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Disciplines

Education | European History | Jewish Studies | Museum Studies | Public History | Tourism and Travel

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

In the 1940s, Nazi Germany was an unstoppable force spreading throughout Europe. Hitler’s agenda was to take control of Europe and make it part of his pure Aryan race. As a result of his actions and his “final solution”, many people suffered. The concentration camp of Auschwitz I was created out of an old Polish military compound for three main reasons. The first was to incarcerate real and perceived enemies of the Nazi regime and the German occupation authorities in Poland for an indefinite amount of time.1 The second was to have available a supply of forced labor for deployment in SS-owned, construction-related enterprises.2 And last but not least, to serve as a site to physically eliminate small-targeted groups of population whose death was determined essential to the security of Nazi Germany.3 As one can see by the last reason, Auschwitz was not originally designed to exterminate large amounts of people. Some of the first people to enter Auschwitz were schoolchildren, students and soldiers, not Jews, as many people believe.4 The people who perished in the early years died from malnutrition, terrible living conditions, and harsh treatment.

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