There was little point of committing suicide in Auschwitz

The thought of suicide was entertained by nearly everyone, if only for a brief time. It was born of the hopelessness of the situation, the constant danger of death looming over us daily and hourly, and the closeness of the deaths suffered by many of the others. From personal convictions which will be mentioned later, I made myself a firm promise, on my first evening in camp, that I would not “run into the wire.” This was a phrase used in camp to describe the most popular method of suicide — touching the electrically charged barbed-wire fence. It was not entirely difficult for me to make this decision. There was little point of committing suicide, since, for the average inmate, life expectation, calculating objectively and counting all likely chances, was very poor. He could not with any assurance expect to be among the small percentage of men who survived all the selection. The prisoner of Auschwitz, in the first phase of shock, did not fear death. Even the gas chambers lost their horrors for him after the first few days — after all, they spared him the act of committing suicide.

— Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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