Avanesova 1 Alina Avanesova English 1102- 031 Ms.

Coco 2 May 2011 Audience: History Students Does Work Really Make One Free? Imagine walking into a camp where you can sense hatred, misery, and death as soon as you step inside. The Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland is a prime example where these horrifying feelings can be felt. The Auschwitz concentration camp is just one of the many concentration camps set up by the Germans as a form of persecution and extermination for many Jewish people. An overwhelming six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust era by the German Nazis. This picture from the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, captures the barracks, electric fence, message on the entrance sign, and overall grim to help viewers understand the essence of isolation, hopelessness, and captivity during the Holocaust in the 1940s. The Holocaust was a dreadful time in world history that affected millions of people in Europe during the 1940s. While some believed it was a time of misery and hatred, others thought it was a time of racial superiority of several ethnicities during that time. The German Nazis found themselves to be superior to the rest of the countries and races in Europe. Because of their egotistical attitudes, the German Nazis targeted many groups that seemed ³racially inferior´ to them and chose to persecute them because of their backgrounds. Not only did they target Jewish people, but they attacked homosexuals, Communists, and Jehovah¶s Witnesses as well (³Introduction to the Holocaust´). The German and Nazi power was so widely spread in the European nation that it caused many other races to die from starvation, disease, and abuse. The

Avanesova 2 Holocaust was destructive and death tolls were constantly on the rise. Often at times, innocent human beings were held in concentration camps, left to starve and eventually die. Auschwitz was known to be one of the biggest and main camps established by the Nazi tyranny. It was based on forced labor and seemed to have been more of an extermination camp than any other type of camp. Ben Stem, a survivor of the Holocaust quoted in an interview: ³I'd heard rumors that Jews were going to Auschwitz. But I didn't know what Auschwitz meant. I didn't know what "extermination camp" meant. People told me, but I couldn't imagine or understand it.´ (³What the camps were like«´) This shows how unaware most of the prisoners were when coming into the Auschwitz camp. The main focuses in this photograph capture the essence of how many concentration camps were during the Holocaust. Some camps included gas chambers to take Jewish prisoners into, fenced wires so no one would escape, and barracks that held hundreds of humans captive. This photograph included some of these tactics to fully describe the real meaning of the concentration camps during the Holocaust. The black and white colors of the photograph play a significant role for analysis. It captures the emotions and feelings of the slaves inside the camp. They were captured, abused, illtreated, and starved and held inside severe and horrifying emotions. Black and gray are not happy and upbeat colors, and this color effect on the photograph accurately grasps the emotions the prisoners were feeling. They had been stuck inside with nowhere to go and nothing to possibly do without being abused more or possibly even be killed. Even though most photography in the 1940¶s was in black and white, this grim photograph has a very captivating feeling. When first glancing at the photo and seeing the black and white colors, you can also notice the angle of the photograph.

Avanesova 3 The angle of this photograph shows the dimensions of the camp itself. Since Auschwitz was one of the largest concentration camps in Poland, you can clearly see its size in this picture. Since the angle gives the viewer a fuller perspective of the camp, you are able to see the fence, entrance sign, kitchen barracks, and the other barracks in the background where the individuals actually slept. This camp was so large that it was actually divided into three camps ("Auschwitz: The Camp of Death´). Another important aspect of the angle of the photo is that since it is viewing down onto the camp as from above, it relates to the perspective of the Nazis during that era. Since the Nazis believed they were superior to everyone else, this angle shows just that. It seems as if the Nazis are ³up high´ and looking down on the Jews in the camp. Not only is the angle of the photograph captivating, but the entrance sign is an important part of the camp that is quite controversial. The entrance sign of this photograph is a very important key element. The sign reads ³Arbeit Macht Frei,´ which means ³work makes one free.´ This sign is quite problematic and deceiving. It points out that if one works hard enough, they will be free one day and make it out of the camp, but that was completely not the case. The prisoners were held captive without much freedom and were never allowed out, no matter how hard they worked or how much they tried. This sign is misleading and gives ³false hope´ for the prisoners inside the camp who hope one day to be free and get out of this death camp (³Auschwitz: The Camp of Death´). Since this was the first entrance sign that most prisoners got to see upon arriving at the camp, their dreams of leaving would soon be crushed. Thousands of captive slaves were held inside Auschwitz concentration camp and unfortunately never got to see the ³free´ side. The language of this sign is important as well. By using the word ³one´ instead of ³you,´ it depersonalizes the people and makes it seem as if they are all one. The word ³one´ is a very generic term and doesn¶t seem to

Avanesova 4 relate to only one person, it relates to a body of people. If the sign was to say ³you,´ then it would put more emphasis and individuality for the humans. Next to the sign is also an important feature of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The electric fence surrounding the camp also helps show the viewers the sense of isolation. If something is held inside a fence, then they are not allowed out, no matter what. It¶s as if the Germans were holding the Jews like dogs, which is what they pretty much did. Jews and other ³inferior´ races were treated more like animals than human beings. An article about the Auschwitz camp quoted: ³Insects and vermin shared the beds. Particular menaces were bed bugs that landed on the prisoner and sucked his or her blood. Lice and rats also plagued prisoners. The prisoners slept on their possessions, such as a bowl, a cup, or a cap to prevent them from being stolen by other inmates.´ (´Auschwitz: The Camp of Death´) It seems as if the guards had no care in the world about the prisoners and isolated them from the rest of society. The barracks in the background are one of the main components that show how unfairly the Jews were treated. There were over 250 barracks in Auschwitz that held up to 200,000 inmates. Originally, the barracks were modeled as horse stables that were suited to hold roughly fifty horses (³Auschwitz: The Camp of Death´). This shows how much living space each person had. Each bed was to sleep ten people, which everyone lying sideways so they could all fit. The barracks were filled with insects, filth, and disease. Waking up to a dead body in the same bed was not shocking for the inmates. Prisoners died constantly because of the ill-treatment from the Nazi guards. Given that the prisoners were already treated unfairly, it isn¶t a surprise to see that the camp didn¶t have much ³life´ to it.

Avanesova 5 Another important factor of this photograph is the lack of nature in Auschwitz. It seems as if there was no grass, no insects, and no trees in the entire concentration camp. Everything seems so dead and dry. All that¶s pictured here is one small tree off to the side. This goes hand in hand with the real meaning of the Auschwitz camp. Since everything outside was nonliving, it seems that is what is going to happen to the prisoners held captive. This shortage of nature minimizes the prisoners¶ hope. It creates an establishment of hatred and death, and sets the prisoners in a mindset that they will never get out. Rudy, a survivor of the Holocaust, quoted in an interview ³Nothing grew in Auschwitz. There was not a bird, not a living thing, no grass or anything´ (³What the camps were like«´). This nature deficiency is a main element in tying this entire photograph together and revealing what Auschwitz was all about. Now imagine being one of those captive prisoners. Envision sleeping next to eight other people with you in the same bed at night and the next morning wake up to a few dead bunkmates. Imagine being stripped of all your rights as a human being. How would you feel if all of your freedom was taken away from you and there was nothing you could do? Set yourself in the mindset of the thousands of Jews that went through this devastating moment in history. The Holocaust was a time of cruelty, hatred, and lack of justice. This photograph helps viewers realize how many Jews were treated and the overall isolation of concentration camps. Do you think you could have survived in this devastating era?

Avanesova 6 Works Cited "Auschwitz: The Camp of Death." Holocaust Teacher Resource Center. Web. 15 Mar 2011. "Introdution to the Holocaust." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 06 Jan 2011. Web. 23 Mar 2011. "What the camps were like, told through the eyes of people who suffered through them´ The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy . Web. 14 Mar 2011. Link to Photo: http://history1900s.about.com/library/holocaust/blauschwitz1.htm

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