Anyone new to Auschwitz history may be unaware, as I was, that one of its objectives was to set up a local camp at Monowitz that would harbour a workforce to speed up the building (for the flagging war effort) of a nearby chemical factory. Monowitz, when Fritz and Gustav arrived, was a fenced and mud-sodden field of sheds – no kitchen, no sanitation, no heat – to which they were marched for three hours each day before working on the uncompleted factory. Here, swiftly identifying their skills in bricklaying and stitching, the Kleinmanns stayed alive while up to 150 of their less useful comrades went off each day to be gassed at Birkenau (Primo Levi was another survivor).
You’ve only got to change a few words to have a description of the Gulag. Starvation instead of gassing, bourgeois instead of Jew. Oh, and that we didn’t chase one set of guards and perpetrators to the ends of the Earth because reasons.