Auschwitz Birkenau: “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes One Free)

Auschwitz Birkenau: “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes One Free)

The entrance was ironic because the prisoners were not set free regardless of their work.

The entrance was ironic because the prisoners were not set free regardless of their work.


Barbed wires, fortified walls, cremation ovens, gas chambers, barracks, and broken dreams were all components of Auschwitz Birkenau. Auschwitz Birkenau is located in Poland, and is considered a historical site because of it falls under criteria 6, which means that this landscape has a historical background of inhumane cruelty towards fellow humans (UNESCO). Auschwitz Birkenau was built during World War II (1940-1945), by the orders of Adolf Hitler, the powerful leader of Germany during the Third Reich. His main goal was to exterminate the Jewish population by sending his famous Nazi SS army to gather every Jewish person and the send them by train towards the concentration camps. Auschwitz Birkenau was the most famous concentration camps in which approximately 1.5 million Jewish people were severely starved, tortured, forced into strong labor, and murdered. This concentration camp was the largest compared to the rest of the extermination camps. The Holocaust his viewed as the symbol of human cruelty, world’s largest genocide, and racial discrimination. Having Auschwitz as a place where most of the genocide took place.
Every person was given a tattooed number which they were called my their number instead of their name.

Every person was given a tattooed number which they were called my their number instead of their name.


The Nazi Germans had no mercy towards not only the Jewish population, but towards homosexuals, Gypsies, Polish, and Soviet soldiersMen, women, and children were all victims of the cruelty that took place in this horrific place. As soon as all the prisoners enter Auschwitz, the Nazi SS will separate the women and children from the males. Usually, the children and women were sent straight towards the gas chambers to be murdered. The women and children had to walk towards their deaths without them knowing. The gas chambers looked like shower rooms in which the women and children were told that they would shower but instead, they were gassed to their deaths. The males would be starved to death and forced to work in harsh conditions for long periods of time without a break. When the SS men noticed that a man was not in a “good physical shape” to work or diagnosed with a disease, they were shot in place or sent to the gas chambers to be gassed. The prisoners were also forced to sleep in barracks with no blankets, so they had no choice but to sleep in the cold winter nights. Not only did they not have blankets, but they also had to sleep with a lot of people in the same small bed. Every morning around 4 a.m., the prisoners were awaken by the SS men and token outside in the cold weather for roll call. This usually took around 3 hours long and throughout this time all the prisoners had to be standing up and fully awake.
The living conditions in these places where terrible, people had to live with people with different diseases such a tuberculosis, influenza, or measles.

The living conditions in these places where terrible, people had to live with people with different diseases such a tuberculosis, influenza, or measles.


Auschwitz Birkenau was one of the most horrific concentration camps used to exterminate the whole Jewish population during the Holocaust. In 1945, the American Army freed the remaining prisoners from Auschwitz, and what they saw was the most disturbing, yet heartbreaking image they had ever seen in their lives. Today, many generations of the Jewish community come to Auschwitz to pray for their dead. Auschwitz became a historical site because to every Jewish family, this is a day to remember the Jewish genocide and by the use of these remains of Auschwitz or any concentration camp, the whole world would understand to what extent one individual can do because of racial discrimination. The Holocaust was the most horrible mass murder that ever happened in history, and though the use of museums and the historical sites such as Auschwitz, the world can prevent another genocide from occurring. I have never been so disturbed and heartbroken. Leaning about what happened during this time period the only thing I thought was that, how can a single person cause so much damage towards a whole race? The children killed in these concentration camps could have been doctors who found a cure for cancer, lawyers, or inventors. The Holocaust will never be forgotten, it is a symbol of human cruelty, and a message to the world, to prevent another horrible event from happening.
This is where the majority of the prisoners where killed.

This is where the majority of the prisoners where killed.


The Jewish community annually honor and remember their loved ones by bringing flowers, praying, and lighting candles.

The Jewish community annually honor and remember their loved ones by bringing flowers, praying, and lighting candles.

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6 Responses to Auschwitz Birkenau: “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes One Free)

  1. When it comes to history, my favorite area of study is World War II. I know that what happened during the war (in both Germany and Japan) is very tragic and it always saddens me but I can’t help but be interested in what took place. Two books that I absolutely love, The Book Thief and The Boy Who Dared, are both about a child that grew up in Nazi Germany. One grew up to help the resistance through the spreading of flyers and true information about the war while the other helped in hiding a Jew in her home. Both stories had fact and fiction in its writing but both show the lives of those who were not thrown into a concentration camp but had still suffered during the war. Along with these two books I would also recommend watching the movie Schindler’s List which will without a doubt leave you crying.

  2. mgoldberg4 says:

    As a person of Jewish ancestry I feel this article is well written and adequately portrays the significance of this world heritage site. I really found the background context given in accordance to describing the significance of the site to be a very great mechanic for getting the point across.

  3. yjain916 says:

    I took a class on the Holocaust my senior year of high school and learning about the work camps, extermination camps, and all the terrible things that happened during the Holocaust was really eye opening and tragic. It’s sickening to think that people could do the things that they did to other human beings. I also think it’s important that people are educated on the wrongness of what went on during the Holocaust, that way we can hopefully prevent another mass genocide from ever happening again.

  4. rashedaak says:

    Through out all our lives as students all of us have been touched with this topic at least once, this was a good reminder of all those lessons.

  5. hmunoz2 says:

    Auschwitz is an amazing historic place. Although the history behind it may not be the best, it is still a reminder of how far we have come as a human race. I really hope to visit it one day and learn more about it. I really enjoyed reading your blog.

  6. ktorres24 says:

    Your blog made me tear up inside because it is such a dark part of history. It reminded me of the movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I think that only through this site can people fully understand how serious it was. It is something that will always be remembered and never forgotten.

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