Chapter 12: Our Investors Would Expect No Less

Conditions at Monowitz and I.G. Auschwitz were a living nightmare. They were exploited, as one Nazi bigwig put it, "to the highest possible extent at the lowest possible expenditure." (53) Truth be told, it was even worse than that. You could get a lot of work out of a slave over the course of the slave's long life - America did it with black "slaves" before and black "criminals" today. But the "slaves" at I.G. Auschwitz were quickly worked to death. It was not slave labor, it was death labor.

Slave Labor at the Gate of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Group of women prisoners march to forced labor. (1943 - 1944)

The diet was designed to kill you from exhaustion in three months - less if you were weak or sick. A Buna plant worker and Auschwitz escapee vividly described the work conditions:

"(our working place) was divided into small sectors of 10 x 10 posts, each guarded by an SS man. Whoever stepped outside these squares during working hours was immediately shot without warning for having "attempted to escape." Often it happened that out of pure spite an SS man would order a prisoner to fetch some given object outside his square. If he followed the order, he was shot for having left his assigned place. The work was extremely hard and there were no rest periods. The way to and from work had to be covered at a brisk military trot; anyone falling out of line was shot. ... Very few could bare the strain and although escape seemed hopeless, attempts were made every day. The result was several hangings a week." (54)

Fritz ter Meer
Fritz ter Meer - one of the top overseers of I.G. Auschwitz and the highest-ranking member to do time for war crimes - said at his trial:

"Forced labor did not inflict any remarkable injury, pain, or suffering on the detainees, particularly since the alternative for these workers would have been death." (55)

Fritz didn't bother to mention the fact that I.G.'s campaign contributions, the anti-Semitic and authoritarian examples they set and prototype concentration camps they conceived in WWI were the main factors in limiting their present "detainees" options so dramatically.


(53) ibid, p 154

(54) ibid, p. 144

(55), see also:

IG Auswitz in 1943

Prisoners carrying food containers for other prisoners performing forced labor. (1943 - 1944)

Daily march of Slave Laborers from Auschwitz Concentration Camp III (Monowitz)

SS guard

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