Children of Auschwitz
At the beginning of War World 2, Auschwitz was created and became the largest concentration camp, by the end of WW2 it had also killed the most people. But this isn't the story of all of the poor souls that died at Auschwitz, a report such as this would never be able to explain all the pain and torment they went through nor could it make you fully comprehend all the different things specific groups were forced to do as their punishment. No, a simple report could never capture all their life's so we'll focus only on the children who lost their childhood, and lives, because of their ethnicity.
To children, Auschwitz was specifically cruel. Any child that arrived that was young (around 0 to 9) was killed on sight along with any mother or grandmother because they were seen as 'unfit' to work in the camp and had no use. Any child above those ages that weren't split into a second group apone arrival was sent to work with the other adults, but if they were luckier then the others they would find themselves in the second group and would be sent to the showers saved from a much slower, and painful, death that the others would suffer.
The most common jobs children found themselves in was mass grave digging, construction, and clean up for the bathrooms. They worked for 12 hours strait with the occasional beating if some one was found resting. Grave diggers dug giant ditches that would soon occupy hundreds of dead people who had no use to the Germans or who were ether being shot or burned them to death to save money, the workers were often witness to this and were forced to watch as their friends, or even family, were killed then covered by a layer of chlorine powder wither they were dead or dieing. A quote I found from Aaron Schwartz explains this in more depth.
"When I came to Plaszow the first day, they put me in a group where we were digging a huge grave .. they brought in trucks, with children, from infant to twelve years old. They were all killed .. when the children were brought in, they were shot, right in that grave . . . One group was bringing, with a wheelbarrow, some chlorine powder and putting on, because there was such a tremendous amount of bodies in those graves ..
A little girl, a beautiful blond girl, sat down in the grave,
dressed in an Eskimo white fur coat, was all bloody, and asked
for a little bit of water .. this child swallowed so much blood,
because it was shot in the neck. And then it started to vomit so
terribly. And then it lay down and it says, "Mother, turn me
around, turn me around. This child did not know what happened to
it. It was shot, it was half-dead after it was shot. And this
child sat down in the grave, among all the corpses, and asked for
water .. it was still alive. There was no mother, just children
brought from the Cracow ghetto.
So this little girl lay down, and asked to be turned around. What happened to it? I do not know. It was probably covered alive, with chlorine .. I am sure, because they did not give another shot to that girl .."
by Aaron Schwartz, a holocaust survivor.
Construction workers had no more luck. They built block buildings or roads for the prisoner transportation, barracks, sub camps, and mines that would transport coal and other materials outside Auschwitz. The Children who worked in the mines were exposed to beatings not only by the German guards but by German criminals that were sent to work in the mine as punishment. Other dangers they faced was being caved in, poisoned water, and infections inside cuts they had gotten when they were whipped. Most children died with in the first 3 months.
But those children were lucky compared to what twins and triplets would face during their time in Auschwitz.
After being selected from the groups at the train platform they would be pushed off to separate blocks from the other children and would be fed and clothed little more then others so that they'd be in good health when the doctors would come and take them to their death beds. Few survived treatments from the doctors and even fewer survived at the hand of Josef Mengele, a doctor who was nicknamed The Angel Of Death for all the cruel experiments he did on his subjects. One survivor recalls the death of his brother.
"Dr. Mengele had always been more interested in Tibi. I am not sure why - perhaps because he was the older twin. Mengele made several operations on Tibi. One surgery on his spine left my brother paralyzed. He could not walk anymore. Then they took out his sexual organs. After the fourth operation, I did not see Tibi anymore. I cannot tell you how I felt. It is impossible to put into words how I felt. They had taken away my father, my mother, my two older brothers - and now, my twin ..."
most twins died at the hands of Mengele, who they were told to call Uncle Mengele. There was numerous ways of death he inflected on them but most are to graphic to share so I will name only 3 to give you a good picture of true suffering.
One of the main deaths was do to infection after operation. Many of his operations included sewing together their bodies in different fashions, such as the Siamese twins and the human centipede. In one such operation a set of twins had their hands sewn together in attempt to make conjoined twins, they died a few days latter from infection in their blood veins which were sewn together in the hand. The only hope for these twins when they are taken to block ten to meet uncle Mengele was that he'd use anesthesia on them before he preformed surgery, in some surgeries he wouldn't put the twins to sleep before cutting them open.
Another great cause of death was Mengele's study on trauma in children. Children would be taken from their beds at night and forced into pressure chambers, frozen to death, injected with chemicals, and tested on with drugs. They were then operated on to see the effects of the death, the effects of which were used to better medication for German soldiers on the front line.
The last experiment I'll share with you is organ change operations. Mengele would often take a several sets of twins and change their organs from one to the other, he often switched their genders as well. Mengele had a fascination with blood in twins and, as one survivor notes it, loved to draw blood from his victims and inject it into anothers body taking notes of how they reacted in various ways.
The number of twins that Josef Mengele experimented on was 1,500, only 200 survived.
Out of the 1.6 million that died at Auschwitz 232 thousand of them were children, approximately 700 more who were born inside the camp walls but were shot right after birth.
Only 56, 000 of the 1.6 million survived.