Auschwitz - Grosswerther – Gunskirchen. A Nine Months' Odyssey Through Eight Nazi Concentration Camps
The odyssey of 300 young Jewish women, mostly from Hungary, who had been selected for slave labor in summer 1944 at Auschwitz, serves to illustrate migration within the Nazi concentration camp system in its final phase, where extermination intermingled with exploitation of the inmate workforce. Special emphasis is given to the working and living conditions in the Frankfurt and Grosswerther concentration camps and the evacuation of the latter one. The women’s experience shows not only that Jewish unarmed resistance during an evacuation march was possible and (to a certain degree) successful, but also that the behavior of “ordinary Germans” towards Jews late in the war could span a wide range. The article reports sadistic treatment and blunt killing by SS people, alongside decent treatment by the staff of a textile factory and obvious signs of pity shown by villagers. We see contempt by inmate supervisors, alongside selflessness, when fellow prisoners risked their own lives to save some of those women during an air attack.