Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

Episode 2

Orders and Initiatives

Aired Unknown Unknown on BBC Two
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Episode Summary

In October 1941, the plans for the new camp extension at Auschwitz-Birkenau are altered to take even more inmates. But no more room is created to accommodate the additional 30,000 people; more prisoners are expected to live in each block. Suffering is built into the very plans. Ten thousand Soviet prisoners are put to work building the extension. They are the victims of appalling brutality, singled out by the Nazis as 'subhuman' and beaten mercilessly. Many of Germany's Jews are now being sent to the Lodz Ghetto in Poland but unknown to them, this is not to be their final destination. The Nazis use the Jewish Ghetto leadership in Lodz to select those who are to be sent to Che_mno to be murdered in mobile gassing vans stationed there. At Auschwitz, Hoss is finding that large-scale murder has its complications. The crematorium next to his office has been used for gassings for months, but the location is far from ideal for mass murder. Two revving motorcycles deliberately posted outside the gas chamber cannot muffle the screams of the victims. Hoss now authorizes the conversion of a peasant house - the Little Red House - in a more remote part of Birkenau, where the killing can be more discreet. Even though Hoss and his colleagues at Auschwitz have discovered how to murder thousands of people, these improvised methods of killing cannot keep pace with the demands of 'the Final Solution', which dreams of eliminating many millions. The Nazis begin to scour all of Europe for more people to bring to Auschwitz and kill. Orders and Initiatives hears disturbing testimony from a female prisoner from Lodz Ghetto, who was forced to provide sexual favours to the Jewish leader in order to survive. There is also testimony from prisoners, including those who witnessed the first gassings at Auschwitz. And for the first time on television, there is an interview with a Slovak perpetrator who knowingly helped to send his Jewish compatriots to their death.moreless

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