The Nazi death camps (German: Konzentrationslager) created during the Second World War killed almost 9 million people. As a result, just in Auschwitz died 1,1 million prisoners. The camps’ aim was the extermination of Jews, Slavs, Gypsies and other non-Aryans. Some camps were to torture people to death and some of them directly murdered those who arrived at the place. Because Auschwitz was a special camp, its function was to force people to slave and starve. Before they died, they had to go through an ordeal.
The most recognisable sign of Auschwitz is the entrance – Auschwitz gate with the motto of the camp: Arbeit macht frei (English: work makes one free). In the short time this turned out to be the biggest lie in the history of Holocaust.
Whats the meaning of Auschwitz gate
Not just Auschwitz had the writing at the entrance. Nazis used this inscription above all as a motivation in many of their extermination camps. That is to say, people who have entered those places had more hope and could believe easier that their stay in this place is just temporary.
No one would believe then it’s going to be the place of death for many of people who were sentenced to work there. If not the outer circumstances, these are the faith and inner motivation to life that keep people alive and – what was crucial to Nazis – working.
Because Auschwitz gate’s function relied on playing with people’s most desire to stay alive and free. And Nazis didn’t care about whether it’s true or not. The end justifies the means – unfortunately we could all see they really followed this saying.
The origin of the Auschwitz gate
The main gate at the Auschwitz I camp as the main camp was made by polish political prisoners by order of Nazis. They were deported in one of the first transports from Wiśnicz at the turn of 1940-1941.
The inscription above the gate – “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work makes one free), which is one of the symbols of KL, was made by prisoners from the locksmith commando under the leadership of Jan Liwacz (camp number 1010).
However, the prisoners reportedly reversed the letter B as a camouflaged manifestation of disobedience.
Crazy history of the inscription at the entrance of Auschwitz death camp
On several occasions, the inscription has been the object of the unhealthy interest of visitors. As a result, in December 2009, the panel was stolen and cut into three parts.
In the same month, thanks to the intervention of polish services, it was successfully recovered and restored. After that, a replica of the inscription was hung over the camp gate. According to the police, the commissioner of the theft was a Swedish neo-Nazi.
Probably the thieves did not bother to answer the question about the symbolic value of the stolen pieces of metal. Something was stolen that was a silent witness to human suffering. A suffering that we, living now, cannot even imagine.