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Kelly Atkinson

30 September 2015
UWRT 1102-003
Wertz-Orbaugh

Final Inquiry Proposal


Throughout middle school and high school many of courses focused on the events that took
place during the Holocaust. I have learned about the conditions in the camps and how brutal
certain tasks and experiences were. Having a strong foundation of conditions in the camps, I
would like to further my knowledge by focusing in on Auschwitz. This camp was the deadliest
of all the camps and I want to know what made it stand out over the others. Discrimination of
gender in the camps was also prevalent and a lot of women and young children were killed off
upon arrival. Due to this, in my opinion women and children are overlooked in the study of the
Holocaust. The brutal and hard work people went through is primarily focused towards the men
in the concentration camps versus the women. I think there is a connection between gender and
chance of survival at Auschwitz and the goal of my inquiry is to learn about the differences
between conditions of other concentration camps and Auschwitz, as well as how gender played a
role in survival there.
As I dig deeper into my inquiry I do have a wide range of questions. Having good
research questions has always helped me develop more information regarding my inquiry topic.
In order to know if there was a prevalent discrimination towards women, I need to understand
the rights individuals had in Germany at this time. Did women have equal rights to man in
Germany or Poland at the time of the Holocaust? Rights movements were going on in the U.S.

at this time but I have never focused on the women or feminist movements of other countries. If
women did not have equal rights at the time, if they could have stood up against men, would this
have made a difference in Hitlers take over. Also learning about how Auschwitz used certain
propaganda tactics or brainwashing of the Nazi soldiers so they would not feel emotion or
mercy towards the prisoners. All of these questions play a factor in the development of my
thesis.
There are different conditions of Auschwitz I would like to focus on. The labor and
workforce is a big area to cover, but I would like to learn about the differences between the labor
men and women were forced to do. Therefore, I want to focus on aspects of task force and how
the hierarchy of prisoners was established. Also in the camps there were prisoners who would
attempt to rebel, but also ones who did not were still punished. What types of behaviors were
prisoners punished for? Were they humiliated in front of groups of people or was punishment
usually death. The punishments enforced on prisoners, most likely, differed based on ones sex.
To develop my research further, I would like to look at how women were punished versus men.
Were men succumbed to labor and women sex? This is a common stereotype of sex and
punishment in the Holocaust. But I want to hone in on the punishments at Auschwitz
specifically.
My research can contribute to my knowledge of the Holocaust and others as well. I will
be researching what made Auschwitz especially bad for males versus females. In some
circumstances man or woman may have had it easier or harder in regards to conditions of living,
discrimination, and punishment. How were men/women discriminated against initially upon
arrival, and further into the camp? Women and young children may have been considered weak
and not capable of certain tasks. Infamous amounts of conditions, issues, and emotions go into

why one lost their life compared to why one survived. Life in Auschwitz was considered the
worst of all the concentration camps. My research will answer what was different based on sex
and why Auschwitz was the deadliest camp in the Holocaust.