This image depicts the cooking block at Auschwitz I, Stanisławy Leszczyńskiej 11, 32-600 Oświęcim, Poland.
Prisoners received three meals per day. In the morning, they received only half a litre of “coffee,” boiled water with a grain-based coffee substitute added, or “tea”—a herbal brew.
These beverages were usually unsweetened. The noon meal consisted of about a litre of soup, the main ingredients of which were potatoes, rutabaga, small amounts of groats, rye flour, and Avo food extract.
The soup was rotten, and newly arrived prisoners often could not eat it or do so only in disgust. The supper consisted of about 300 grams of black bread, with about 25 grams of sausage, margarine, or a tablespoon of marmalade or cheese.
The bread served in the evening was supposed to cover the needs of the following morning, although the hungry prisoners usually consumed the whole portion at once. The low nutritional value of these meals should be noted.
The combination of insufficient nutrition with hard labour contributed to the destruction of the organism, which gradually used up its stores of fat, muscle mass, and the tissues of the internal organs. This led to emaciation and starvation sickness, the cause of many deaths in the camp. A prisoner suffering from starvation sickness was referred to as a “Musselman” and could easily fall victim to selection for the gas chambers.
Prisoner nutrition improved to a certain degree in the second half of 1942 when the camp authorities permitted the receipt of food parcels. Jews and Soviet POWs, however, did not share this privilege.
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Location: Auschwitz I, Poland.
Year took: 2020
Copyright owner: J. J. Williamson