Jan Komski — Auschwitz Paintings

Posted by Corinne Schmaltz on January 27, 2020
Eating and Starvation — Each prisoner was supposed to receive a daily ration of 350 grams of bread, half a liter of ersatz coffee for breakfast, and one liter of turnip and potato soup for lunch. Also, four times a week each prisoner was supposed to receive soup with 20 grams of meat. The soup rarely reached the prisoners. Food content ranged from 1,300 calories for light-work prisoners to 1,700 calories for prisoners performing hard labor. The Kapo made sure that the thicker, more nourishing contents from the bottom of the food barrel, were given to his favorite prisoners. Others had to subsist on the watery substance from the top. Prisoners often had dysentery, and swelling of limbs suffering from a sickness known as starvation disease. The SS and the Capos treated them as if they were healthy and so they had to march to work every morning. The SS calculated that a prisoner could exist on the daily food ration for about three months. Then he was supposed to die.
Appell (Roll Call) — “At almost each block, beside the men standing in line, bodies of. persons are lying. These are the victims of the night that have not lived to see the day. Even yesterday they were standing numbers at the roll call and today they lie, lifeless and motionless. Life is not important at the roll call. Numbers are important. Numbers tally. How horribly they are looking, as if returned from the war. These are the marks of yesterday’s work.”
Salmen Gradowski (1973). in Amidst a Nightmare of Crime. Oswiecim: Auschwitz State Museum Publication.
Warmth — The prisoners used the 15 minutes of free time before the roll, trying to stay warm.
Leftovers — Scraping the bottom of the pot. Fill me, the Hole.
Administrative Punishment —
When something unauthorized was found on a prisoner, like an extra piece of bread, he was subjected to this punishment. Komski himself hung like this an hour a day for three consecutive days, because he brought food and medicine back to the camp after a day at work.

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