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Encyclopedia > Extermination camp

Extermination camps were two types of facilities that Nazi Germany built during World War II for the systematic killing of millions of people in what has become known as the Holocaust.[1] During World War II extermination camps were built during a later phase of the program of annihilation. Victims’ bodies were usually cremated or buried in mass graves. The groups the Nazis sought to exterminate in these camps were primarily the Jews of Europe and Roma (Gypsies). The majority of prisoners brought to extermination camps were not expected to survive more than 24 hours beyond arrival.[citation needed] There are many famous Holocaust survivors who survived the Nazi genocides in Europe and went on to achievements of great fame and notability. ... This is a list of victims of Nazism who were noted for their achievements. ... This is a list of people who helped Jewish people and others to escape from the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, often called rescuers. The list is not exhaustive, concentrating on famous cases, or people who saved the lives of many potential victims. ... Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Gay bashing Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Anti-discriminatory Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity Counter-discriminatory Affirmative action Racial... Book cover The Destruction of the European Jews is a three-volume work published in 1961 by historian Raul Hilberg. ... Functionalism versus intentionalism is a historiographical debate about the origins of the Holocaust as well as most aspects of the Third Reich, such as foreign policy. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... “Shoah” redirects here. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The crematorium at Haycombe Cemetery, Bath, England. ... Image:Mass Grave Bergen Belsen May 1945. ... The Roma people (pronounced rahma, singular Rom, sometimes Rroma, and Rrom) along with the closely related Sinti people are commonly known as Gypsies in English, and as Tsigany in most of Europe. ...

Contents

Terminology

Extermination camp (German: Vernichtungslager) and death camp (Todeslager) are usually interchangeable and specifically refer to camps whose primary function is or was genocide. For other uses, see Genocide (disambiguation). ...


In a generic sense, a death camp was a concentration camp that was established for the purpose of killing prisoners delivered there. All ages of people were killed at these camps. They were not intended as sites for punishing criminal actions; rather, they were intended to facilitate genocide. Historically, the most infamous death camps were the extermination camps built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II.[2] Extermination camp is also sometimes used hyperbolically by political protesters to describe prison camps they want to deride. Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... The history of Poland from 1939 through 1945 encompasses the German invasion of Poland through to the end of World War II. On September 1, 1939, without a formal declaration of war, Germany invaded Poland. ...


Nazi-German extermination camps are different than concentration camps such as Dachau and Belsen, which were mostly intended as places of incarceration and forced labor for a variety of “enemies of the state”—the Nazi label for people they deemed undesirable. In the early years of the Holocaust, the Jews were primarily sent to concentration camps, but from 1942 onward they were mostly deported to the extermination camps. Piles of bodies in a liberated Nazi concentration camp in Germany Prior to and during World War II, Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps (Konzentrationslager, abbreviated KZ or KL) throughout the territories it controlled. ... The main entrance just after the liberation Memorial at the camp in 1997 Dachau was a Nazi German concentration camp, and the first one opened in Germany, located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 miles) northwest of Munich... This article is about the Nazi concentration camp. ... Slavery is any of a number of related conditions involving control of a person against his or her will, enforced by violence or other clear forms of coercion. ... Piles of bodies in a liberated Nazi concentration camp in Germany Prior to and during World War II, Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps (Konzentrationslager, abbreviated KZ or KL) throughout the territories it controlled. ... Deportation is the expelling of someone from a country. ...


Extermination camps should also be distinguished from forced labor camps (Arbeitslager), which were set up in all German-occupied countries to exploit the labor of prisoners of various kinds, including prisoners of war. Many Jews were worked to death in these camps, but eventually the Jewish labor force, no matter how useful to the German war effort, was destined for extermination. In most Nazi camps (with the exception of POW camps for the non-Soviet soldiers and certain labor camps), there were usually very high death rates as a result of executions, starvation, disease, exhaustion, and extreme brutality; nevertheless, only the extermination camps were intended specifically for mass killing. Arbeitslager is a German language word which means Labor camp. ... Prisoner of War camps Contents // Categories: Substubs | Prisons and detention centres ... Execution is a synonym for the actioning of something, of putting something into effect. ... This article is about extreme malnutrition. ... This article is about the medical term. ... Fatigue is a feeling of excessive tiredness or lethargy, with a desire to rest, perhaps to sleep. ...


The distinction between extermination camps and concentration camps was recognized by Germans themselves (although not expressed in the official nomenclature of the camps.[citation needed]). As early as September 1942, an SS doctor witnessed a gassing and wrote in his diary: “They don't call Auschwitz the camp of annihilation (das Lager der Vernichtung) for nothing!”[3] When one of Adolf Eichmann’s deputies, Dieter Wisliceny, was interrogated at Nuremberg, he was asked for the names of extermination camps; his answer referred to Auschwitz and Majdanek as such. When asked “How do you classify the camps Mauthausen, Dachau and Buchenwald?” he replied, "They were normal concentration camps from the point of view of the department of Eichmann.”[4] SS redirects here. ... Otto Adolf Eichmann (known as Adolf Eichmann; March 19, 1906 – June 1, 1962) was a high-ranking Nazi and SS Obersturmbannführer (equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel). ... Dieter Wisliceny (? 1911 - February 1948) was a member of the German Schutzstaffel, and a key executioner of the German Final Solution. ... For the 1947 Soviet film about the trials, see Nuremberg Trials (film). ... Auschwitz (Konzentrationslager Auschwitz) was the largest of the Nazi German concentration camps. ... Majdanek Memorial, containing the ashes of cremated victims Majdanek fence in the winter (2005) Majdanek (originally Konzentrationslager Lublin) is the site of a German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, roughly 2. ... The Mauthausen parade ground – a view towards the main gate Mauthausen (known from the summer of 1940 as Mauthausen-Gusen) grew to become a large group of Nazi concentration camps that were built around the villages of Mauthausen and Gusen in Upper Austria, roughly 20 km east of the city...


The camps

Most accounts of the Holocaust recognize six Nazi extermination camps in occupied Poland[5]:

Of these, Auschwitz II and Chełmno were located within areas of western Poland annexed by Germany; the other four were located in the General Government area. Auschwitz (Konzentrationslager Auschwitz) was the largest of the Nazi German concentration camps. ... The CheÅ‚mno extermination camp (German name Kulmhof) was an extermination camp of Nazi Germany that was situated 70 kilometres (43 mi) from Łódź, near a small village called CheÅ‚mno nad Nerem (Kulmhof an der Nehr, in German). ... Belzec was the first of the Nazi German extermination camps created for implementing Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust. ... Majdanek Memorial, containing the ashes of cremated victims Majdanek fence in the winter (2005) Majdanek (originally Konzentrationslager Lublin) is the site of a German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, roughly 2. ... Sobibór was a Nazi extermination camp that was part of Operation Reinhard. ... Treblinka II was a Nazi extermination camp in German-occupied Poland during World War II. Extermination camps like the one at Treblinka were used in the Holocaust for the systematic genocide of people categorized as sub-humans by the Nazis. ... Reichsgau and General Governement in 1941 At the beginning of World War II, significant Polish areas were annexed by Nazi Germany. ... The General Government (in full General government for the occupied Polish areas, in German Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete) was the name given by Germany to the governing authority in Poland after its occupation by the Wehrmacht in September and October 1939. ...


Another recognised death camp (over 1000), the much-less-known Maly Trostenets, was located in present-day Belarus, near or in the Lokot Republic. Maly Trostenets (Belarusian: Малы́ Трасьцяне́ц; Russian: Ма́лый Тростене́ц), a small village on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, was the site of a relatively less known but highly efficient — and prolific — Nazi extermination camp. ... The Lokot Republic (Russian: Локотская Республика) was a semi-autonomous region in Nazi occupied Russia under an all-Russian administration from 1941 to 1943. ...


The euphemismFinal Solution of the Jewish Question” (Endlösung der Judenfrage) was used by the Nazis to describe the systematic killing of Europe’s Jews. The decision to undertake the operation was made at the Wannsee Conference in January 1942 and carried out under the administrative control of Adolf Eichmann. Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibór were constructed during Operation Reinhard, the codename for the extermination of Poland’s Jews. Euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener; or in the case of doublespeak, to make it less troublesome for the speaker. ... This article is about the term with respect to the Jewish Question in World War II. For other uses, see Final Solution (disambiguation). ... The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. ... Otto Adolf Eichmann (known as Adolf Eichmann; March 19, 1906 – June 1, 1962) was a high-ranking Nazi and SS Obersturmbannführer (equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel). ... Treblinka is a small village in the Mazowieckie voivodship (province) of Poland. ... Belzec was the first of the Nazi German extermination camps created for implementing Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust. ... Sobibór was a Nazi extermination camp that was part of Operation Reinhard. ... Operation Reinhard (Aktion Reinhard, Einsatz Reinhard, Aktion Reinhardt or Einsatz Reinhardt in German) was the code name given to the Nazi plan to murder Polish Jews in the former General Government and rob their possessions. ... A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. ... From the Middle Ages until the Holocaust, Jews were a significant part of the Polish population. ...


While Auschwitz II was part of a labor camp complex, and Majdanek also had a labor camp, the Operation Reinhard camps and Chełmno were pure extermination camps—in other words, they were built solely and specifically to kill vast numbers of people, primarily Jews, within hours of arrival.[6] The only prisoners sent to these camps not immediately killed were those needed as slave labor directly connected with the extermination process (for example, to remove corpses from the gas chambers. These camps were small in size—only several hundred meters on each side—as only minimal housing and support facilities were required. Arriving persons were told that they were merely at a transit stop for relocation further east or at a work camp. A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are engaged in penal labor. ... The CheÅ‚mno extermination camp (German name Kulmhof) was an extermination camp of Nazi Germany that was situated 70 kilometres (43 mi) from Łódź, near a small village called CheÅ‚mno nad Nerem (Kulmhof an der Nehr, in German). ...


Non-Jews were also killed in these camps, including many gentile Poles and Soviet prisoners of war.[1] The word gentile is an anglicised version of the Latin word gentilis, meaning of or belonging to a clan or tribe. ...

Major deportation routes to the extermination camps
Major deportation routes to the extermination camps

Image File history File links Size of this preview: 766 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1438 × 1126 pixel, file size: 73 KB, MIME type: image/png) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 766 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1438 × 1126 pixel, file size: 73 KB, MIME type: image/png) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Majdanek - crematorium Extermination camp (German Vernichtungslager) was the term applied to a group of camps set up by Nazi Germany during World War II for the express purpose of killing the Jews of Europe, although members of some other groups whom the Nazis wished to exterminate, such as Roma (Gypsies...

Victim numbers

The number of people killed at the death camps has been estimated as follows.

  • Auschwitz-Birkenau: about 1,100,000[7]
  • Treblinka: at least 700,000[8]
  • Bełżec: about 434,500[9]
  • Sobibór: about 167,000[10]
  • Chełmno: about 152,000[11]
  • Majdanek: 78,000[12]
  • Maly Trostenets: at least 65,000[13]

This gives a total of over 2.5 million, of which over 80% were Jews. These camps thus accounted for about half the total number of Jews killed by the entire Nazi Holocaust, including almost the whole Jewish population of Poland. For some perspective on the significance of these numbers: historical estimates generally put the number of deaths at nearly six million Jews (of whom 1–2 million were children) and 500,000 gypsies and members of other political, religious, social, and ethnic groups. The Holocaust killed one-third of all Jewry and two-thirds of European Jewry, and 90% of Polish Jews were killed.[2]


Polish reactions to alleged complicity

Notice posted by Dr. Franke, Town Commander of Częstochowa, warning of the death penalty for hiding, feeding, or selling food to Jews and for Jews found outside the Jewish ghetto without a permit. (Dated 24 September 1942).

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, numerous Polonia organizations, as well as all Polish governments since 1989, have attributed to ignorance or malice the act of calling Nazi extermination camps in occupied Poland “Polish death camps,” and they monitor and discourage the use of this expression in favor of “(Nazi) death camps in (Nazi-)occupied Poland[3]: Bekanntmachung. ... Bekanntmachung. ... // Foreign affairs administration covers Poland’s relations with other states and international organizations, representation and protection of interests of the Republic of Poland and of Polish nationals and legal persons abroad, cooperation with Poles living abroad, promotion of the Republic of Poland abroad. ... For other uses, see Polonia (disambiguation). ... The term Polish death camps (or Polish concentration camps) is mistakenly used to describe German-Nazi concentration camps located in Poland. ...


Poland had been conquered by Nazi Germany during 1939 Defensive War, and its government went into exile in London; no Polish puppet state collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II; and the decision to place extermination camps in Poland was a German one. The reasons for locating the camps in occupied Poland were simple: For the Soviet Unions military action against Poland under the same alliance, see Soviet invasion of Poland (1939). ... The Government of the Polish Republic in Exile was the government of Poland after the country had been occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union during September-October 1939. ... A puppet state is a state whose government, though notionally of the same culture as the governed people - owes its existence (or other major debt) to being installed, supported or controlled by a more powerful entity, typically a foreign power. ...

  • Poland was home to the largest Jewish population in Europe[4]
  • The entire railway network in Eastern Europe was overwhelmed by the Nazi war effort; it was logistically impossible to organize on the back of the Eastern Front, the largest military operation the world has ever seen, tens of thousands of trains to transport the Jewish victims over longer distances.[5]
  • The extermination camps could be kept in greater secrecy from German citizens.[6]
  • Contrary to some people belief, the level of antisemitism in pre-war Poland had no influence on the German decision.[7] Any kind of assistance to hiding Jews incurred the death penalty. All household members were punished by death if a hidden Jew was found in their house. This was the most severe legislation in occupied Europe [8]. Nonetheless, Poland has the highest number of Righteous among the Nations titles granted by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum for non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis.[9][10]

Szmalcowniks, citizens of pre-war Poland who blackmailed Jews or persons hiding Jews or otherwise helped the Nazis exterminate the Jews, were treated as collaborators by the Polish Home Army and other Polish resistance movements and later punished with the death sentence.[11][12] From the Middle Ages until the Holocaust, Jews were a significant part of the Polish population. ... Statistical regions of Europe as delineated by the United Nations (UN definition of Eastern Europe marked red):  Northern Europe  Western Europe  Eastern Europe  Southern Europe Pre-1989 division between the West (grey) and Eastern Bloc (orange) superimposed on current borders: Russia (dark orange), other countries formerly part of the USSR... Look up Logistics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Combatants Soviet Union,[1] Poland, Tannu Tuva (until 1944 incorporation with USSR), Mongolia Germany,[2] Italy (to 1943), Romania (to 1944), Finland (to 1944), Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Spain (to 1943, unofficial) Commanders Joseph Stalin, Aleksei Antonov, Ivan Konev, Rodion Malinovsky, Ivan Bagramyan, Kirill Meretskov, Ivan Petrov, Alexander Rodimtsev, Konstantin Rokossovsky... Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism, also known as judeophobia) is prejudice and hostility toward Jews as a religious, racial, or ethnic group. ... Righteous Among the Nations (Hebrew: חסידי אומות העולם, Hasidei Umot HaOlam), in contemporary usage, is a term often used to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust in order to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. ... New Yad Vashem museum building designed by Safdie Yad Vashem (Hebrew: ‎; Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority) is Israels official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust established in 1953 through the Memorial Law passed by the Knesset, Israels parliament. ... Szmalcownik (IPA: ) is a pejorative Polish slang word used during World War II that denoted a person blackmailing hiding Jews or Poles protecting Jews during the Nazi occupation. ... Collaboration, literally, consists of working together with one or more others. ... Armia Krajowa (the Home Army), abbreviated AK, was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. ... German supply train blown up by the Armia Krajowa during World War II. Polish resistance movement was a resistance movement in Poland, part of the anti-fascist resistance movement which fought against the occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany during World War II. Resistance to the Nazi German occupation began...


Operation of the camps

Majdanek crematorium
Majdanek crematorium

The method of killing at these camps was typically poison gas obtained from the German chemical company BASF[citation needed], usually in gas chambers, although many prisoners died in mass shootings, by starvation or by sadistic torture. Rudolf Höss (German spelling: Höß; not to be confused with Rudolf Hess), the commandant of Auschwitz, wrote after the war that many of the Einsatzkommandos involved in the mass shootings went mad or committed suicide, “unable to endure wading through blood any longer.”[14] The bodies of those killed were destroyed in crematoria (except at Sobibór, where they were cremated on outdoor pyres), and the ashes buried or scattered. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, the number of corpses defied burial or burning on pyres: the only way to dispose of them was in purpose-designed furnaces built on contract by Topf und Söhne, which ran day and night.[citation needed] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1136x852, 256 KB) from [1] File links The following pages link to this file: Extermination camp Majdanek ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1136x852, 256 KB) from [1] File links The following pages link to this file: Extermination camp Majdanek ... Majdanek Memorial, containing the ashes of cremated victims Majdanek fence in the winter (2005) Majdanek (originally Konzentrationslager Lublin) is the site of a German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, roughly 2. ... Early detection of chemical agents Sociopolitical climate of chemical warfare While the study of chemicals and their military uses was widespread in China, the use of toxic materials has historically been viewed with mixed emotions and some disdain in the West (especially when the enemy were doing it). ... This article is about the German chemical company. ... Gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison A gas chamber is a means of execution whereby a poisonous gas is introduced into a hermetically sealed chamber. ... ... Not to be confused with Rudolf Hoess. ... Einsatzkommando is a German military term with the literal translation of mission commando, roughly equivalent to the English term task force. The Nazi-era Einsatzkommando refers to a subgroup of the four Einsatzgruppen, killing squads in Operation Barbarossa that were responsible for carrying out mass executions behind the German lines. ... For other uses, see Suicide (disambiguation). ... Cremation is the practice of disposing of a corpse by burning. ... Sobibór was a Nazi extermination camp that was part of Operation Reinhard. ... An Ubud cremation ceremony in 2005. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... Topf and Sons was a former German engineering company, notorious for designing and manufacturing the crematoria used by the Nazis at concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Buchenwald. ...


The camps differed slightly in operation, but all were designed to kill as efficiently as possible. For example Kurt Gerstein, an Obersturmführer in the SS medical service, testified to a Swedish diplomat during the war about what he had seen at the camps. He describes how he arrived at Belzec on August 19, 1942, (at the time, the camp was still using in its gas chambers primarily carbon monoxide from a gasoline engine) where he was proudly shown the unloading of 45 train cars stuffed with 6,700 Jews, many of whom were already dead, but the rest were marched naked to the gas chambers, where, he said: Kurt Gerstein (August 11, 1905 in Münster, Westfalia - July 25, 1945, Paris), was a member of the Institute for Hygiene of the Waffen-SS and aided in mass murders in the Nazi extermination camps Belzec and Treblinka. ... Obersturmführer collar insignia Obersturmführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi party that was used by the Schutzstaffel and also as a rank of the SA. Translated as “Senior Storm Leader”, the rank of Obersturmführer was first created in 1932 as the result of an expansion of... Belzec was the first of the Nazi German extermination camps created for implementing Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust. ... is the 231st day of the year (232nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Unterscharführer Hackenholt was making great efforts to get the engine running. But it doesn’t go. Captain Wirth comes up. I can see he is afraid because I am present at a disaster. Yes, I see it all and I wait. My stopwatch showed it all, 50 minutes, 70 minutes, and the diesel did not start. The people wait inside the gas chambers. In vain. They can be heard weeping, “like in the synagogue,” says Professor Pfannenstiel, his eyes glued to a window in the wooden door. Furious, Captain Wirth lashes the Ukrainian assisting Hackenholt twelve, thirteen times, in the face. After 2 hours and 49 minutes—the stopwatch recorded it all—the diesel started. Up to that moment, the people shut up in those four crowded chambers were still alive, four times 750 persons in four times 45 cubic meters. Another 25 minutes elapsed. Many were already dead, that could be seen through the small window because an electric lamp inside lit up the chamber for a few moments. After 28 minutes, only a few were still alive. Finally, after 32 minutes, all were dead… Dentists hammered out gold teeth, bridges and crowns. In the midst of them stood Captain Wirth. He was in his element, and showing me a large can full of teeth, he said: “See for yourself the weight of that gold! It’s only from yesterday and the day before. You can’t imagine what we find every day—dollars, diamonds, gold. You’ll see for yourself!”[15] Christian Wirth (24 November 1885 - 26 May 1944) was a senior SS officer during the program to exterminate the Jewish people of occupied Poland during the Second World War, known as Operation Reinhard. ...

According to Höss, the first time Zyklon B was used on the Jews, many suspected they would be killed, despite being led to believe that they were only being deloused. As a result, pains were taken to single out possibly “difficult individuals” in future gassings, so they could be separated and shot unobtrusively. Members of a Special Detachment (Sonderkommando)—a group of prisoners from the camp assigned to help carry out the exterminations—were also made to accompany the Jews into the gas chamber and remain with them until the doors closed. A guard from the SS also stood at the door to perpetuate the “calming effect”. To avoid giving the prisoners time to think about their fate, they were urged to undress as speedily as possible, with the Special Detachment helping those who might slow down the process.[16]


The Special Detachment reassured the Jews being gassed by talking of life in the camp, and tried to persuade them that everything would be all right. Many Jewish women hid their infants beneath their clothes once they had undressed, because they feared the disinfectant would harm them. Höss wrote that the “men of the Special Detachment were particularly on the look-out for this,” and would encourage the womenfolk to bring their children along. The Special Detachment men were also responsible for comforting older children that might cry “because of the strangeness of being undressed in this fashion”.[17]


These measures did not deceive all, however. Höss reported of several Jews “who either guessed or knew what awaited them nevertheless” but still “found the courage to joke with the children to encourage them, despite the mortal terror visible in their own eyes.” Some women would suddenly “give the most terrible shrieks while undressing, or tear their hair, or scream like maniacs.” These were immediately led away by the Special Detachment men to be shot.[18] Some others instead “revealed the addresses of those members of their race still in hiding” before being led into the gas chamber.[19]


Once the door was sealed with the victims inside, powdered Zyklon B would be shaken down through special holes in the roof of the chamber. The camp commandant was required to witness every gassing carried out through a peephole, and supervise both the preparations and the aftermath. Höss reported that the gassed corpses “showed no signs of convulsion”; the doctors at Auschwitz attributed this to the “paralyzing effect on the lungs” that Zyklon B had, which ensured death came on before convulsions could begin.[20] Zyklon B label — Note that “Gift” translates as “poison” Zyklon B was the tradename of a pesticide ultimately used by Nazi Germany in some Holocaust gas chambers. ...


After the gassings had been carried out, the Special Detachment men would remove the bodies, extract the gold teeth and shave the hair of the corpses before bringing them to the crematoria or the pits. In either case, the bodies would be cremated, with the men of the Special Detachment responsible for stoking the fires, draining off the surplus fat, and turning over the “mountain of burning corpses” so that the flames would constantly be fanned. Höss found the attitude and dedication of the Special Detachment amazing. Despite them being “well aware that … they, too, would meet exactly the same fate,” they managed to carry out their duties “in such a matter-of-course manner that they might themselves have been the exterminators.” According to Höss, many of the Special Detachment men ate and smoked while they worked, “even when engaged on the grisly job of burning corpses.” Occasionally, they would come across the body of a close relative, but although they “were obviously affected by this, … it never led to any incident.” Höss cited the case of a man who, while carrying bodies from the gas chamber to the fire pit, found the corpse of his wife, but behaved “as though nothing had happened.”[21]


Some high-ranking leaders from the Nazi Party and the SS were sent to Auschwitz on occasion to witness the gassings. Höss wrote that although “all were deeply impressed by what they saw,” some “who had previously spoken most loudly about the necessity for this extermination fell silent once they had actually seen the ‘final solution of the Jewish problem’.” Höss was repeatedly asked how he could stomach the exterminations. He justified them by explaining “the iron determination with which we must carry out Hitler’s orders,” but found that even “[Adolf] Eichmann, who [was] certainly tough enough, had no wish to change places with me.”[22] The National Socialist German Workers Party, (German: , or NSDAP, commonly known as the Nazi Party), was a political party in Germany between 1919 and 1945. ... Adolf Eichmann (March 19, 1906 — June 1, 1962) was a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany, and served as an Obersturmbannführer in the S.S.. He was largely responsible for the logistics of the extermination of millions of people during the Holocaust, in particular Jews, which was called the final...


Post war

The English-language memorial in Auschwitz-Birkenau camp
The English-language memorial in Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

As Soviet armed forces advanced into Poland in 1944, the camps were closed and partly or completely dismantled by the Nazis to conceal what had taken place in them. The postwar Polish communist government further partly dismantled the camps and generally allowed the sites to decay. Monuments of various kinds were erected at the sites of the former camps, but they usually did not mention that most of the people killed in them were Jews.[citation needed] Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1632x1185, 350 KB) An image of the English-language memorial in Birkenau camp, taken in July 2006 at the Nazi concentration camp in OÅ›wiÄ™cim. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1632x1185, 350 KB) An image of the English-language memorial in Birkenau camp, taken in July 2006 at the Nazi concentration camp in OÅ›wiÄ™cim. ... Capital Warsaw Language(s) Polish Government Socialist republic Leaders  - 1948–1956 BolesÅ‚aw Bierut (First)  - 1981-1989 Wojciech Jaruzelski (Last) Prime minister  - 1944-1947 E. Osóbka-Morawski  - 1947-1952 and 1954-1970 Józef Cyrankiewicz  - 1952-1954 BolesÅ‚aw Bierut  - 1970-1980 Piotr Jaroszewicz  - 1980 Edward Babiuch  - 1980-1981... For other uses, see Monument (disambiguation). ...


After the fall of communism in 1987, the camp sites became more accessible and have become centres of tourism, particularly at the most-recognized, Auschwitz (Polish: Oświęcim). There has been a series of disputes between the Jewish organizations and the Polish about what is appropriate at these sites. Some Jewish groups have objected strongly to the erection of Christian memorials at the camps. In the most notable case—that of the Auschwitz cross—a cross was located near Auschwitz I, where most of the victims were Poles, rather than near Auschwitz II (Auschwitz=Birkenau), which was used for exterminating Jews.[citation needed] In the 1970s and 1980s the whole system in Poland was deeper and deeper in the crisis and was beginning to crumble as was the whole Eastern bloc with the USSR as the fading superpower. ... Tourist redirects here. ... Auschwitz (Konzentrationslager Auschwitz) was the largest of the Nazi German concentration camps. ... Coordinates: , Country Voivodeship Powiat OÅ›wiÄ™cim County Gmina OÅ›wiÄ™cim Established 12th century City Rights 1291 Government  - Mayor Janusz Andrzej MarszaÅ‚ek Area  - Town 30. ... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... The memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii commemorates American dead from wars in the Pacific. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Holocaust denial

Main article: Holocaust denial

Some groups and individuals deny that the Nazis killed anyone using extermination camps, or they question the manner or extent of the Holocaust. For example, Robert Faurisson claimed in 1979 that “Hitler’s ‘gas chambers’ never existed.” He contended that the notion of the gas chambers was “essentially of Zionist origin”.[23] Another famous denier is British historian David Irving, who was sentenced to prison in Austria for his Holocaust denials: Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in Austria. Richard Harwoods Did Six Million Really Die? Holocaust denial is the claim that the mainstream historical version of the Holocaust is either highly exaggerated or completely falsified. ... Robert Faurisson (born January 25, 1929) is a French Holocaust denier who has generated controversy over various articles he has published in the Journal of Historical Review and elsewhere, as well as various letters he has sent to French newspapers (especially Le Monde) over the years which deny the existence... For other persons of the same name, see David Irving (footballer) and David Irving (politician). ...


Scholars and historians point out that Holocaust denial is contradicted by the testimonies of survivors and perpetrators, material evidence, and photographs, as well as by the Nazis’ own record-keeping. Efforts such as the Nizkor Project, the work of Deborah Lipstadt, Simon Wiesenthal and his Simon Wiesenthal Center, and more at Holocaust resources, all track and explain Holocaust denial. The work of historians such as Raul Hilberg (who published The Destruction of the European Jews), Lucy Davidowicz (The War Against the Jews), Ian Kershaw, and many others relegate Holocaust denial to a minority fringe. Antisemitic political motivation is often imputed to those who deny the Holocaust. Broadly speaking, a contradiction is an incompatibility between two or more statements, ideas, or actions. ... The Nizkor (Hebrew: we will remember) Project is an ongoing Internet-based project run by Ken McVay which is dedicated to countering Holocaust revisionism. ... Lipstadts book: Denying The Holocaust Deborah Esther Lipstadt (born March 18, 1947, New York City) is an American historian and author of the book Denying the Holocaust. ... Simon Wiesenthal, KBE, (Buczacz, December 31, 1908 – Vienna, September 20, 2005) was an Austrian-Jewish architectural engineer who hunted down Nazi war criminals, after surviving the Holocaust. ... The Simon Wiesenthal Center The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish organization that declares itself to be a human rights group dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. ... Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Gay bashing Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Anti-discriminatory Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity Counter-discriminatory Affirmative action Racial... Many historians and commentators criticise the claims of Holocaust denial. ... Dr. Raul Hilberg Raul Hilberg (June 2, 1926 - August 4, 2007 in Williston, Vermont) was one of the best-known and most distinguished of Holocaust historians. ... Book cover The Destruction of the European Jews is a three-volume work published in 1961 by historian Raul Hilberg. ... Lucy S. Davidowicz, a historian, an author of books in modern Jewish history, about the Holocaust, in particular. ... Lucy Dawidowicz wrote the book, The War Against the Jews. ... Professor Sir Ian Kershaw (born April 29, 1943 in Oldham, Lancashire, England) is a British historian, noted for his biographies of Adolf Hitler. ... Richard Harwoods Did Six Million Really Die? Holocaust denial is the claim that the mainstream historical version of the Holocaust is either highly exaggerated or completely falsified. ... The Eternal Jew: 1937 German poster. ...


The current historical debates surrounding the Nazi-German concentration camps and the Holocaust involve the questions of complicity of the local populations. Although many Jews were saved by Christian neighbors, others ignored their plight or turned them in. Furthermore, it is becoming evident that many of the camps were in clear view and were tied up in local economies. For instance, goods were purchased and delivered to camps and local women provided housekeeping and company. Nazi officers patronized local taverns and even bartered with gold collected from victims. (See Gordon J. Horwitz,"Places Far Away, Places Very Near: Mauthausen, the camps of the Shoah, and the bystanders" in Omer Bartov, ed. The Holocaust) Piles of bodies in a liberated Nazi concentration camp in Germany Prior to and during World War II, Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps (Konzentrationslager, abbreviated KZ or KL) throughout the territories it controlled. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Doris Bergen, Germany and the Camp System, part of Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State, Community Television of Southern California, 2004-2005
  2. ^ Dictionary definition on laborlawtalk.com
  3. ^ Diary of Johann Paul Kremer
  4. ^ Overy, Richard. Interrogations, p 356–7. Penguin 2002. ISBN 0-14-028454-0
  5. ^ Holocaust Timeline: The Camps
  6. ^ Aktion Reinhard: Belzec, Sobibor & Treblinka, Nizkor Project
  7. ^ http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005189: “It is estimated that the SS and police deported at a minimum 1.3 million people to Auschwitz complex between 1940 and 1945. Of these, the camp authorities murdered 1.1 million.” (Number includes victims killed in other Auschwitz camps as well.)
  8. ^ Reinhard: Treblinka Deportations
  9. ^ Between March and December 1942, the Germans deported approximately 434,500 Jews and an undetermined number of Poles and Roma (Gypsies) to Belzec, where they were killed. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005191
  10. ^ In all, the Germans and their auxiliaries killed at least 167,000 people at Sobibor. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005192
  11. ^ In all, the SS and police killed at least 152,000 people in Chelmno. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_cm.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005194&MediaId=130
  12. ^ A recent study radically revised downward the estimated number of deaths at Majdanek. According to a piece “Majdanek Victims Enumerated” by Pawel P. Reszka, Lublin, Gazeta Wyborcza 12 December 2005, reproduced on the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Lublin scholar Tomasz Kranz has recently established this number, and the Majdanek museum staff consider it to be authoritative. Earlier estimates were considerably higher: 360,000, in a much-cited 1948 publication by Zdzislaw Lukaszkiewicz, a judge who was a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland, and 235,000, from a 1992 article by Dr. Czesaw Rajca, now retired from the Majdanek museum staff.
  13. ^ See Maly Trostinec at the Yad Vashem website
  14. ^ Hoss [sic], Rudolf (2005). “I, the Commandant of Auschwitz,” in Lewis, Jon E. (ed.), True War Stories, p. 321. Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-1533-2.
  15. ^ (2002) The Nazi Sourcebook: An Anthology of Texts. Routledge, 354. ISBN 0415222133. 
  16. ^ Höss, pp. 321–322.
  17. ^ Höss, pp. 322–323.
  18. ^ Höss, p. 323.
  19. ^ Höss, p. 324.
  20. ^ Höss, pp. 320, 328.
  21. ^ Höss, pp. 325–326.
  22. ^ Höss, p. 328.
  23. ^ “The Chorus and Cassandra” by Christopher Hitchens

23659878541202154832651847 The Nizkor (Hebrew: we will remember) Project is an ongoing Internet-based project run by Ken McVay which is dedicated to countering Holocaust revisionism. ... is the 346th day of the year (347th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Routledge is an imprint for books in the humanities part of the Taylor & Francis Group, which also has Brunner-Routledge, RoutledgeCurzon and RoutledgeFalmer divisions. ... Christopher Eric Hitchens (born April 13, 1949) is a British-American author, journalist and literary critic. ...


Further reading

  • Gilbert, Martin: Holocaust Journey: Travelling in Search of the Past, Phoenix 1997. This book gives an account of the sites of the extermination camps as they are today, plus a great deal of historical information about them and about the fate of the Jews of Poland.
  • Klee, Ernst: “‘Turning the tap on was no big deal’—The gassing doctors during the Nazi period and afterwards”, in Dauchau Review, vol. 2, 1990
  • Bartov, Omer, ed.: The Holocaust, 2000
  • Levi, Primo: The Drowned and the Saved, 1986

External links


 
 

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