Introduction: Cosmopolitan to Concentration Camp
When most of us hear the word "Auschwitz" it immediately invokes black and white, grainy footage of living skeletons, gas chambers and inhuman brutality of a level never seen since. But the thing that most people do not realize is that before the town of Auschwitz was used as a death camp, it was one of the most posh and cosmopolitan towns in all of Austria. It was a prosperous Jewish enclave known rather fondly as "Little Jerusalem".
Since the economic and social reforms in Austria in the late 19th century, the Jewish population had thrived as equal citizens and rose up the social ladder to esteemed occupations and cultural influence. It was from this lofty height of financial and social success that this little enclave had been ripped from, down to the depths of death and destruction.
The construction of the compound that became known as the Auschwitz concentration camp actually began in 1916; the original purpose of the building was for it to be a kind of unemployment office. Situated right on the eastern frontier of Austria, it was meant to be a way station for immigrant workers from the East, mostly from Poland, who came to the country in search of work. Even after the Nazi takeover and conversion of the compound to a death camp, the facade of referring to the building as simply a work processing facility, rather than a factory of death, remained a prominent deception during the rest of the Second World War.
A cruel trick that was made infamous by the words that the Nazi's emblazoned on the building to greet the doomed internee's, the words, "Arbeit Macht Frie" translated in English as, "Work Will Set You Free". This was the twisted phrase that the Denizen of this camp would be greeted with; when in reality they would not find any freedom from their misery until they were either worked to death or murdered in Hitler's gas chambers.
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Yes, I would recommend this book to friends because this is exactly what is happening in today's political world, especially in the United States of America.
Yes, because it was so interesting.
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