The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/capo.01

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: The Destruction of Hope...
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Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Fenelon,Birkenau,Capo

Archive/File: camps/auschwitz capo.01
Last-modified: 1993/03/05

Fania Fenelon relates a conversation between herself and Ewa (a Polish
friend and fellow prisoner with Fania at Birkenau); the discussion began
when Ewa, troubled by a fellow Pole's monstrous behavior, approached Fania
to let her know that all Poles were not to be judged by the behavior of a
few.  This leads to a discussion about the Polish kapos, and why they
behave the way they do.  I thought the thoughts expressed were worth 

"They're pretty tough physically, and you need to be, in their job. The SS
know it and get the message across. Some of these women have been here
since 1942. When a young girl is flung into this atrocious atmosphere, here
instinct orders her to react. She learns very quickly that you have to
please the Nazis in order to survive, and that to do that you have to act
like they do - it's only then that they trust you. That's the only
guarantee of survival one can have here. It's true for people like [kapos].
They've ended up thinking like Nazis, feeling that they too are a master
race. The Nazis obliterate all traces of humanity in the internees, they
appeal to the lowest instincts, set prisoners against each other, arouse
all possible forms of savagery, crush the weak, protect those who become
monstrous like themselves - and that's how they attain one of the aims of
National Socialism; the destruction of human dignity. And of course with
some underprivileged people born in a socially impoverished milieu, where
there's no education of any kind, the ground is already prepared; all you
need to do is alternately beat them and reward them for them to become
torturers in their turn." (Fenelon, 133-34)

                             Work Cited

Fenelon, Fania, with Marcelle Routier. Playing for Time.
New York: Athenium, 1977. ISBN 0-689-10796-X

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