgotten, the atrocities of the Holocaust, but I feel that it will be a somber end.
And a peaceful one.
Real talk here, not to break the mood:
My family was in Europe at the time of the Holocaust. My great-grandparents Pollocks, my grandmother born Austrian. They all endured the camps together. My great uncle, his name was Carl, died rather recently, had an intriguing story. At a killing session, he was chained to several other captured Jews in front of a hole of corpses, a mass grave. He was the first to die, or was at least intended to be. He threw the guard off, psyched him out. What he actually said I will never know. But instead of the rifle firing a chunk of lead into his chest, the executioner slammed the bridge of his nose with the rifle. Everyone else was executed and fell into the hole. He awoke several hours later in the ditch, and managed to escape. My great-grandmother and great-grandfather had a bit of a less glamorous story. They ran a butcher shop in Poland. How they managed to stay together in the camps is beyond me. I'm told one night my great-grandfather saved her from a watchman's bullet.
They escaped, got on a boat to America, and learned English from watching Saturday night matinees. They had eaten Spam the entire way over and did not react kindly upon the revelation it was not Kosher.
Dozens of my lineage lived in Europe by the 1930s. How many made it out alive?
Three. Four, if my grandmother was born at the time, but I can never seem to find that detail.
They all died because the blame was cast on them, and their entire people, by a man who took advantage of a time of crisis and became the most ruthless dictator of the century.
Though, in my research I found something I still enjoy to this day, something I just feel like could bring me up when I'm down, where I could just feel the grasp of the cruel and malevolent irony hold my brain.
You see, I did some research on Hitler's lineage one day on an impulse (I kinda just cruise the internet looking for stuff) and I found that there is no certain candidate for his grandfather on his father's side, though whoever it was, they were very close. There were either 2 or 4 choices at the time, but it didn't matter, because here's the kicker:
Each possible candidate was Jewish.
Written by The_Zog.