Scrapbookpages Blog

March 27, 2017

Arbeit macht Frei

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:51 am

Gate into the main Auschwitz camp

It is hard to get a photo of the Auschwitz gate because there is a steady stream of tourists walking through the gate.

The slogan “Arbeit macht Frei” literally means that work will set you free. This slogan was put over the gate into the main Auschwitz camp, as shown in the photo above. The “death camp” known as Auschwitz-Birkenau did not have this slogan.

The following quote is from Wikipedia:

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The slogan “Arbeit macht frei” was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. The slogan’s use in this instance was ordered by SS General Theodor Eicke, inspector of concentration camps and second commandant of Dachau Concentration Camp.

The slogan can still be seen at several sites, including over the entrance to Auschwitz I where, according to BBC historian Laurence Rees in his “Auschwitz: a New History”, the sign was erected by order of commandant Rudolf Höss. This particular sign was made by prisoner-labourers including Jan Liwacz. The sign features an upside-down ‘B’, which has been interpreted as an act of defiance by the prisoners who made it.[4][5]

In 1933 the first political prisoners were being rounded up for an indefinite period without charges. They were held in a number of places in Germany. The slogan was first used over the gate of a “wild camp” in the city of Oranienburg, which was set up in an abandoned brewery in March 1933 (it was later rebuilt in 1936 as Sachsenhausen[citation needed]). It can also be seen at the Dachau concentration camp, Gross-Rosen concentration camp, and the Theresienstadt Ghetto-Camp, as well as at Fort Breendonk in Belgium. It has been claimed that the slogan was placed over entrance gates to Auschwitz III / Buna/Monowitz.[6][7] The slogan appeared at the Flossenbürg camp on the left gate post at the camp entry. The original gate posts survive in another part of the camp, but the slogan sign no longer exists.[8] Primo Levi describes seeing the words illuminated over a doorway (as distinct from a gate) in Auschwitz III/Buna Monowitz.[9]

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