Nazi persecution, arrests, and deportations were directed against all members of Jewish families, as well as many Gypsy families, without concern for age. Homeless, often orphaned, many children had frequently witnessed the murder of parents, siblings, and relatives. They faced starvation, illness, brutal labor, and other indignities until they were consigned to the gas chambers.
The dead ...
At death camps like Auschwitz children did not fare well: they were often killed upon arrival. Children born in the camps were generally killed on the spot, especially if the child was Jewish.
... and the living dead ...
Lucie Adelsberger describes the life of the children:
"Like the adults, the kids were only a mere bag of bones, without muscles or fat, and the thin skin like pergament scrubbed through and through beyond the hard bones of the skeleton and ignited itself to ulcerated wounds. Abscesses covered the underfed body from the top to the bottom and thus deprived it from the last rest of energy. The mouth was deeply gnawed by noma-abscesses, hollowed out the jaw and perforated the cheeks like cancer.
Many decaying bodies were full of water because of the burning hunger, they swelled to shapeless bulks which could not move anymore. Diarrhoea, lasting for weeks, dissolved their irresistant bodies until nothing remained ....." ( Langbein, Hermann: Menschen in Auschwitz.)
So called camp doctors, especially the notorious Josef Mengele, would torture and inflict incredible suffering on Jewish children, Gypsy children and many others. "Patients" were put into pressure chambers, tested with drugs, castrated, frozen to death, and exposed to various other traumas.
At Auschwitz Mengele did a number of twin studies, and these twins were usually murdered after the experiment was over and their bodies dissected ... In the case of the twins, he drew sketches of each twin, for comparison. He also injected his victims with various substances, dripping chemicals into their eyes, apparently in an attempt to change their color. He then killed them himself by injecting chloroform into their hearts, so as to carry out comparative pathological examinations of their internal organs.
In a case in which a mother did not want to be separated from her thirteen- or fourteen-year-old daughter, and bit and scratched the face of the SS man who tried to force her to her assigned line, Mengele drew his gun and shot both the woman and the child. As a blanket punishment, he then sent to the gas all people from that transport who had previously been selected for work, with the comment: "Away with this shit!" (Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors.)
Auschwitz Bergen-Belsen Belzec Sobibor Treblinka
Mengele fed his legend by dramatizing murderous policies, such as his drawing a line on the wall of the children's block between 150 and 156 centimeters (about 5 feet or 5 feet 2 inches) from the floor, and sending those whose heads could not reach the line to the gas chamber. (Lifton, p. 346.)
These terrors occurred in Block 10 of Auschwitz I. Josef Mengele was nicknamed "the Angel of Death" for the inhuman experiments he conducted.
Likewise at Auschwitz Dr. Herta Oberhauser killed children with oil and evipan injections, removed their limbs and vital organs, rubbed ground glass and sawdust into wounds. She drew a twenty-year sentence as a war criminal, but was released in 1952 and became a family doctor at Stocksee in Germany. Her license to practice medicine was revoked in 1960. (Laska)
Near the end of the war, in order to cut expenses and save gas, "cost- accountant considerations" led to an order to place living children directly into the ovens or throw them into open burning pits.
Only one man managed to get prisoners out of Auschwitz - Oscar Schindler, one remarkable man who outwitted Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to save more Jews from the gas chambers than most of the heroic rescuers during WWII ...
At the point when his ambitions have been realized and he could walk away from the war a rich man while "his Jews" die in Plazow and Auschwitz, Oscar Schindler desperately spends every penny he has bribing and paying off Nazi officials to protect and save his Jews. Later accounts have revealed that Schindler spent something like 4 million German marks keeping his Jews out of the death camps - an enormous sum of money for those times.
Oscar Schindler used all means at his disposal to ensure the safety of his Schindler-Jews, even Emilie Schindler`s jewels were sold, to bribe, to buy food, clothes, and medicine. With his life as the stakes, he employed all his powers of persuasion, he bribed uninhibitedly, fought, begged to save his Jews from the gas chambers ...
In those years, millions of Jews died in camps like Treblinka, Majdanek, Sorbibor, Chelmno, and Auschwitz - but Schindler`s Jews miraculously survived.
Oskar Schindler toiled through the rough waters of the confusions of war. But he was one of only a handful who surfaced from the chaos, and generations will remember him for what he did.
Adolf Hitler's SS Men
Hitler surrounded himself with a small clique of fanatical, ruthless henchmen - a violent group of outsiders who rose to power in the Third Reich and established political and economic institutions of legitimized terror.
These masterminds of death were found to be quite psychologically normal. They were men of fine standing, husbands who morning and night kissed their wives, fathers who tucked their children into bed.
But murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhuman acts were an everyday occurrence.
The European Jews were the primary victims of the Nazis. In 1933 nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed.
But Jews were not the only group singled out for persecution by Hitler's Nazi regime. One-half million Gypsies, 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons, and more than three million Soviet prisoners-of-war also fell victim to Nazi genocide. Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists, and Polish intelligentsia were also victims of the hate and aggression carried out by the Nazis.
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