Birkenau Prisoners Reception: The Sauna

Birkenau Sauna

Birkenau Prisoners Reception: The Sauna

This is where prisoners selected for slave labor were processed. Often people would have to wait outside naked in any weather.

Here they would have to give up all their remaining possessions: money, jewels, even wedding rings and photos.

In short, the prisoner was left with only one possession, his or her body. In this building planned humiliation was performed on the confused and terrified new arrivals.

Men and women were forced to stand on stools, in a room crowded with people while heads, armpits and other intimate parts of one’s body were shaved by male prisoners and where numbers were tattooed in each arm.

It is also where prisoners already in the camp were deloused, this because of the raging typhus epidemics.

After liberation at Bergen-Belsen, former Auschwitz and Birkenau prisoner Adolf Gawalewicz said to British Army personal during a personal DDT session:

“It’s not going to work. Even the Germans couldn’t get rid of the lice!”

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