Psychological Torture in Concentration Camp Poland 26 May 2014


LS Borkowski

Release 11, Poland, 26 May 2014

doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.19363.35367

Psychological Torture in Concentration Camp Poland. The Falsist Dictatorship

Judith L. Herman in her book Trauma and Recovery (1992) wrote:

A single traumatic event can occur almost anywhere. Prolonged, repeated trauma, by contrast, occurs only in circumstances of captivity. […] repeated trauma occurs only when the victim is a prisoner, unable to flee, and under the control of the perpetrator. Such conditions obviously exist in prisons, concentration camps, and slave labor camps.


The methods of establishing control over another person are based upon the systematic, repetitive infliction of psychological trauma. They are the organized techniques of disempowerment and disconnection. Methods of psychological control are designed to instill terror and helplessness and to destroy the victim’s sense of self in relation to others.

Angela Ebert and Murray J. Dyck wrote in their article (The experience of mental death: The core feature of complex posttraumatic stress disorder, Clinical Psychology Review 24 (2004) 617-635),

The experience of a prolonged totalitarian control in conjuction with organized violence often leads to mental death, which is characterized by loss of core beliefs and values, distrust, and alienation form others, shame and guilt, and a sense of being permanently damaged. Mental death is a primary feature of a distinct posttrauma syndrome, complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Mental death occurs in the context of totalitarian control, which is characterized by entrapment and wanton harm-doing by people to people. Although there are many different forms of totalitarian control and each form is associated with mental death (…), totalitarian control is most fully and most horrifically exemplified by the experience of torture

Torture and severe, prolonged interpersonal traumas share the following characteristics:

(a) The victim is entrapped in an aversive situation as a result of human action rather than as a result of natural causes,

(b) the harm done to the victim is intentional rather than accidental, and

(c) dehumanizing procedures are used to deconstruct the victim’s identity.

Part of a standard torture repertoire is the technique of impossible choice. Often it is the choice between

(1) action against the law or against one’s internal beliefs, but in accordance with the superior’s order; it is often not clear whether the superior deceives, especially if the order is given in an oral form,

(2) taking an action in agreement with the law or internal beliefs, but in disagreement with the superior’s order.

The method of impossible choice puts the victim in a situation, in which she will suffer regardless of the action taken. This procedure attacks the foundation of the person’s psychological construction. Its aim is to destroy the psyche, make the person helpless, powerless and unable to control the immediate reality around her.

Mental defeat is most likely to occur when a victim is unable to escape continuous threats and violent treatment by other humans, such that the victim experiences helplessness, powerlessness, and uncontrollability. (Ebert and Dyck, 2004)

In order to make the situation more difficult the law and various orders and instructions at different levels of the state apparatus are purposely specified in a complex, vague manner, which makes the job of harming the victim by the apparatus of Concentration Camp Poland so much easier.

Document contents are made to fit the needs of an entirely falsified narrative. They are fabricated in an almost completely arbitrary fashion.

Which documents are legally binding in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra, Poland? Those falsified earlier, or those falsified later? The answer to this question may depend on the current needs of the “revolutionary dynamics”.

Such questions are not supposed to be asked publicly. They belong to the zone of taboo. This is the domain of the junta functionaries. The inmates are not allowed to ask any questions. The inmates are subjected to a prolonged behavioral procedure such that breaking the taboo results in painful consequences. The aim is to stimulate psychological pain, which should be activated whenever the inmate thinks of posing questions and seeking truth.

Falsification of documents in different institutions reflects the process of falsifying the public narrative, and therefore also the process of falsifying history. We are dealing with the falsist dictatorship. The process of falsification is unconstrained.

The camp guards are not obliged to follow the officially declared law. They are above the law. They have awarded themselves the authority of the camp sovereign. They gave themselves the right to psychological maltreatment of any prisoner, causing them pain and degrading them.

Chaos is superficial, because the main goal of the junta is not stated publicly; it is given by the hidden orders of the junta instead. “Telling the truth is a bourgeois prejudice”, said Lenin. Similarly the camp functionaries may refer to the question of law. “Following the rules of law and common decency is a bourgeois prejudice”, they would have said.

This apparent chaos enables endless manipulations and provocations. It is designed to mask the essence of camp guards’ actions, which is prolonged torture and extermination of the prisoners.

The prisoner may be punished completely arbitrarily, for example for not carrying out a guard’s order with sufficient precision. The prisoner can also be punished when he or she carries the order out. In this case the punishment may be somewhat postponed. The guard may arbitrarily alter the interpretation of words and circumstances. The refusal to follow the guard’s order is also punished. The prisoner is only a prisoner, and in the concentration camp everything is possible.

The guards can be classified roughly into two groups, (i) the absolutely sadistic ones, and (ii) those somewhat more human. They can, however, swap their roles. This is part of a standard method designed to lead to mental death. The prisoner is maltreated with varying intensity, more acutely at one time, less so at other time. If he is given a bit of hope, it is only for the purpose of delivering more blows to his psyche somewhat later. The biggest misdeed of the prisoner is the fact that he simply exists, that he remains alive. All the words and deeds of the prisoner are to be used against him. If he refrains from speech and action, he will be attacked for passivity and lack of enthusiasm. If he does not bow to his persecutors, he will be accused of the lack of kindness and of being “naughty”.

The application of more advanced and less immediately visible methods of totalitarian control rendered the camp uniforms and barbed wire obsolete. This is the next phase of the concentration camp.

Małgorzata Głuchowska, M.A.
Lech S. Borkowski, Ph.D.

Polish version