Activity: How did camp prisoners survive?

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Learning outcomes 

This Reflective Learning Activity will help you develop your understanding of the conditions and situations that camp prisoners had to endure and how they overcame these conditions.

By the end of this activity:

  • All students will be able to describe conditions within camps.
  • Most students should be able to explain the different conditions camp prisoners endured. They should also be able to list some ways in which prisoners overcame these conditions.
  • Some students may be able to explain in detail camp life and the various dangers prisoners faced. These students may also be able to explain in detail how prisoners overcame these situations.

Resources

In order to carry out this activity you will need to use the following sections of The Holocaust Explained:

What are camps?

Types of camps

How were camps run?

Daily Life

Auschwitz-Birkenau

Nazi antisemitism 1933 - 1939 timeline

Nazi antisemitism 1939 - 1945 timeline

How did camp prisoners survive?

Over the 12 years from 1933 until 1945 the Nazis developed over 20,000 camps across Europe, These camps varied in their use and design. However, the systems of administration and control used across and within these camps were very similar.

As a result of these common systems, the life of camp prisoners were somewhat similar across the various camps.

This Reflective Learning Activity will help you develop your understanding of the conditions and situations that camp prisoners had to endure and how they overcame these conditions.

Activity

Stage 1: Set up a table to collect your evidence

On either a Word document or an A3 sheet of paper, produce a table to record your information (see the example above).

Alternatively, you could produce a mind map to collect and organise your research.

Stage 2: Research - collecting your information

As you read the text and access the various resources on the suggested pages of The Holocaust Explained record any information that you think will help you learn about the conditions, situations and dangers faced by the camp prisoners.

Make sure that you also look for ways in which prisoners survived these situations. In the example (above) you will see that we have started to add details. You can use these and then go on to add your own.

Stage 3: Communicating what you have learned

You could produce a PowerPoint slide show to communicate your findings.

You should have an introduction slide complete with the question, and an appropriate image taken from The Holocaust Explained.

You could have a series of slides in three sections: ‘conditions’, ‘situations’, ‘surviving’.

Alternatively, you could use headings such as ‘dehumanisation’, ‘accommodation’, ‘uniforms and clothing’, ‘daily routines’, ‘meals and food’, ‘work’ and ‘treatment’.

In your slides you will need to give details of the conditions, treatment and/or dangers faced by prisoners. You should also try to show what prisoners did to overcome and survive these situations.

You might want to add appropriate images taken from The Holocaust Explained to support your explanations.