Auschwitz – Inside the Nazi State was produced by PBS and narrated by Linda Ellerbee. It featured numerous interviews throughout the course of the documentary with the few Auschwitz survivors who are still alive (of the few who actually survived the camp at all). Many of the survivors were political prisoners, there was one woman who worked sorting the possessions of new arrivals, one was a twin subjected to the experiments of Dr. Mengele while he worked at Auschwitz, and one an actual guard there, a solider of the SS.
The documentary presented the camp in a way that I would not have expected. It did focus on the horror of camp life, on the squalor, and on the inhumanity….but more than that it focused on the Nazi cause of creating an efficient death machine, a mass murdering infrastructure that would do their dirty work while eliminating the horror of it from their vision as much as possible.
I do not consider myself a Holocaust expert, but I have become quite well-read on the subject over the years, as I read my first book on the subject at the age of 10 and followed this up with a book in high school about the Warsaw ghetto and so on. I say this not to toot my own horn, but to offer up the comment that I heard things in the Auschwitz documentary that I had not read before.
I was shocked and appalled to find out that a brothel was established at the Auschwitz camp for the political prisoners to use as a method of placating them to some extent by offering some release for pent up sexual frustration. I was even more disgusted to learn that there were men who used this brothel and still really feel no remorse about it. There reasoning being that it was the woman’s job…she was fed…she was clothed….she got to walk outside.
I can’t say what I would do in a situation beyond my wildest nightmare…even if I were forced to work at burying dead bodies day in and day out, I do not think I would rise up against another human being in my same situation and take advantage of the fact that they are in the same weakened state.
The Auschwitz documentary did not go on to say what happened to these women, so I can only presume that many of them were gassed to help mask the horrors that occurred there. The SS was so keen on covering its own tracks in the final days of the war.
I would recommend that anyone watch this documentary. Even if you already know a great deal about the Holocaust, about Auschwitz, some of the graphical representations and actual presentations of speeches and conversations help form a more accurate picture of what happened there.
As time goes by, more and more of these people die. More and more of the people who were alive at that time are dead, and their children are even dying. It is up to a new generation of us to remember what happened in the death camps like Auschwitz, and I for one will never forget.