I.G. Farben’s Auschwitz Diet
I.G. Auschwitz: I.G. Farben’s Buna (synthetic rubber) division, built near the site of the Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II concentration camps. (Farben eventually built their own corporate concentration camp at the site, to eliminate the need to march prisoners several miles to and from the Buna plant every day, as had been the practice. It was known as Monowitz, and had a sign over the gate which read “Arbeit Macht Frei.”)
“Starvation was a permanent guest at Auschwitz. The diet fed to I.G. Auschwitz inmates, which included the famous `Buna Soup’ – a nutritional aid not available to other prisoners – resulted in an average weight loss for each individual of about six and a half to nine pounds a week. At the end of a month, the change in the prisoner’s appearance was marked; at the end of two months, the inmates were not recognizable except as caricatures formed of skin, bones, and practically no flesh; after three months, they were either dead or so unfit for work that they were marked for release to the gas chambers at Birkenau. Two physicians who studied the effect of the I.G. diet on the inmates noticed that `the normally nourished prisoner at Buna could make up the deficiency by his own body for a period of three months….The prisoners were condemned to burn up their own body weight while working and, providing no infections occurred, finally died of exhaustion.'” (Borkin, 125)
Borkin, Joseph. The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben. New York: The Free Press, 1978, and London: Macmillan Publishing Company.