Content warning: Rape, war, death.
We are beings capable of love, yet also of destruction. We build and optimize entire societies, yet are quick to tear down and end another life without relent in the pursuit of greater wealth, power, and patriotism.
A saying once went, “Construction is an act of destruction.”
I think that construction and destruction cannot ever completely be mutually exclusive. Design was meant to bring order to a world flowing with equilibriums of entropy and chaos. However, to maintain order is to curtail freedom as authority monitors to correct any disorder.
Three years after the Nazis came to power, the Oranienburg Concentration Camp was built within close proximity of Berlin in 1936. This was a strategic move as the camp was isolated from Berlin, yet was close enough that the Gestapo (Germany’s secret police) could use the camp to execute their convicted criminals. Initially, the camp intended to hold males only, but the SS eventually also held female prisoners. This meant that female SS (Schutzstaffel) personnel were then hired to monitor the prisoners. These women were often viewed as progressive individuals, as becoming an SS officer was one of the few opportunities women Socialists had to live an independent life from men and to achieve economic freedom. The average pay per month was 200, yet SS soldiers received 1500 per month.
The goal of the Oranianburg Camp was to exploit prisoners through hard labor while they were isolated from society, though death was not the overall goal despite it having been taken into account. At least 200,000 prisoners went through this camp, and at least 35,000 died (not including the deaths of prisoners whom were transferred to different camps).
Prisoners received badges to signify their hierarchy status. Red signified political opponents. Green signified convicted criminals. Pink signified non-hetersexual citizens. Violet signified jehovah’s witnesses, and women did not exist in this hierarchy. Reports have been made regarding the summer of 1944 about how women were brought to concentration camps for forced prostitution for the privileged prisoners.
Each barrack held between 400 and 600 prisoners, where those higher on the hierarchy scale were housed with less prisoners. It was stated that every prisoner had the right to take two showers and two laundry washes per week, though an anonymous source reported being granted permission to take their first shower after two months since arriving to the concentration camp. Bugs often crawled throughout the barracks and diseases were easily spread.
The materials and manufacturing procedures used today in the shoe industry is largely rooted to the shoe-testing facilities at Oranianburg which prisoners endured through strenuous research experiments. A typical prisoner at these facilities passed away within 6 to 8 weeks at these facilities due to hunger or exhaustion.
The audacity for humans to treat another being with the utter lack of sensitivity and remorse throughout World War II persists the cycles which deteriorate the human society. People rapidly seek to avoid shame, which to psychologists, is the fear of disconnection. However, people become more inclined to exclude others when they feel that they already belong to a specific group, as if inclusion is a detriment to their validation of group membership.
The human condition can be both astounding yet devastating. To seek order is to seek an extent of control, and to seek control is to command authority to monitor for and maintain order.
But you must first be willing to see the disorder.