When hundreds of thousands of prisoners die in concentration camps, what will make you that lucky one-in-a-million that lives?

HOW TO SURVIVE A CONCENTRATION CAMP (Considering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)

According to Maslow, in order to advance in life (or in this case survive), you have five needs:
-Physiological needs
-self actualization

When all these needs are at an astonishingly low level, survival is more than difficult

Physiological Needs: the need for air, water, food, and sleep
-those born into the camp almost never survive. While some are killed in brutal ways (baby hit against a truck because it was crying [Night]), others may die in due to a lack of the physiological need of air→ many babies die of suffocation

SO… if you’re a baby and the camp doesn’t allow you to live, you won't survive

Healthy individuals:
-Food is always scarce (some give watery soup, some give a handful of cornmeal and beans per meal)
-With such a low calorie intake, prisoners in Nazi camps tended to lose about 4.4-8.8 pounds a month! (no wonder an average prisoner only lived for about 3 months in a Nazi camp!)
-Food is always on your mind. “Freedom is boiled chicken”

SO… find a way to get more food. Ways to do this include:
-Stealing from other prisoners
-Eat whatever you can find… snakes, rats, insects from the ground (kernels found in cow poop)
-trade for food→cigarette butt strategy
-If you have a good job (work in the kitchen or sewing factory) you can steal
-being extra nice to guards… females perform “favors” for food or even less brutality

Sleeping situation:
-Aint no slumber party!
-people are packed together. testimonies claim there often wasn't even room to stretch out legs
-prisoners often worked sunrise to sunset. →forced labor for long hours… and we complain about not getting enough sleep!

SO… get all the sleep you can get!

Self-esteem: confidence in oneself, recognition from others
-From verbal abuse to physical abuse, it’s difficult to retain self-esteem (unless you are born into the camp and this is the only way you know how to live)
-You’re in the camp in the first place because there is allegedly something wrong with you
-You are by yourself. You may be able to get a trustworthy friend, but ultimately you need to know that you have worth

SO… be mentally strong and know that you have worth

Love: a sense of belonging and acceptance from others
-there is no love
-Korean Camp: Shin Dong Hyuk’s parents were allowed to be married (arranged marriage) due to hard work. Once he was born, he often wasn’t allowed to even see his family members. Thus, it didn’t take much to report his mother and brother for “having plans to escape” in return for personal gain. Shin has admitted that he doesn’t know what love is
-If you do arrive with your family, you don’t stay with them

SO… Find someone/something to love

SAFETY: stability and consistency in one’s life, an absence of fear or a threat
-The only stability you have is your labor- everyday is the same routine
-You can get attacked by a guard or even a guard dog at any time for any reason
-"We had turned into robots, obeying orders while trying not to think, so we could survive for a few hours longer,"
-Escaping: if you escape the camp, you’ll risk your safety. It may be best to risk your safety and attempt to escape than to stay in camp and hope for liberation

SO… you will live in fear. Use this fear to make yourself always on the good side of every guard and you will be as safe as you can. Follow the rules/ don't let guards catch you breaking them

Self Actualization: a desire to be all that you can be
-In a camp, it’s hard to know what you can be
-Shin didn’t even know what the world was like outside of his concentration camp
-Being “all you can be” in a concentration camp means doing what you can to survive
-This may lead you to attempting escape. While fences are electric, there is still a possibility that you can succeed

SO… use self actualization to fuel your desire to escape alive and to know that there is a life for you outside of the concentration camp (harder for those who lived in camp their whole life)

Michael Kirby, an UN Commission Member, claimed “There will be no excusing a failure of action because we didn’t know. We do know”

Works Cited
Fishel, Justin, and Jennifer Griffin. "Survivor Tells of Life inside a North Korea Concentration Camp." Fox News. FOX News Network, 13 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
Flanagan, Ed, and Julie Yoo. "Life in a North Korean Labor Camp: 'No Thinking ... Just Fear'" NBC News. NBC News, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
"Meals." The Holocaust Explained. London Jewish Cultural Centre 2011, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
"Nazi Medical Experiments." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 20 June 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
"Nutrition." Wollheim Memorial. Wollheim Memorial, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
Park, Madison. "North Korea: 'We Were Forced to Eat Grass and Soil'" CNN. Cable News Network, 17 Feb. 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
Wei, Paul Szoldra and Will. "North Korea's Prison Camps Are Absolutely Horrifying." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.