75th. Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe
Work Makes Free
This is the sign on the gate that every prisoner saw as he entered Auschwitz.
No lie was ever so true!
Most people never even saw the gates of Auschwitz with its infamous greeting.
Most of them went straight to the gas chambers and never saw the camps as Dr Mengele would
stand and point where each prisoner was to go either to the camp or the gas chamber.
“In her postwar testimony, Olga Albogen, a Holocaust survivor, relates to her family’s arrival in
Auschwitz in the following way, “…We didn’t even say goodbye to Mother and the little ones. We
just had some food yet from home and I gave it to my mother and said, “We’ll see you tonight.”
And that was it and I never saw them again”
Of the 1.4 million people murdered in the gas chambers, 90% were Jews while the others were
Poles, priests and religious, prisoners of war, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals and other
Those who entered the camp were hosed down, heads were shaved, given a number, (tattoos
came in the later years) and prison garb to wear.
It was said that if a person survived the first day, then the next goal was to survive the first
If he survived the first week, the next goal was to survive for 90 days.
If he survived for 90 days then the sky was the limit.
The camp breakfast consisted of “coffee” made from acorns, grains or herbs.
The main meal consisted of three-fourths of a liter of watery soup and bread with occasional
margarine, or cheese or a tablespoon of preserves on special holidays such as Hitler’s birthday.
The bread survivors said was a dark, heavy, wheatless food like nothing they had ever seen
before. Corn was the only ingredient they could positively identify in it.
The camps were a source of free forced labor for everything imaginable from working the
nearby farms, to collecting the belongings of the new prisoners for their jewelry, their clothes, to
even their hair and the gold in their teeth, to working in the gas chambers and crematoriums.
Prayer : Blessed St. Joseph, who worked in your carpentry shop for your family, intercede for
me that the work I do today may be not only for myself and my family but for the good of my
neighbor and the whole human family.
Questions and Mediations :
1. What did I have to eat today?
2. What work did I do?
3. Who has no food and who is unemployed?
4. Where does slavery and forced labor still exist in the world?
5. Who are the isolated and rejected in society today?