May 17th, 2010
Of all the death camps, Auschwitz concentration camp is considered the worst and is the most well-known. Already malnourished and ill, Jews were gassed almost daily. Children under fifteen were killed upon arrival. Everyone knew there was only one way out: through the chimney. To escape, one must die.
Auschwitz Daily Life: Morning Hours
Morning was signaled by a series of whistles, and upon wakening, the prisoners had to make their beds, wash up and then get breakfast. The mattresses were straw, and had to be made up perfectly. Anyone who wasn’t able to stand up was taken away. Breakfast consisted of an unsweetened coffee product or tea.
After breakfast, the prisoners had to line up in rows for the morning roll call. After roll call, the prisoners were marched to their work stations.
The Work Day at Auschwitz
Different prisoners had different assignments during the eleven-hour work day. Some prisoners remained in the camp, working as doctors, writing letters or creating items for everyday life as commanded by the overseers. Some prisoners were assigned to private factories, where they did whatever labor was required of them. Factories paid for this privilege and could dispose of the workers as they saw fit. Most prisoners worked outside the camp, constructing buildings, working on the roads, building train tracks or mining coal.
The workers had a half-hour break for lunch. They were given soup or water. The soup had to be eaten there. If it was stored and found later, the prisoners were beaten and the food removed.
After work, the prisoners were kept in order as they were taken back to the concentration camp.
Evening Hours at Auschwitz
Upon return, the prisoners were greeted with the evening roll call. This took substantially longer than the morning roll call, since it was considered a punishment for people who tried to escape or didn’t work as hard as the guards felt they should have.
Dinner was served after roll call. It usually consisted of bread, which was often spoiled. On some days, usually Saturdays, bread and jam went with the bread.
Not ever prisoner was able to partake of every meal. Only those who arrived on time, while food was still available, were able to eat. Even those who had every meal weren’t eating enough food to sustain themselves for the heavy work day.
After dinner, the prisoners returned to their tight quarters.