In Auschwitz as in their other concentration camps, the Nazi Germans placed prisoners incapable of labor in so-called hospitals (rewirs) or infirmaries. For the SS, this was a convenient mechanism that facilitated both the exploitation of prisoners as slave laborers and the goal of mass killing. Beginning in 1941, prisoners who appeared unlikely to regain their health promptly were selected in the hospitals for lethal injection of phenol to the heart and, from the following year, for death in the gas chambers. Only in rare instances, through various forms of connivance, did the prisoners assigned to the hospitals as doctors and nurses manage to save some of their patients from death. This subject can only be understood by bearing in mind that the records produced in the hospital offices contained fictitious causes of death, as a way of concealing the truth.Audience: secondary-school and university students, teachers.
Lecturer: Andrzej Strzelecki, Ph.D. (on the basis of research by Irena Strzelecka)
Language: Polish, German
Marta Berecka , Ewa Matlak , tel. (+48) 33 844 8064
Photo: The killing of sick prisoners by lethal injection of phenol directly to the heart, as depicted by former prisoner Mieczysław Kościelniak