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The camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau were an important part of the Nazis' final solution to the Jewish question. Over one million people were murdered in its gas chambers and tens of thousands of prisoners were worked to death in the nearby sub-camps. Others were held in the quarantine area before they were deported to work in the Third Reich.
This is the story of the development of Auschwitz from a Polish prison camp into a concentration camp, and a thorough account of the building of Birkenau and the gas chambers, which grew into industrial killing machines. Rawson relates what life was like for prisoners, revealing where the unsuspecting new arrivals came from and how they were greeted at the camp with the humiliating selection process; how many were tricked into entering the gas chambers, while others were stripped of their identity and put to work; how prisoners struggled to survive on a poor diet and no health care; how they faced a grinding daily routine with frequent punishments; and how the camps were organized from the commandants, their assistants and the guards, to the kapos and stuben who supervised work parties and the barracks. He details how a few brave souls tried to resist, how even fewer made a break for freedom and the heartbreaking story of liberation and life afterwards.
There are instructions on how to get to nearby Krakow – an ideal base – and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Information on how best to spend your time there is also included, making this an invaluable book that is both a vivid account of life in the concentration camps and an essential guide for visitors who want to explore the past of this notorious site.
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