Scrapbookpages Blog

January 24, 2017

Arbeit macht Frei — what does this slogan mean?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 8:05 am
Excellent photo of the gate into the Auschwitz I camp

Excellent photo of the gate into the Auschwitz I camp

It is hard to get a photo of this gate because there is a steady stream of tourists walking through it.  I took the photo below, by sneaking into the camp early in the morning, before it was officially open for tourists.

My photo of the Arbeit macht Frei gate

My 2005 photo of Arbeit macht Frei gate

Note that my photo above was taken in the early morning hours, before the gate was officially open to visitors. Note that two people had already gone through the gate, so I was confident that I would not be arrested.

Here is the answer to the question in the title of my blog post. “Arbeit macht Frei ” means that “work will set you free” in the spiritual sense — but not literally.

The inmates at the Auschwitz 1 camp, which is the camp that is shown in the photo, were mainly non-Jewish political prisoners. Jewish prisoners were sent to the Auschwitz II camp, also known as Birkenau. It was at Birkeanu that more than a million Jews were killed, allegedly in gas chambers, beginning in February 1942.

 Auschwitz survivors leaving Auschwitz after a visit to the camp where they were held as prisoners

Holocaust survivors leaving Auschwitz after a visit to the camp where they had been held as prisoners

In January 1941, the Auschwitz I camp had been designated a Class I camp, where prisoners had a chance to be released.

Only Class I camps had the “Arbeit Macht Frei” slogan over the gate. Other Class I camps were Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Flossenbürg and Gross-Rosen.

Buchenwald was a Class II camp and Mauthausen was a Class III camp; neither of these camps had the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign.

The six death camps (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno, Majdanek and Auschwtiz II, also known as Birkenau) did not have the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” on the gate into the camp. Allegedly, no one in any of these camps was ever set free.

11 Comments »

  1. According to Zionist ideologist & chief Theodor Herzl, it is anti-Semitism, not work, that ultimately set Jews free (by making the establishment of the State of Israel inevitable, irresistible).

    Comment by hermie — January 25, 2017 @ 12:08 am

  2. Thanks a lot for this information !

    I have not be able to find alone officials information about ranking of concentrations camps.
    Could you help me and give a true link about this ? I thank you very much.

    Noel Greld

    Comment by Noel — January 24, 2017 @ 2:47 pm

    • You wrote: “I have not be able to find alone officials information about ranking of concentrations camps.”

      What do you mean by the term “ranking of the camps.”

      The camps did not have any “ranking” as far as I know. Are you asking for the “ranking” as far which camps were the worst? Are you asking about which camps were so-called “death camps” and which were not death camps?

      Comment by furtherglory — January 24, 2017 @ 4:13 pm

      • I think Noel was merely referring to the ranking of German concentration camps as Class I, II or III camps, FG.

        Comment by hermie — January 25, 2017 @ 12:14 am

      • Yes, as sais Hermie, I search about these informations : Class I, II and others.
        Sorry, I’m French so… may be sometimes not using good words.

        Comment by Noel — January 25, 2017 @ 2:21 am

        • Les camps de classe I étaient les moins durs, Noel. Pour les délinquants réhabilitables et relativement peu dangereux. Le portail de ces camps disaient “Arbeit macht frei” (Le travail rend libre), pas en boutade cynique comme on l’entend souvent, mais car une réhabilitation par le travail et une réinsertion ultérieure dans la société civile étaient possibles (pour peu que les détenus concernés y mettent du leur, bien entendu).

          Les camps de classe II étaient plus durs, plus disciplinaires. Pour les criminels plus dangereux que les détenus des camps de classe I. Le portail de ces camps disaient “Jedem das Seine” (On récolte ce que l’on sème) car une réinsertion dans la société civile était plus improbable.

          Le seul camp de classe III était le camp de Mauthausen. Réservé aux criminels les plus endurcis du Reich. Chances de libération et de réinsertion quasi nulles.

          Voilà. J’imagine que furtherglory va compléter ce bref descriptif et t’en apprendre davantage…

          Comment by hermie — January 25, 2017 @ 7:55 am

          • Merci Hermie pour les précisions !

            Comment by Noel — January 25, 2017 @ 11:20 am

            • De rien.

              Comment by hermie — January 25, 2017 @ 7:43 pm

  3. Whatever sign says what the official position as I’ve heard it was the sign was just “kidding”….You know making jest that the real purpose of the camp was to kill them.
    It’s like the swimming pool, it was there for the fire brigade to get water from…..LOL

    Jim Rizoli

    Holocausthandbooks.com
    CODOH.COM
    CCFIILE.COM
    IHR.ORG
    VHO.ORG

    Comment by Jim Rizoli — January 24, 2017 @ 8:53 am


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