The administrators of Auschwitz use the prisoners themselves as tools against each other to maintain control over the camp. By creating a hierarchy between the types of prisoners, between Jews and criminals and political prisoners, for example, the administrators establish an immediate ranking system among the groups. Each group feels empowered against the one below that, even though they may not be particularly special. However, the administrators take things a step further to enforce this hierarchy and lessen their workload in regard to maintaining control and forcing the prisoners to submit to their will. By selecting certain individuals for particular jobs, such as ruling over lesser prisoners or less laborious jobs, the individual in charge feels empowered. Not only is their offense group less bad than others, but as an individual they have power over these lesser beings. Power corrupts, and this type of power in such an extreme, desolate situation, embodies a certain hope for survival that a mere Jewish prisoner on the bottom rung cannot imagine.
Additionally, this type of system fosters competition among the prisoners. Each wants their opportunity to be selected for the specialized treatment, so they work to stay in the good graces of the administrators. This environment of competition and good behavior pervades the camp and helps to keep prisoners on edge with each other throughout the complex. Beyond just the competition among themselves, the prisoners are less likely to collaborate with each other if they are constantly concerned others are in the administrators’ pockets. This is a common Nazi technique, manipulating the masses themselves to maintain their own order and serve the higher-ups. The Nazis did this with the Gestapo, convincing people to tattle on their neighbors and act as the Nazis wanted all the time, and its success on this larger scale in German society provided a nice example to follow for a smaller implementation in Auschwitz.