The Holocaust: Auschwitz-Birkenau and a Survivor



As you may already know, World War II was plagued by many gruesome and deadly inventions, one of them being the Atom Bomb, others such as the Nazi U-Boat.  The most cruel of these was not an invention, but an idea.  The extermination of all Jews.  How?  Another deadly invention, Zyklon B gas.

   I was in 8th grade the past school year attending Webb Middle school.  Our history teachers had decided that it was time for the yearly 8th grade visit to the Holocaust museum near Fort Worth.  Everyone thought it would be just another boring trip, but it was one of the most educational and emotional experiences in my life.  We met a REAL holocaust survivor that was going to give us his story of the experiences he had at several Nazi Death camps.

   He started out by telling us of the last day he ever saw his parents.  He was only 15, and little did he know that he would never see them again in his life.  He was herded into a cattle car, and shipped to a prison camp.  He was systematically switched to several different camps, until he ended up at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the worst of them all.  It was very difficult for him to speak about his experiences, and he had trouble not crying through his speech.  Since he knew that his parents had most likely been killed in gas chambers, and all of his siblings were at different camps, he knew he didn’t know many of the people in the camp with him.  He made several friends, but that all changed.  

   As he went further into his story, he would tell about his friends trying to escape from the camp.  His three friends, his ONLY FRIENDS IN THE WORLD, for that matter, were caught by the Germans as they fled the camp.  It was early morning, in the winter, and the entire camp was brought forth to the front of Auschwitz.  Guards escorted his terrified comrades to the gallows, and they shouted their last words.  “Remember this day, Never forget us or what has happened here.  DON’T FORGET US!!!”  And the buckets were kicked out from under them by the Gestapo.  He had no more friends.  

   He told us of another day, where the Nazis told them to shower.  This was not a gas chamber, but a real shower.  They were only given cold water, and it was in the bleak of winter.  Right in the middle, they were yelled out to get out of the showers, still naked, and dive into the snow.  The doors were locked behind them as they layed there, cold and hungry, with no clothes, in the snow.  Many of them died, and for several hours they were not allowed to go into a shelter or they were shot.  He told us that it was yet another one of the worse experiences of his life.

   Every morning when he would wake up, there were a new group of people that had decided to commit suicide because they could not take it any more.  Some would say that “If you could hold on to the electrified fences for just a few minutes, than that would be it.  Over.  What’s done is done.  Fried to a crisp.”  Besides this, he said that many more were hung or shot before escaping the camp.  I could hardly believe what I was hearing.  People had chosen to commit suicide by an elongated painfull death because life in the Nazi camps were so harsh.

   I can’t remember his entire story, but I remember vaguely him telling us about the day the Allies rescued him.  If World War II would have been any longer, this man could have died in that camp.  He would have not lived on to tell us his story.  As many people were trying to say that the Holocaust didn’t happen, he lived on and told us of his horrid life in Nazi camps.  I’ll never forget that day, and I’ll tell my children when their old enough to understand oppression.

   Now you may ask, “What did this story have to do with international relations?”  Well, for starters, a country invading another country and waging genocide against their entire race and culture is an international matter inside itself.  But when the allies invaded Europe to stop this monstrosity, you can bet many countries were involved.  The holocaust was ended when British and American troops captured these camps, and held trial against the War Criminals that owned them.  These millions of deaths can NEVER be brought to justice, even though many men who commited these acts were hung (another international matter), and Hitler commited suicide.  

   I can tell you a little more about Auschwitz .  The blood stained walls of the camp from daily executions was enough to drive a mans wits from him.  Auschwitz was so dull and full of death, living there for a week could make a man die of depression.  The food was scarce, and what they did get was old and stale, the soup had bits of metal and shoe soles floating in it.  The Germans forced labor onto these innocent people and death hung above the place like a cloud of hate.  When someone sais the phrase “International Catastrophy”, the first thing that comes to my mind is the Holocaust.  And the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the Holocaust is this poor young guy sitting in a prison camp with no friends, family, or decent shelter, no good food, no good brand name clothes, no T.V., no computers, no electricity, no fun, no rest, no love, nothing, and not even a penny in his name.  It’s hard to believe that the smartest creatures on the planet can cause this much grief in a mans life because of HATE.  If U.S. and British forces hadn’t saved the day, there may have been one less decent human being in this world who can accurately depict this story.  Thank God that we had enough courage to stop the German’s plan, and thank God they saved that mans life.  This may have not been much of an international tale, but it is to me, and I’ll tell you, No matter what they say, the Holocaust DID happen.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

  "This is a report I wrote a while back to one of my friends dads.  You see, this is a TRUE story.  I went to see a holocaust survivor, and I cannot think back on that day without crying.  This may not mean much to you, but my friend, you weren't there.  I saw GROWN MEN cry, I saw my peers WEEPING, I WAS weeping, there wasn't a dry eye in that whole room.  People, WE CAN'T LET THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPEN.  I DON'T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS, SIX MILLION IS TO MANY FUCKING PEOPLE TO JUST THROW OUT THE WINDOW."

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Kala Bennett's picture

This is a pretty good report, very descriptive.
Ever since I learned about the Jews and the Holocaust in grade eight I've been interested in it (im in grade 11 now) just so happens Im reading a book called "night" by Elie Wiesel. It's all bout the holocaust. and it just so happens that the writer (wiesel) was in the Aschwitz Concentration camp also. This book is very compelling and if you ever get the chance, read it. It's an amazing book. True story accounts.
anyways lovely essay.
bye bye