Describe the prisoners' indoctrination into concentration camp life and how it benefits tht Nazis.

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indoctrination of the prisoners started even before they reached the concentration camp. The German Nazis made them wear the yellow star, which marked them "different" from the rest of the society. The symbol was aimed at making them feel embarrassed of their identity. While the German Nazis wore the swastikas, the Jewish people were made to wear the yellow star in the form of the Star of David.

The prisoners had their names replaced by numbers. The German Nazis denied them identity and humanity. The prisoners were to be perceived as expendable items. This idea could be used to force them to comply with all orders in order to "redeem themselves."

The selections were also a form of indoctrination aimed at forcing the prisoners to fight for their survival, which preserved them for work aimed at bolstering the German Nazi war efforts. The prisoners were motivated to stay strong by the fear of death. The forced baths at every camp were aimed at achieving the same purpose.

The Nazis wanted the Jews to settle into prison life and preoccupied them with a myriad of tasks that benefited the war efforts. The occasional hangings and shootings were aimed at instilling fear and asserting authority in order to control the prisoners and prevent insurrections.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Nazis were very good at running concentration camps by the time Auschwitz was opened.  They had perfected the means by which they controlled prisoners, and this effort, both in real life and in the book Night, which, after all, is based on Elie Wiesel's own experiences, centered around giving the prisoners hope that they could somehow survive this.

At the entrance to every concentration camp was the sign with the German words "Arbeit Macht Frei", work will make you free, which somehow suggested that this wasn't the death camp that it was.  Prisoners ran on fear, and were conditioned to do so.  They feared that they would be randomly selected for executions or beatings, and that the only thing that would prevent this would be to follow every command, and work as hard as they could.  New prisoners learned this very quickly.

The Nazis benefited from this in many ways.  Besides being able to control the camps more easily, the workers made them war material, uniforms, and other goods sold in Germany that made the Holocaust, ironically and horribly, profitable.

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