Eating and Starvation
painting by Jan Komski
Each prisoner was supposed to receive a daily ration of 350 grams of bread, half a liter of ersatz coffee for breakfast, and one liter of turnip and potato soup for lunch. Also, four times a week each prisoner was supposed to receive soup with 20 grams of meat.
The soup rarely reached the prisoners. Food content ranged from 1,300 calories for light-work prisoners to 1,700 calories for prisoners performing hard labor.
The Kapo made sure that the thicker, more nourishing contents from the bottom of the food barrel, were given to his favorite prisoners. Others had to subsist on the watery substance from the top.
Prisoners often had dysentery, and swelling of limbs suffering from a sickness known as starvation disease. The SS and the Capos treated them as if they were healthy and so they had to march to work every morning.
The SS calculated that a prisoner could exist on the daily food ration for about three months. Then he was supposed to die.
All art in this exhibit is copyright © Auschwitz Museum.