Disposal of corpses at Auschwitz-Birkenau. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
Inmates work in the stone quarries at Flossenbuerg concentration camp in 1942/1943. CL:BPK
Clandestine photo showing a prisoner and the exchange of straw mattresses in Dachau, 1943. CL:Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial
|Brutal and dehumanizing, the concentration camp system's main product was death. For those fit enough to work, their misfortune was slave labor, where murder occurred through work. The cycle of the day in such camps was work, hunger, and pain, always in the shadow of the sadistic violence of guards and instant execution for the slightest infraction.
"You get up at 3 am....For the slightest irregularity in bed-making the punishment was 25 lashes after which it was impossible to lie or sit for a whole month."
"At 12 noon there was a break for a meal...half a litre of soup, or some watery liquid, without fats, tasteless... No spoons were allowed....One had to drink the soup out of the bowl and lick it like a dog...I must emphasize that if we were lucky we got a noon meal."
"There were 'days of punishment'...when our stomach was empty for the whole day."
"Afternoon work was the same: blows and blows again until 6 PM. At 6 there was the evening headcount....Usually we were left standing at attention for an hour or two, while some prisoners were called up for 'punishment parade'....They were stripped naked publicly, laid out on specially constructed benches, and whipped, with 25 or 50 lashes. But they kept to their fathers' traditions, even in Maidanek. I shall never forget a young, blond man from Holland who could not accept the order to be bareheaded. He got himself a tiny skullcap and wore it...he used to fix the cap to his ears with thin pieces of string. The overseers sometmes saw this and beat him up severely."
Y. Pfeffer, Maidanek Survivor