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Yes, it's based on the book Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account, written by the doctor, Miklos Nyiszli, a Hungarian doctor who worked for Joseph Mengele in Auschwitz. The movie is not a telling of the entire book, but a composite of Nyiszli's chapters on the uprising and the rescue of the girl. The movie is also based on a play written by it's director, Tim Blake Nelson, that had been performed a few times before he made a film of it.
The method used by the Nazis to gas their victims in some death camps, definitely in Auschwitz, was done by pouring pellets of Zyklon B into vents built into the ceilings of the gas chambers. The vents were attached to columns that had openings for the fumes to fill the room. Zyklon B was originally produced as a pesticide, however, the Nazis found that it was quite effective at killing large numbers of people very quickly and inexpensively (it didn't cost very much to produce). When the pellets were exposed to air, they produced deadly fumes of Prussic acid which, in short, would suffocate the victims.
The conclusion that Dr. Nyiszli came to was that there was a large amount of moisture left on the floor after the room was last "cleaned" after the last gassing. This moisture formed a thin layer of humidity near the floor. The fumes from Zyklon B were believed to be unable to penetrate this layer of humidity. While crushed against the floor under a few bodies, the girl breathed a much lower concentration of the gas and was able to survive.In the gas chambers, many people, many of them elderly or children, died of suffocation not from the gas but due to being crushed under the fall of bodies on top of them as they died or while being trampled by stronger victims who were clamoring desperately to escape the chamber.
Yes, but not by Oberscharfuhrer Eric Muhsfeldt himself, he sent another officer to kill her. Also, her death was not as dramatic as depicted; she was simply taken to a hallway in the crematorium and shot.
No. A replica camp was built near Sofia, Bulgaria using a map of the original camp. It was built to about 90% scale.
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