Auschwitz – Birkenau is a concentration camp museum in Oświęcim and not without reason attracts crowds of tourists every day, probably because of the history it hides. It was entered on the UNESCO list in 1979 and it is the only concentration camp “decorated” in this way. It was created during World War II 1940-1945 and served as a political prison as well as a place of mass extermination of Jews. On the World Heritage List it has been listed since 2007 as “Auschwitz – Birkenau. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940 – 1945)”.
Millions of innocent victims died in this place in the name of a sick ideology. It involves stories of humiliation and extraordinary courage. Vulnerability and heroic resistance incomprehensible to the people of today. We present the unknown faces of the extermination of Jews during World War II.
Below are 10 interesting facts you should know before you take a trip to this “hell” on Earth.
Everyone should remember that…
- The bloodiest and most freedom-hungry prisoner rebellion at Auschwitz-Birkenau took place in October 1944. In revenge, they burned their guards in the crematorium ovens and escaped behind the wires. Unfortunately, all the escapees and freedom fighters were later murdered by the Germans.
- The Germans knew no bounds in their cruelty, extorting money from Jews for relatives who had been killed. At the beginning of the war, the Nazis demanded huge sums of money for giving families the ashes of their loved ones. In reality, however, this was the most outright lie, because these people were still alive at the time.
- It was not only the Netherlands that had its little Holocaust diarists. Also in occupied Poland lived Jewish girls, whose surviving diaries are no less valuable than the one written by Anne Frank. So it is worthwhile to do some research on the Internet in order to find out more about them and discover some interesting facts.
- Members of the Jewish Combat Organization, in order to gain the resources needed to fight the Germans, often had to resort to methods from today’s gangster movies. Intimidation, extortion, blackmail, and kidnapping were the order of the day in the Warsaw Ghetto. As a last resort, even executions were carried out for publicity and to show superiority.
- In 1944, the Germans intended to exchange the surviving Jews for Allied trucks. This was precisely the offer made to Joel Brand by the notorious SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann. He wanted to “trade” one million Jews for 10,000 vehicles.
- The Germans forced Jews working in the ghettos to pay insurance premiums. Another attempt and another means of economic exploitation. Of course, Jews could not count on any pensions or benefits. But the premiums were paid on their salaries as if they had been entitled to all of these benefits and allowances.
- Among the millions of Jews crowded into ghettos, the most tragic fate was unfortunately shared by the youngest. Children, barely a few years old, worked beyond their strength, watching their families and loved ones die. They themselves died of exhaustion, disease, lack of food, or from bullets fired by heartless German guards.
- The direction of the popular death marches did not always lead from the east into the Reich. Sometimes the direction was reversed. This was the case with the prisoners of one of the branches of Stutthof Concentration Camp, who were herded as far as Königsberg. In the end, they met the worst possible fate there. Almost all of them were murdered by SS men. This was another clever ploy.
- Heinrich Himmler wanted to profit from the liberation of the Jews in the camps. In late 1944 and early 1945, he agreed to let the prisoners who were still alive go to Switzerland. He demanded as much as $1,000 for each survivor. In the end, there was even a transport of 1,200 people. The deal fell through when Hitler found out about it.
- The greatest fear of the Jews in hiding in Berlin was not the fanatical Nazi, but a Jewish woman named Stella Kübler. Because of her “Aryan” beauty she was called the “blond poison”. She gave away hundreds or even thousands of Jews to certain death. For each of them she received 200 marks. However, money has always ruled the world, and this is probably how it will remain…