This is a paper that will retrograde through time, places and events to question the ideology of the most despaired regime that had ever walked on the face of the earth. An abominably tyrannical cult that executed their might of madness on the human race; did to death more than millions, where one particular place still remained a cry of despair and the witness to mechanization of the systematic genocide of Nazi idiosyncrasy of holocaust by extermination.
The work will ponder on while reviewing the book; survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi on particular agendas like, the chosen inmates for execution, the decision makers, who ran the camps, execution and disposable were done by whom, role of SS, how it supports Nazi Ideology, impact of the process on inmates and responsible ones. It was a greater and complex platform of terror mechanism to the totalitarian administration as a dividing wall to reach for the comprehension of the contemporary politics and the society.
As reflected in the book, the matter clings to the place not so famous or important; the barbarity of the infamous mechanism being applied to the innocents by the Nazi regime. Auschwitz (Auschwitz-Birkenau) was the largest of all the Nazi camps for concentration and extermination of Jewish holocaust. The ghost of the then ideological factory of the human elimination still echoes the hopeless past; in Poland, 50 kilometers west of Krakow and 286 kilometers south of Warsaw, approximately. The camp derived the name from the local town of Oswiecim, and Birkenau from the German translation of Brzezinka, the birch trees that fence the complex.
With the advent of German’s invasion on Poland in September 1939, the town of Oswiecim got annexed by the Nazi Germany and became Auschwitz as a German town. Instead century’s old title like the “Duke of Auschwitz”, the place was of no significance until the jack boots of the Nazi ideologies that left the impression of the self prejudices of the blood games. The regime of holocaust mechanism in this particular camp has drawn the attention with the cruelest intension of extermination of the Nazi ideology on Jewish liquidation or elimination.
“Arbeit macht frei”, the Iron Gates bearing the motto; have chosen to open itself for the trains from all over the Nazi occupied Europe to transport in the prisoners in daily convoys. This was the prelude to the selection of the inmates for execution in the infamous camp of Auschwitz. On their arrival; inmates were been chosen first by dividing them into two groups. They were, broadly divided in groups like, for immediate extermination and others to be registered as the prisoners. The size of the initial group has roughly been the three quarter of the total population captured.
The lot used to go to the gas chamber within couple of hours, which included all the children, women with children, elderly and all other inmates appeared to be not totally fit after being medically checked by the SS Doctors. Levi portrayed the facts of the execution process; was quite a drama in putting things into motion, as the SS personnel used to deceive the unknown victims by asking them to go for a shower and undergo delousing. Victims had to undress in the outer chamber to proceed for the gas chamber in disguise with complete fake shower head set-up.
After putting the batch into the chamber, the SS used to lock the doors and fill in the cyanide pellets through the vents on the roofs or the windows, depending in which crematorium the victims are in. the toll took more than 20,000 lives every day, gassed and cremated (Levi 87). The cyanide used has been the companies like, Tesch & Stabenow of Hamburg supplying two tons of crystals every month, and the other; Degesch of Dessau contributed three-quarters of a ton, whose bills of lading got produced in Nuremberg periodically. Both the companies got their licensing right from the patent holder, IG Farben (Nuremberg Trial Project).
The then Auschwitz Concentration Camp was divided into three parts as Auschwitz I, II and III. Following the decision of the extermination mechanism; the construction of Auschwitz II, known as Birkenau started in October 1941, to shift the pressure of the smaller camp of “I”. It was the decision and the preparation of Heinrich Luitpold Himmler with Rudolph Hoss, the first commandant of the camp; following the brainchild of Adolf Hitler for the final solution of the Jewish question to execute the mechanism of extermination; specially in Auschwitz – Birkenau equipped with several categories prisons and designed to exterminate.
The decision making process goes back to January 1942, the Wannsee Conference that lead the SS to do the inhuman act of dividing the Jewish convoys for and against the concept of contributing to rising economy by leading them to either the camp or the chamber. But, at the grass root level it was the sonderkommandos (workers at the crematoria) had to decide on gassing order on a daily basis. Further the camps were managed partly by the prisoners and by the SS. The prisoners were subdivided in two groups, some of whom were kapos; who are orderlies and most of them are convicted.
Second is the sonderkommandos who were the workers at the crematorium. Where the kapos were assigned to maintain order in the camp and the prison houses, the sonderkommandos took the charges of the daily convoys pertaining to extermination. In preparing the gassing order for the new arrivals it included to manage the crowd with orders to remove their clothing and to deposit the personal belongings. They were also ordered to transfer the dead to the furnaces and also to take or pull out any gold; if found such in the teeth.
After overseeing all these, the members of these groups have been murdered periodically; as designed. Apart from these two groups who ran the camps, took the responsibilities of the execution and the disposals, the SS had their particular role, precisely to kill the innocents in the camp to spearhead the kapos and the sonderkommandos in their work until they are murdered by the Nazi regime. Overall there were 60,000 SS personnel in the camp, where the command of women’s camp was under the supervision of three main head, Johanna Langefeld, Maria Mandel, and Elisabeth Volkenrath.
Since 1933, the time Hitler came into the power, the establishment of the death factories and the deeds of the anti-Semitism have indicated the entire issue to understand the data of common research and the scientific concepts of the framework in relation with the ideology the Nazi regime. As a matter of fact, the history of anti-Semitism has long bloody past, where the death factories producing deaths of the Jewish material fell far short to its uniqueness and the concept of the operation. Both the fate of European Jews and the running of the death factories don’t suffice the term of the concept.
It rather led to social, political and the economic approach of the movement as well. But it helped the regime to start preparing the platform for the mechanism of the extermination. Even the liquidation of the large German Jews population did not stop the activities of the extermination. The strong bond and the carefully laid down plan for the anti-Semitism movement has given the reasons to relate the holocaust mechanism with the Nazi ideology, as it also supports the decision of the elimination of the Jewish from the agenda of rising economy of Germany.
Moreover this was the act of putting the concept of answer to the final solution of the Jewish fate into motion. Since the part of Nazi party entered into a different kind of activity that their biggest ever enemy could never dreamt of it, the SS under the leadership of Himmler concluded this to be extreme possibility for the entire outer world to have an impression about the enterprise with a belief on its power and truth.
Though out of all anti-Jewish measures taken that proved effective for the parties, the extermination and the death factory fetch no benefit to anybody, except exposing it to the allies and succumbed under the pressure to surrender ultimately (Arendt 49). The impact of this mechanism has left it impossible to count the exact number of Auschwitz victims with certainty. It had the situation more speculative for Nazis have destroyed a large number of records. Still as per the first commandant of the camp, about two and a half a million of Jewish have died in the gas chamber.
Polish Communists and the Soviets too reflect their records in between 2. 5 to 4 millions deaths in the camp. The number has always been subjected to speculation, where the more recent studies are sowing much lesser number of deaths as per German records of deportations, train time table and other documents. The most deadly and peculiar was “the mystic Utopia of the Volksgemeinschaft required that all its members be centred on the same goal, dedicated to hard work and prepared for self-sacrifice”. The impact on the individual level is the demoralization, deprived and helpless.
It helped to developed hopelessness in the mind of the prisoners disabled to see any future and to accept the entity and their existence a vain. The mechanism tried to hypnotize the prisoner’s mind to follow the order of death and help the German economy to rise with a matter of national pride; with Jewish managing the camp to prepare the other Jews to death and subsequently lay themselves for the same. From human prospective, the SS were not typically the product of Hitler, until the personnel is that brainwashed.
As a human most of the SS were forced to perform the brutal task. With time the new excitement and thrill of having the power to decide on the fate of lives went off from the mind of the SS troops, expect the few; spearheading the entire ideology for the political sake leading to their personnel interest to see them in the chair of a ruler. With overtaking of the camps by the Soviets and Britons, more than maximum of the SS have fled from the duty to never return. Many of them until recent time have kept their originality secret to skip the humiliation of the war crime.
As the German edition suggests, “if this is a man” has given enough impetus on “if” and to be or should be treated like a man or not.
Arendt, Hannah. “SOCIAL SCIENCE TECHNIQUES AND THE STUDY OF CONCENTRATION CAMPS. ” Jewish Social Studies 12 (1950): 49-64. Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz: the Nazi assault on humanity. Collier Books, 1961. Nuremberg Trial Project. 2003. 17 April 2009 <http://nuremberg. law. harvard. edu/php/docs_swi. php? DI=1&text=doc_anal>.