September 23, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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Birkenau was a hell for women. The mice there were as big as cats

Until 1942, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz was a place of torment and terror only for imprisoned men. “The first women’s wing was built in March 1942, and it was separated from the men’s part of the camp by a two-meter-high brick wall,” Polish guide Seluja Malenkevich says in flawless Slovak.

The stories of Slovak Jews were also documented in a barracks in Auschwitz. Every country whose people suffered in the death camp was given its place. Also Slovakia.

The first women were Jews from Slovakia

“The first women who were sent to Auschwitz were Jews from Slovakia,” adds Silvia Malenkevich, showing us a photo. It was exactly 1,000 young women between the ages of 16 and 30 who were deported to the camp on March 26, 1942 from Poprad. One of them did not survive the transfer. “Initially, the women worked mainly in Auschwitz as well as outside the camp, for example demolishing houses. They were then transferred to help build Birkenau,” Selwiya describes.

Unfortunately, the well-known entrance gate is Birkenau. Photos – Author

The women were in Auschwitz for only a few months, and they were dissolved in mid-August 1942, and the women moved to Birkenau, a branch about three kilometers from the main camp of Auschwitz. This move marked the first mass murder. Of the 12,000 prisoners in the women’s ward, 4,000 were sent to gas at Auschwitz. The others were transferred to Birkenau. The conditions there were frightening.

“The prisoners called themselves Auschwitz a sanatorium, and Birkenau was a hell for them. Hygiene here was so bad that rats were as big as cats. They attacked women, and many of them were so weak that they could not defend themselves,” Seluya says. Thousands of prisoners could only go to the restrooms, and dig in the ground, for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening.

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We entered the camp through the entrance gate, which we only know from photos. The rails lead to this, as transports with men, women and children were taken to the camp.

Women lived half the time

Women in Birkenau suffered torture and harsh conditions shorter than men. “The average life of female prisoners was half as long as the men. The women survived an average of three months and the men six. The average weight was 25 to 35 kg. When we stand in a barracks where Nazis can push up to a thousand prisoners or prisoner.

Barracks in Birkenau. Photos – Author

To survive means not to fall into the hands of doctors. Women were at risk of chemical sterilization and artificial insemination. Pregnant women in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp were killed on the spot. They were not allowed to be born until mid-1943, and Jewish children could not survive. Even those babies who were born have little chance of surviving for a few days. The mothers had no milk, and they could not take care of them. in a

Obstetrics and gynecology in a concentration camp

Auschwitz, we will stop at a large picture of a woman holding a small child and poor children following her. Stanislav Lischenska was sent to a concentration camp with her 24-year-old daughter Sylvia in April 1943. She was a midwife, and her daughter studied medicine. Leszczyńska was at 700 births. Only about 30 infants survived. Mainly thanks to her. Stanisław Leszczyńska survived. In January 1970, she returned to Auschwitz-Birkenau and met the female prisoners and their adult children born in the camp. She died four years later. She was 77 years old.

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Clothes after children who arrived at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Photos – Author

Soon the first women’s camp in Birkenau was so crowded that in 1944 they had to expand it to other parts of the camp. The brutal Nazi plan called for a camp for 200,000 prisoners in Birkenau. After liberation, they found only 7,500 males and females, many of whom did not live long. Today 27,000 people from Slovakia were deported to Auschwitz and later to Birkenau. In 1945, 348 of them returned.

The Nazis planned to push the imprisoned women and men to 600 barracks. Today we stand on a huge area from which you have honeysuckle even in summer. There are only a few barracks in Birkenau. From the rest, the chimneys remained as a memory. Dozens and dozens of stacks. A frightening memory of a dying plant.

Chimneys left after demolishing the barracks at Camp Birkenau. Photos – Author