1st Selection of Weak and Unfit for Gassing at Auschwitz

Birkenau-selection_BWIn 1942, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the huge concentration and extermination camp, was established in addition to Auschwitz I and other sub-camps. Jews, Gypsies and other opponents of the Nazis were brought in from all over Europe. Some were worked to death but most died from starvation, illness, beatings or gassing.The first of many selections carried out in the camp took place on 4 May 1942. The weak, sick, elderly or very young were put into isolation in the camp before being gassed some time later.

Later on, to speed up the process, those who had just arrived in the camp were immediately put through a selection process. Those who were sent one way were deemed fit enough to be able to work, and live, if only for a little while; all others were sent to the gas chambers after being told they were going to take a shower. Gas chambers in Auschwitz even had changing rooms with coat pegs and the extermination room itself had fake shower heads installed, such was the level of deception. Hundreds and thousands of people died in this way, and nine out of ten prisoners gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau were Jewish.

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