All photographs copyright
© Alan Jacobs.

Latrine in Men's Quarantine Camp - BIIa

The front half of these barracks contained washing facilities. There were only three such barracks in BIIa. There were 16 living barracks. The latrines were accessible for only short periods.

There was no privacy, very little water for washing and little or no opportunity for personal cleanliness in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Prisoners were often afflicted with typhus and other diarrhea-producing illnesses.

Author Terrence Des Pres described it as an "excremental assault" and wrote: "How much self-esteem can one maintain, how readily can one respond to the needs of another, if both stink, if both are caked with mud and feces?"*.

* Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (Pocket Books: New York, 1976) p. 66.