How Does the Treatment of Prisoners in Concentration Camps Cause Their Psyche to Change? Free Essay

Published: 2023-08-02
How Does the Treatment of Prisoners in Concentration Camps Cause Their Psyche to Change? Free Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  World War 2 Concentration camps Mental disorder
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1655 words
14 min read

The prisoners in concentration camps undergo treatment that is likely to cause a change in their psyche in many ways. The situation in concentration camps causes the prisoner's psyche to change. The prisoners stay in small areas with inadequate facilities where they are forced to provide labor. The concentration camps were established in 1933-1945 by Nazis in Germany and were about a hundred of them, which also occupied Europe. Nazis administered massive prisoners into the camps that conquered Soviet territories stretching across Europe. The individuals were arrested and imprisoned based on various reasons, such as political affiliation and ethnicity.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The prisoners in concentration camps were subjected to unimaginable terrors since the first day they got into the camps, leading to a change in their psyche. Life in the concentration camps is not as easy as people may think. It is quite devastating since prisoners' existence is dehumanized through the involvement of a struggle for survival that is against a designed system meant to annihilate them. Prisoners are forced to alter their natural approach to life as a result of the severe treatment they experience while in the camps. In this essay, I will demonstrate through my reading of Robert Antelme, Primo Levi, and Marguerite Duras' testimonies that concentration camps force prisoners to alter their natural approach to life due to the severe treatment by the camp.

For ″If This is a Man″ by Primo Levi touch on what he mentions about moral systems and stealing. (in camps stealing is illegal, but people do it anyway)

Primo Levi gives a true definition of how the treatment of prisoners in concentration camps causes their psyche to change through describing various situations in concentration camps like stealing and moral systems. Stealing is illegal, but it still takes place in the camps. It is easier to relate the experience through the narration of Primo's life who experiences huge suffering after being subjected to prison life in the Auschwitz camp. The prisoners here are beaten, starved, and overworked to the point of death due to exhaustion.

The camps lack moral practices towards the prisoners. Some were even sent to the gas chambers to die. The harsh conditions within the camps make the prisoners lose their self-interest and compassion. These prisoners have to struggle and maintain a sense of humanity to be capable of facing degrading conditions designed to turn prisoners into non-person within the camps. The prisoners are made to feel like animals; for instance, the healthy ones are separated from the ill ones to leave them to die, but a few manage to get out like Primo.

The prisoners in concentration camps have the opportunity to experience both sides of good and evil through symbols and signs in various events that they take part in. The concentration camps lack good moral systems that govern the prisoners. Their psyche is fully changed since they have to survive with the hard situations within the concentration camps. The prisoners lacked clothing, which is an essential basic need for every human being.

Bargaining in concentration camps is highly prohibited since most of the bargaining transactions are based on smuggling (Primo 94). Materials are highly smuggled within the concentration camps, and SS works towards suppressing such acts. Theft is highly practiced in the camps, even though it is illegal. The issue of stealing in camps involves various materials, tools, utensils, and products. Prisoners are taught how to be responsible through prescribed regulations within the camps. Such theft behaviors in camps make the prisoners' psyche to change from what they were used to initially.

An idea for ″The Human Race″ by Robert Antelme is the story about his dish being stolen by an inmate. Also, Antelme speaks on those turning their backs on their own to survive (p.169 with the doctor).

Robert Antelme displays ideas that show how prisoners in concentration camps lost their psyche through the narration of certain events in the concentration camps. Antelme used a moving memoir to dedicate a task that traces the human race outline in both witness and victim perspective. Robert describes the personal and colleague's experiences in the departure to escape the Allied armies in the escort of the distressed SS, complete exhaustion, and the ultimate freedom. On liberation, their conditions are critical nearing collapse. Antelme seemed to be dying and happened when the American liberators had imposed quarantine as a measure for typhus. He ends up falling among sprawled bodies and calls out for help from the passing by a minister who organizes for his rescue operation. P.6) The prison resulted in the drastic loss of weight from 200 pounds to 70 pounds. Through the doctor found by Dura, he was able to former weight and was saved from death.

The prisoners' aristocracy contempt in the beginning point resulted in the engagement in defending the others, but the psyche faded up as time moved. The position required the prisoner to avoid any suspicion from the SS and, therefore, with time, had to give up and save own self back to the terrible treatment. The securing process results in the prisoner developing hatred to the person likely to cause trouble and result in them accounted for the happening. For example, the doctor's position offered protection and a better situation than the rest. Therefore, any conflict with the SS would lead to a return to the oppressive life. However, the internal self of the person disturbs them their role in preventing others from the situation.

The treatment of the prisoners reduces the psyche of the patient of surviving. In the place where Antelme was lying, the patients are very thin, and Kommando's life is at the Knick. The SS used to keep vising the place, and the doctor would be terrified and become restless. The patients showed no hope of recovering to normal. The SS instilled fear to the doctor and the prisoners of finding any crooked or suspicious thing. The doctor who had been in the same situation as the patients enjoys the advantage of a separate bed, warmth, food, and doesn't have to participate in roll call but still has lost the psych.

The treatment resulted in the prisoner to lose the psyche to seek revenge. Robert experiences his colleagues' suffering. However, he impassively merged them with the oppressors to the same. The oppressors to his examination were equally vulnerable, complicated, and unpredictable. Perhaps the oppressors were volunteer leaders from the prisoners; they are all analyzed in the memoir.

In ″The War″ Memoir by Marguerite Duras is Robert antelme′s wife. She is awaiting his return. Once he is back, she looks at the way she describes the way he eats (p.60-61) it was animalistic, and this is one of the many things that changed about him due to the maltreatment of humans in camps

The treatment of the prisoners resulted in losing psyche to offer food to the victim who shows changes. For example, Robert, after release, ended up having increased fever as hunger worsened. The wife was worried if he would be back to normal and eve herself lose appetite. The doctors decide to offer some food and therefore had to be offered all the kinds of food in a gradually increased proportion. Robert eats for a while without having any change and even worried about keeping on eating with no visible changes. The process of recovery involved eating like it is a duty.

The memoir describes how the arrest of Marguerite's husband leads to losing her psyche in activist activities. Robert, a French resistance activist, was arrested, and the wife is left desperate to receive news of his whereabouts. The crimes of the war reports received by the prisoner who was the activist reduce their psyche. The escalating debate resulted in the summing up of a complex description of the betrayal, pain, fear, and the power of losing the loved ones. There is a bombing that happens in the first weeks after the release of the detainees. There is a depiction of tortures, murders, and betrayal troubles encountered in world war II.

The war presents the effects of the arrest of Durra's wife in losing the psyche on waiting for the husband. She tries to engage herself in working through documenting the refugees and deportees from Paris. However, the visions of the husband gunned, and in a ditch awaiting death could not leave her.

The treatment of the prisoners in the concentration camps resulted in extreme slowness in their progress. This was evident during the time Duras engages in the collection of information from the prisoners. The prisoners spent a lot of time in getting off the trucks to arrive at the identity check. The prisoners seemed weary and in critical condition.

After their liberation, the prisoners reduce their psyche in activist activities—the violence they experience in the concentration camps shifts to finding ways to avoid the occurrence of crimes. For example, in a center where Duras was working, she encounters a priest who returns a German orphan to the center.

The memoir offers a description of the fundamental and powerful message of human nature. The allusion and the stories depict how moral viewpoints are related to the war tragedy. Their skin of Robert depicts the starvation experienced, and their joints rubbed off to look bonny. He also experiences a Jewish girl who removes her reproductive organs. He also loses her young sister, who dies after relies on as a result of the due to the terrible treatment and dies on Armistice Day. This altogether cuts off the psyche of Robert in the hope of living and engaging in activism.

Work Cited

Antelme, Robert. The human race. Northwestern University Press, 1998.

Booth, Mark. "On the Origins and Definitions of Camp." Camp: Queer aesthetics and the performing subject: A reader (1999): 66.

Duras, Marguerite. "The War: A Memoir, trans." Bray B. New York: Pantheon (1986).

Levi, Primo. If this is a man/the truce. Hachette UK, 2014.

Cite this page

How Does the Treatment of Prisoners in Concentration Camps Cause Their Psyche to Change? Free Essay. (2023, Aug 02). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism