The plaque on the door of the camp read “Work is Liberty.” What was your reaction when you read it? Why would the Nazi’s have put that there?

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Jasmin Ritchie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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'Arbeit Macht Frei' was not a plaque on a door, it was  scripted in iron over the gated entrance of Auschwitz. (The same inscription appears at Dachau) The reason I clarify is because it was high enough for everyone to read amid the chaos and confusion once off the trains. 'Arbeit Macht Frei' depending upon which holocaust survivor, translated the phrase either 'the work will set you free' or 'work brings freedom'. Many Jewish prisoners believed just that, they were prisoners being sent to 'work camps'. However, it became apparent to family members held hostage in the Warsaw ghettos that once a person boarded the trains (actually cattle cars) to the 'work camps' they were never heard from again. As an historian, the research suggests that the Nazis erected the statement over the gate for two reasons, both psychological. The first was Hitler's...

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