Gassing at Death Camps
When Hitler became the leader of Germany there was only one main goal that he wanted to achieve which was the creation of the perfect Aryan society which involved the destruction of the inferior race in society, the Jews. Hitler could not create a solution that would remove the Jews from the Germany. He first believed that it was possible by transporting them to a different country such as Madagascar, however this solution was too expensive to complete. Hitler then concluded that the only way to remove the Jews from Germany was through the Final Solution which was to kill all the Jews. This Final Solution that was implemented by the Nazis SS members and many police battalions involved many horrendous killing mechanisms.
The worst killing mechanism to me that happened during the Holocaust was the gassing of the Jews. However, I am not saying that all the other killing mechanisms were not bad because they all involved the Jews to have a very painful death. For example, the shooting riots in Polish ghettos that are described in Brown’s novel of Ordinary Men are alarming and dreadful experiences that the Jews and the police battalions has to witness. To me, the idea of gassing the victims seems to be the most painful killing mechanism created to continue the destruction of the Jews. The process of killing the Jews by gassing was decided through numerous discussion and experimentations. The gassing process involved them breathing in “Chelmno with bottled carbon monoxide, and Zyklon B was usually selected as the most efficient gas for quickly killing large numbers of people.”1 Many Holocaust survivors describe their personal accounts of arriving to the concentration camps and witnessing the gassing and burning of Jews. The Jews arrived at the camps and were instructed to remove their clothing and were separated into lines some who were instructed to work and others to be gassed. Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz death camp discusses the actual process of extermination through gassing, he stated “the Jews were made to undress near the bunker…all the rooms were filled at the same time, the gas proof doors were screwed up and the contents of the gas containers discharged into the rooms through special vents. After half an hour the doors were reopened, the dead bodies were taken out, and brought to the pits in small trolleys which ran on rails.”2 The idea of gassing to me was the most brutal type of extermination that could be used. I could not imagined being gassed or hearing the screams of the victims that were gassed. Did the usage of gas to exterminate the Jewish population help the SS members and the police battalions in a way to save their humanity? Or was it used because it was the most efficient process to kill numerous amount of Jews at once?
- Jackson Spielvogel and David Redles, Hitler and Nazi Germany, A History 7th ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010), 263.
- Benjamin Sax and Dieter, eds., Inside Hitler’s Germany, A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath Company, 1992), 442.
- Gassing Chambers in Auschwitz Concentration Camps, from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Gassing_chamber_desguised_as_showers_to_mass-murder_-_Auschwitz_I_%289307486504%29.jpg