Part II. The 3rd Reich & the Holocaust Era, Jan 1933-May 1945
Murderous Racism and Antisemitism - Bureaucracy of Evil
Perpetrators, Collaborators, Victims, Bystanders, Resisters, Rescuers


B. World War II, Sept. 1939-May, 1945: “New Order” & Holocaust
1. 1939-41: Exporting Nazism - Lebensraum, Racism, Antisemitism & Dehumanization
2. 1941-45: Death by Design & Shoah


11-b
The War against the Jews in Europe & North Africa; Camps (2)

Every Jew that we can lay our hands on is to be destroyed now, Himmler


Bauer 227-265
Synopsis - Mass Murder: 1942-1945
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p27.html

‘The sick, the aged, & babies in arms were crushed into barred cattle trucks....They had been aboard the train for two days & had only once received food. She (a Jewish passenger) said that some babies had suffocated in the crush and that the SS guards had even then forced in more people and bolted the door.’ Dutch Witness, Eichmann: The man & his crimes

*By 1942
, Hitler & Nazis had temporarily conquered a great empire -most Europe from Atlantic Ocean almost to Moscow. *They instituted Hitler’s master plan for a ‘New Order’ -plan to organize the continent into a single political & economic system ruled from Berlin & dominated by the ‘Aryan race,’based on exploitation, terror & extermination. German resettlement & exploitation of agricultural areas by ‘inferior’ people who would be treated harshly (Lebenstraum -living space, refers to a program of German expansion). Hitler’s grand plan would have made the Slavic peoples, slaves to the triumphant Germans.

After the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, the Germans & their collaborators began the systematic deportation of Jews from occupied Europe; Jews were deported & herded into Polish ghettos & other eastern territories, and concentration camps; they persecuted Jews in all over occupied/controlled Europe and in controlled/occupied North Africa - Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya. Special prisons -concentration camps, were built to keep these people separate. Many prisoners were used as slave labor. Some were used in medical experiments; many starved to death.


Instructional Objectives - Students will learn that:


1. Special camps were created solely for purpose of killing Jews & other ‘undesirables’
2. The conditions in these death camps and other concentration camps were brutal, and designed purposely to make survival only temporary.

At the conclusion of this module students will be able to describe and explain the processes which culminated in genocide: the systematic planning and implementation of a government policy to kill millions of people; the use of technological advances to carry out mass slaughter;

Study Questions

1. Explain why the Jews were considered “enemies of the state”.
2. Discuss the role of Nazi bureaucracy in implementing policies of murder and annihilation (e.g., the development and maintenance of a system to identify, isolate, deport, enslave, and kill targeted people) and in the exploitation of the victims and their property.

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Chapter Content

Most American Holocaust scholars have narrated only what, in the words of Canadian Holocaust scholar, Michael Marrus, became the Final Solution. “The term Final Solution (Endlosung) first appeared as Nazi terminology, used by German themselves to designate their policy toward Jews. But what did the Nazis mean by these words? And what was the reality behind the phrase they employed? We must take care, in answering, lest we apply our own understanding, invariably associated with European-wide deportations and death camps. For while this undoubtedly became the Final Solution, this was not what those who first used these words with respect to Jews intended to convey. "1

Gerhard L. Weinberg: “These authors (intentionalist & functionalist Holocaust scholars) ... indicate no comprehension of the Holocaust as a German program to kill not only the Jews of Europe ...”2

“The Holocaust or Shoah refers to a specific event in the 20th century history: the systematic, deliberate, state-sponsored, bureaucratic destruction of nearly 6 million Jews who lived in a country at the time when it was
- under Nazi regime

- under Nazi occupation
- under regime of Nazi collaborators ”3


‘The Shoah was the ‘logical’ extension of an ideology that was both racist & antisemitic, that had been in the public domain for many decades & which had slowly come to condition many Germans & other peoples in Nazi-dominated Europe & North Africa -both conquered & allied- to regard the Jews as something less than (or other than) human. Jews...considered unimprovably evil.

*Historians
agree that the Nazi antisemitic policy was carried out in 4 phases:
1) exclusion; 2) persecution; 3) expulsion; and 4) annihilation

*“No Germans, No Holocaust”


Goldhagen
wrote specially about the 4th elements. In Hitler’s Willing Executioners, a recent book trying to explain the Holocaust, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, a former assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard University, was maybe the 1st historian to lay an ample share of the blame for the mass executions on the shoulders of ordinary Germans. Goldhagen asserts that one has to focus on the persons who “peopled the institutions of genocidal killing,” to understand the Holocaust - “These people were overwhelmingly and most importantly Germans. While members of other national groups aided the Germans in their slaughter of Jews ... this was above all a German enterprise ... no Germans, no Holocaust.” The debate continues.

For the extermination of the Jews to occur, 4 principal factors were necessarily involved:
1. The Nazis - the leadership, Hitler- had to decide to implement the annihilation
2. They had to gain control over the Jews - over the territory in which they resided
3. They had to organize the killing and devote to its sufficient resources
4. They had to induce a large number of people to carry out the killings.

Hitler's Speech in Munich, 24 February, 1939: "the Jewish question today was no longer a German problem: it had become a world problem." quoted in N H Baynes, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, Oxford University Press, 1942, Volume I, pp.743)

‘In the summer of 1941 - Himmler said: the Fuehrer has ordered that the Jewish question be solved once and for all ... The Jews are the sworn enemies of the German people and must be eradicated. Every Jew that we can lay our hands on is to be destroyed now during the war, without exception. ... obliterate the biological basis of Jewry’4

‘Eradication was to be total. In principle, no Jew was to escape. ... In this important respect, the Nazis' assault upon Jewry differed from the campaigns against other peoples & groups. ... Nazi ideology ... required their total disappearance.’5 Michael R. Marrus, The Holocaust in History. “Jews ... inferior ...were deemed a threat to the Aryan race. ... the Nazis believed that the removal, if not the destruction, of the Jews was the necessary condition for the attainment of their ideological objective.”6 ‘ ... the Nazis sought to murder every Jew everywhere 7

The Final Solution - Countries & Regions
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t023/t02384.html


‘The ‘Final Solution’ was the Nazis' plan to kill all the Jews. The destructive will (Vernichtungswill) of the Nazis was aimed at the totality of the Jews as Jews. All Jews were marked for eventual extermination.’

“The ‘Final Solution of the Jewish question’ as the Nazis euphemistically termed their brutal campaign against Jews within their sphere of influence & control, was consciously planned.”

“The Holocaust was perpetrated by the Nazis for very specific reasons. They saw the Jews the ultimate enemy ... Murder him ... And it wasn’t directed against the Jews of country ‘x’ but against the concept of the Jew. The Jew. Anywhere. Everywhere.”8 .

GERMANY http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t025/t02522.html

The first Jewish community dates back to 321C.E. In 1939, there were 214,000 Jews living there. In 1941, many German Jews were deported to ghettos in Eastern Europe. ‘By December 1942, more than 150,000 Jews from Germany & Austria had been deported from the Great Reich. In May 1943, Germany was declared Judenfrei - free of Jews.”9 About 19,000 remained in hiding. Approx. 180,000 German Jews were killed in the Holocaust

"The Third Reich has put an end to a thousand years of Jewish history in Germany." These prophetic words, uttered by Rabbi Leo Baeck as early as 1933, proved true to an unfathomably tragic extent. http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x08/xm0836.html

Exporting Nazi Jewish policy, 1941-44
‘Once the war began in September 1939, Germany attempted to export its Jewish policy to those countries ... such as Poland, Hungary & Vichy France, or that fell under its influence, such as Slovakia, Croatia, & Bulgaria. The countries’ response to cooperation with German demands regarding the Final Solution varied. ... Factors that determined support ... varied.”10

From Latvia to Libya, “no exception whatsoever were ever made in the Nazis policy of racial discrimination & physical extermination of the Jews. However, local conditions had a marked influence upon the numbers of deportees, the rate of extermination & the methods used. The readiness or reluctance of the local population to cooperate with the Nazis was a factor of vital importance. The various conquered peoples were allowed different degrees of self-government. The Poles, for example, had no self-government, while the Danes retained relatively wide powers. Obviously, the attitudes of the people themselves were also an important factor. The Baltic peoples were eager to collaborate in the extermination of the Jews. For the most part, the Poles remained aloof and indifferent to the course of events. Bulgarians saved most of their Jews, but the outstanding example of rescuing and helping Jews was shown by the Danes. Satellite states, such as Croatia & Slovakia were headed by puppet rulers, devoted to the Nazis and their ideology and were only too ready to fulfill the requests of their overlords”11

Deportations
Throughout Europe & North Africa, ‘the fate of the Jews depended upon the degree to which the occupied country was under direct Nazi SS control, as well as the willingness of the host country to comply with Nazi anti-Jewish measures. The German Foreign Ministry succeeded in pressuring most governments of occupied and allied nations to assist the Germans in the deportation of Jews living in their countries.’

The Final Solution in Europe
http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/ncamp.htm


‘In every country in Europe occupied by the Germans, the murder machine was put into operation. Wherever there were large concentration of Jews, a special ‘commando’ would be sent to supervise the expulsion and deportation of the Jews. The commandos were reinforced by S.S. units, by auxiliary Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian units and by the local police in the various countries. Deportation was carried out on a variety of pretexts. In Poland, for example, the Jews were told that ‘superfluous elements, unemployed, were being ‘resettled’ in the east, where they would find work. In Western Europe, they were told of Jewish ‘settlements’ in the east. Pretense & deception to the threshold of the gas chambers.’12

Countries in Western Europe http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t023/t02389.html

The Jewish Question in Western Europe
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p19.html

Unlike Eastern Europe, the Nazis did not see Western Europe as a viable area for the mass-murder of Jews. The different character of the West European Jewish communities and the different attitude of local populations in Western Europe, required new patterns of persecution from those utilized in Poland.

Western Europe was not in the arena for mass murder; it was a staging area for deportations to the East via Drancy (France), Malines (Belgium), and Westerbork (the Netherlands). ...

In France, Belgium and the Netherlands, the registration, segregation, and isolation of foreign and native Jews was complete by early 1942; these steps were the precursors to later deportation and murder.

The Nazi policy in Western Europe also called for the forced deportation of Jews to Eastern European killing centers.

*The fate of the Jews in western Europe depended to a large extent on the wartime status of the country and the degree of cooperation between the government and the Germans. In the end, more than 400,000 Western European Jews were loaded into trains and shipped east to Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Maidanek, Sobibor or Treblinka, where they were murdered. *

[Austria] [Belgium] [France] [Germany] [Holland] [Italy] [Luxembourg] [Switzerland]




AUSTRIA
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t003/t00342.html
Jewish presence from the 10th century. Jewish Population in 1938: 181,778. The liquidation of Austrian Jewry began with the annexation of Austria, to Germany in 1938. About 70,000 were murdered, mainly in concentration and extermination camps

BELGIUM http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t006/t00637.html
Jewish presence from the 13th century. Jewish Population in 1940: 90,000-110,000. The majority fled the country. Anti-Jewish laws were instituted. 25,631 were deported. Of these, only 1,244 returned, Resistance was organized. 1000s of people were hidden

LUXEMBOURG: http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t047/t04742.html

Jewish Presence: from 1276. Jewish Population: 4,000 in 1940. Fate of Jews during WWII: most were secretly evacuated, but 723 were deported, of which 35 survived. Post-war: 1,500 returned after the war

SWITZERLAND http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t076/t07606.html

Jewish Presence: from 1213. Jewish Pop. 25,000 refugees during the war. Fate of Jews during WWII: served as a country of transit but not of asylum, barring the entry of thousands of Jews. 2,900 Jews were rescued by the Swiss, directly from death camps

HOLLAND http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t030/t03057.html

Jewish presence from about 1146. In 1939, there were 140,000 Jews in Holland. Anti-Jewish measures taken in 1940. Jews were concentrated in Amsterdam. 94,000 were sent to Auschwitz or Sobibor, out of which 519 survived. 10,000 survived by hiding.

NETHERLANDS. http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x17/xm1705.html

On February 25, 1941, in Amsterdam, Hilversum and Zaandam, a general strike broke out, which was stopped by the Germans with great force. These had the effect of persuading the authorities to retreat, to some degree, from their original plans. ... In early 1941 the Dutch Nazis decided to take matters into their own hands, launching an anti - Jewish campaign of their own. As the period of occupation unfolded, the Dutch population suffered increasingly great privation, and terror. The Netherlands were liberated on May 6, 1945.

Jews in the Dutch Underground.
The role of the Jews in the Dutch underground was not insignificant, but no data are available on the subject. Jews helped to found underground newspapers, and they transmitted intelligence reports to Britain. There were also instances of spontaneous resistance to the Germans, and a number of Jews joined armed groups of the Dutch underground who launched attacks on Dutch Nazi leaders, only to be caught by the Germans and put to death.

FRANCE
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t022/t02215.html

Synopsis - Country in Western Europe; in 1940 there were 350,000 Jews (out of a total population of 45 million), including refugees from Belgium, Holland & Luxembourg - only about 150,000 were native Frenchmen. The Jews suffered from both, the ‘Final Solution,’ and traditional French antisemitism. About 90,000 were deported; barely 3,000 of these survived. 70,000 died in Auschwitz. Many Jews were involved in resistance

A General Survey http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x07/xm0759.html
The conquest of France: http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/gallery/pg52/pg2/pg52243.html

Vichy

The Vichy government was dominated by advocates for cooperation with the Germans).
Prime Minister Francois Darlan was convinced that France's best interests were served by an accord with Germany; in May 1941 met with Hitler and granted the Germans military facilities in North Africa & Syria ...

Vichy and the Holocaust
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x07/xm0759.html
See also: http://www.amgot.org/weisberg.htm "Vichy law and the Holocaust in France" by Dr. Richard H. Weisberg

The Vichy government cooperated in Nazi anti-Jewish measures including assisting in deportations to death camps. Following the Wannsee Conference of January 1942, the Nazis methodically prepared for the deportation of French Jewry. ... Throughout the summer roundups of Jews took place in both zones; mostly carried out by the French police. In March 1942, the Germans began deporting Jews from the occupied zones in France to the death camps. In July of that same year, they demanded that all Jews be rounded up in unoccupied France for deportation. The Vichy government decided to protect French Jews, but handed over 15,000 foreign Jews from the internment camps for deportation to the death camps. On July 16 and 17, 12,884 Jews were seized in Paris and crowded into the Veledrome d'Hiver with no food, water, or sanitary facilities. Elsewhere Jews were also taken, and by way of Drancy, 42,500 were deported eastward. One third were from the unoccupied zone. ... last transports to the camps in the summer of 1944.

Many hundreds of other Jews were executed, as described in Lucy Dawidowicz's The War Against the Jews, in reprisal for partisan activities. Some Jews escaped to the Italian zone, but this protective screen was shattered in September 1943, when the Germans took it over. Other Jews escaped to Spain or Switzerland, and thousands were assisted by a small but sympathetic element in the French population, like the Protestant village of Le Chambon sur-Lignon.

NORTH AFRICA

‘The Jewish communities in North Africa were persecuted (in Algeria & Morocco under Vichy France, in Tunisia under direct Nazi occupation, & in Libya under Italy, Nazi ally), but were not subjected to the same large-scale deportations or mass murder. Some individuals, however, were deported to German death camps, where they perished.”13
The full implementation of the "Final Solution" in North Africa was prevented only by the relatively short duration of the German occupation of the affected countries.

Wannsee Conference -Jan. ‘42 included North African Jews under heading ‘France’
14 http/ /www.princeton.edu/~rsimon/eshaked.html
(Reexamining The Wannsee Conference, Himmler's Appointments Book, and Tunisian Jews, at: http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/s/shaked-edith/re-examining-wannsee.html)

‘The historical fact recognized by the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Holocaust scholars, Yehuda Bauer, Christopher Browning, Michael Marrus, Kaspi Andre, Abitbol Michel, ... is that North African Jews were counted, and included in the numbers written in the minutes of the Jan. 20, 1942 Wannsee Protocol, under: "France/unoccupied territory 700,000" (See also Sir Martin Gilbert's the Dent Atlas of the Holocaust, p. 99). According to Michel Abitbol, "On the eve of World War II there were 400,000 Jews in French North Africa" (Abitbol, Michel, The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War. Detroit: Wayne State University Press,1989, p.7.)

------------------------------------------------
Concentration Camps


Concentration Camps 1933-39
http://www.mtsu.edu/~baustin/holocamp.html
http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/timeline/camps.htm
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t024/t02402.html

*Camps were an essential part of the Nazis' systematic oppression and mass murder
of Jews, political adversaries, and others considered socially and racially undesirable. There were concentration camps, forced labor camps, extermination or death camps, transit camps, and prisoner-of-war camps. The living conditions of all camps were brutal.

Almost immediately following his rise to power, Hitler began the creation of concentration camps -established during the beginning of 1933 almost immediately after the Nazi's assumed power on January 30, 1933- Initially these were designed to incarcerate political prisoners (enemies of the regime), criminals and security risks. In about 1935, the regime also began to imprison other "undesirables," those whom it designated as racially or biologically inferior, criminals, social misfits, especially Jews. There, inmates were killed by systematic abuse, starvation and disease. To be put in a camp, one did not go through normal judicial trials. Security police, the Gestapo, had the authority to arrest anyone & to put them into a concentration camp for an indefinite amount of time. The Gestapo arrested Communists, socialists, religious dissenters, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, dissenting clergy, & homosexuals .
http://www.writething.com/cybrary/fact.fin.camp.html. www.ushmm.org/outreach/ncamp.htm

To be put in a camp, one did not go through normal judicial trials, if the Nazi's said for you to go you had no choice and no say. Security police, otherwise known as the Gestapo, had the authority to arrest anyone and to put them into a concentration camp for an indefinite amount of time. The Gestapo arrested Communists, socialists, religious dissenters, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, dissenting clergy, and homosexuals .

In German, Konzentrationslager. Concentration camps are also called corrective labor camps, relocation centers, & reception centers. Prison camps constructed to hold, from the 1930s, Jews, Gypsies, political & religious opponents, social misfits, resisters, homosexuals, and other Germans considered ‘enemies of the state.’ Inmates were killed by abuse, starvation, and disease.

Life in the camps

*After 1933, Dachau (March 1933), Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen were among the first concentration camps built by the Nazis near Munich, Weimar, and Berlin respectively. There were six main camps in 1939 that each held about 25,000 prisoners these camps were: Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Flossenbeurg, Mauthausen, and, for women, Ravensbreuck. They usually consist of barracks, tents or huts. All of these were surrounded by watch towers and barbed wire. The criminal police, or the Kripo imposed on professional criminals and groups of asocials: Gypsies, homosexuals, prostitutes, and shirkers. The S.S. expanded the concentration camp system, and used these facilities to warehouse other "undesirables," including hundreds of thousands of Jews.

*Upon arrival at a camp, the inmates were usually stripped of all their valuables and clothes. They were then shorn of body hair, disinfected, given a shower, and issued a striped prison uniform without regard to size. Each step of the process was designed to dehumanize the prisoners, both physically and emotionally. Each prisoner was given a number. At Auschwitz,
for example, the number was tattooed on the arm, but some camps did not tattoo their inmates.

Life in the camps was a living hell. As described by Judah Pilch in "Years of the Holocaust: The Factual Story," which appears in The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe, a typical day in the life of a concentration camp inmate began at dawn, when they were roused from their barracks which housed 300-800 inmates each. Their "beds" were bunks of slatted wood two and three tiers high. Frequently three to four prisoners shared each bunk, not permitting space enough for them to stretch out for normal sleep.

The inmates were organized into groups to go to the toilets, marched to a distribution center for a breakfast consisting of some bread and a liquid substitute for tea or coffee, and then sent out to work for 10-14 hours in mines, factories, and road or airfield building, often in sub-zero weather or the severe heat of summer. They were subjected to constant physical and emotional harassment and beating. The inmates' food rations did not permit survival for very long. Those who resisted orders of the guards were shot on the spot.
*Numerous roll calls were held to assure that no prisoners had escaped. If one did attempt an escape, all of the inmates suffered for it.

While conditions were, predictably, horrible in these camps, and while the death rates were high, there is no evidence that they were used for extermination purposes. By the late 1930s there were literally hundreds of camps scattered throughout Germany and with the Nazi takeover of Czechoslovakia, Austria, Poland, Holland and France, camps were established throughout the Reich. The death rates were so high, from malnutrition, typhus and exhaustion that the disposal of corpses became a serious problem.

Dachau

In Dachau, one of the largest camps in Germany proper, crematoria were constructed for disposal of corpses. There was also a gas chambers constructed at Dachau; however, there is no evidence to this point that they were ever used for extermination. Presumably, the crematoria displayed on the left were used for disposing of the corpses of those who perished from other causes. There were other execution devices at Dachau, such as a gallows, and presumably prisoners were executed and disposed of there.’

Buchenwald http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/pages/t011/t01194.html

One of the largest concentration camps in Germany. From July 1937 to March 1945, 238,980 prisoners from 30 countries passed through Buchenwald. 43,045 of these, were killed, died from brutal conditions, or didn't survive forced evacuations. On April 11, 1945, the underground took control. 21,000 inmates, were liberated.

Concentration Camps 1941-42
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p27.html

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/cc.html


‘Be honest, decent, faithful and congenial towards members of our own blood but to no one else.’ Heinrich Himmler, October 4, 1943

*After 1939, the concentration camp system expanded dramatically, permeating every corner of occupied Europe. There were different types of concentration camps.

*1941 - Night and Fog" decree

Major changes in the concentration camp system were brought about as a result of World War II. During the war, the organization & scale of the camp system expanded rapidly & the purpose of the camps evolved beyond imprisonment toward forced labor & outright murder.

Floods of prisoners in larger numbers, deported from German-occupied countries swamped the camps. Entire groups were often sent to the camps, an example being all of the members of underground resistance organizations who were rounded up in a sweep across Europe due to the 1941 "Night and Fog" decree. The only way to handle all of these new prisoners was to open up hundred of new camps in occupied Europe, which the Nazis did.

*The origin and the goal of the "Nacht und Nebel Erlass," also known as "Keitel Erlass."
It was a cryptonym for a secret decree, instigated by Hitler, issued on December 7, 1941, and signed by Wilhelm Keitel, Field Marshall and Chief of Staff of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, contemptuously referred to in certain army circles as "Lakeitel" (lackey), and passed on by him to the appropriate quarters for implementation.

It arose out of worry about the growing resistance movements in the western, German-occupied countries, especially after the German attack on the Soviet Union (22 June 1941). Its main goal was to deter the conquered peoples from underground activities, and it provided the methods of handling "persons dangerous to German security."

Now the military courts could impose death penalty for resistance activities without a unanimous decision, as once required. The entire proceedings against someone, including the execution, were to be done in eight days. The "culprits," if not condemned to death, were to be transferred to Germany. Those arrested under the provisions of Nacht und Nebel decree were to vanish without trace, as if fog and night swallowed them. They were not allowed to write to anyone, to receive mail or parcels, or to have visitors. Their families would not be told about their fate; it was to remain for ever a mystery. As Keitel put it: Effective and lasting intimidation can only be achieved by capital punishment or by means which leave the population in the dark about the fate of the culprit.

This decree applied to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway. Its methods were to strike terror in the hearts of the actual and potential opponents of the Nazis. Keitel ordered and justified brutal methods on many occasions, before and after he signed the "Nacht-und-Nebel-Erlass." Thus, he proclaimed on Dec. 16, 1942 that it was ... the duty of the troops to use every method without restriction, even against women and children provided it ensures success. Any act of mercy is a crime against the German people. The draconian provisions of the original decree were made worse later on. After June 25, 1943, even if the military court released such a prisoner, she or he would be handed over to the Gestapo to be detained in the "preventive custody" (Schutzhaft), most likely a concentration camp.

In February 1942 special courts were set up to conduct the ‘Night and Fog’ trials in the Reich: in Cologne, for persons arrested in France: in Dortmund (later Essen, for Belgium & the Netherlands; in Kiel, for Norway; & in Berlin, for all other areas to which the order applied. The "Nacht und Nebel" provisions, while a constituent part of the Nazi murderous plans, should not be confused with the Final Solution.

The only way to handle all of these new prisoners was to open up hundred of new camps in occupied Europe, which the Nazis did. (Encyclopedia of the Holocaust," Israel Gutman, Editor in Chief, Macmillan, 1990, Vol. 3, p. 1030)

By 1942, the concentration camps had turned into a massive slave labor empire. Before the end of World War II, more than 100 concentration camps had been created across German-occupied Europe. The living conditions of all camps were brutal.
http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/gl-conce.htm

For the most part, the camps resembled each other in layout & structure; they had assembly areas & barracks surrounded by guard towers and electrified barbed wire. Transit camps and assembly centers were holding and distribution centers, where prisoners were held temporarily, prior to the journey East.*


Pictures: Mass delousing of Mauthausen inmates during a typhus epidemic in 1941.
Camps and testimonies of the victims. http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/cc.html


Like Dying Candles: Concentration Camp Routine. Selection & Camp living conditions
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p29.html

"We stood there. shivering, trembling, cropped and ragged. And only then did we look at each other. Not even the closest relatives were recognizable...Fortunately, we couldn't see ourselves, but some, looking at their companions.burst into hysterical 1auqhter or uncontrollable weeping." Reska Weiss, Survivor, Journey Through Hell

*Brutal and dehumanizing, the concentration camp system's main product was death. For those fit enough to work, their misfortune was slave labor, where murder occurred through work. The cycle of the day in such camps was work, hunger, and pain, always in the shadow of the sadistic violence of guards and instant execution for the slightest infraction.

pictures: "Men, women, young girls, children, babies, cripples all stark naked. filed by. At the corner stood a burly SS man. with a loud priestlike voice. *

Unlike the death camps of Treblinka, Chelmno, Sobibor, and Belzec, which were built and operated solely to kill Jews, the two death camps of Maidanek and Auschwitz also had a work camp attached. Upon arrival at these two camps, the inmates were usually stripped of all their valuables & clothes, and a selection was made at the train station concerning which Jews (about 10 percent of the arrivals) would be permitted to live and escape immediate gassing in the gas chambers.

pictures: Selection on the platform at Birkenau. Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
Hungarian Jewish women are selected for slave labor in Birkenau, Summer 1944.

Men were immediately separated from women. Prisoners were stripped and their valuables confiscated. Strong Jews were kept alive to work for a while. The weak, old, sick and most Jewish women were sent to the "showers". The "showers", as they called them, were large rooms with no windows. They were all then packed into the room, then the doors were locked. Instead of water pouring out deadly gas was showered into the room. The dead were then stripped of everything valuable that was not taken before, even gold teeth. The remains of the dead were then burned in huge ovens.

The "lucky" survivors were permitted to live only to the extent that they endured the physical and emotional trauma inflicted upon them. The few picked for slave labor were quarantined, after which they were particularly susceptible to malnutrition, exposure, starvation, and epidemics. Laborers would work outside the camps occasionally, companies like Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) and I. G. Farben used them for cheap labor to save money. They were given a food ration that permitted them to survive for only three months. As they died from exhaustion, beatings, and starvation, they were replaced with newly arrived victims.

Even those who were saved to work would die within a couple of months. Those selected to work were then shorn of body hair, disinfected, given a shower, & issued a striped prison uniform without regard to size. Each step of the process was designed to dehumanize the prisoners, both physically & emotionally. Each prisoner was given a number. At Auschwitz, for example, the number was tattooed on the arm, but some camps did not tattoo their inmates.

Camp living conditions
were atrocious. Crammed into windowless, non-insulated barracks, up to 500 in one building, inmates were jammed against one another. No bathrooms were available- a bucket was the only form of waste control. Each barrack had about 36 bunks, it was typical for 5 or 6 inmates to squeeze onto one plank. Food was scarce and what was available was disgusting, watery soup with rotten stew or vegetables, stale, molded bread, perhaps some tea, or a bitter, coffee-like drink that was anything but coffee. Malnutrition made prisoners easy targets for disease and dehydration.

http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p29.html:
"You get up at 3 am....For the slightest irregularity in bed-making the punishment was 25 lashes after which it was impossible to lie or sit for a whole month."
"At 12 noon there was a break for a meal...half a liter of soup, or some watery liquid, without fats, tasteless... No spoons were allowed....One had to drink the soup out of the bowl and lick it like a dog...I must emphasize that if we were lucky we got a noon meal."

"There were 'days of punishment'...when our stomach was empty for the whole day."
"Afternoon work was the same: blows and blows again until 6 PM. At 6 there was the evening
headcount....Usually we were left standing at attention for an hour or two, while some prisoners were called up for 'punishment parade'....They were stripped naked publicly, laid out on specially constructed benches, and whipped, with 25 or 50 lashes. But they kept to their fathers' traditions, even in Maidanek. I shall never forget a young, blond man from Holland who could not accept the order to be bareheaded. He got himself a tiny skullcap and wore it...he used to fix the cap to his ears with thin pieces of string. The overseers sometimes saw this and beat him up severely."
Y. Pfeffer, Maidanek Survivor

The Greek Jews in general in the camps were much worse off than the Ashkenazi Jews--because they did not speak Yiddish and did not understand German. ... Of the 60.000 Jews of Salonika, ninety-five percent did not survive." Jack Handeli, Survivor, Salonika.

‘The Question of Jewish Complicity - Kapos

The German concentration camps depended on the cooperation of trustee inmates who supervised the prisoners. Known as Kapos, these trustees carried out the will of the Nazi camp commandants and guards, and were often as brutal as their S.S. counterparts. Some of these Kapos were Jewish, and even they inflicted harsh treatment on their fellow prisoners. For many, failure to perform their duties would have resulted in severe punishment and even death, but many historians view their actions as a form of complicity. After the war, the prosecution of Kapos as war criminals, particularly those who were Jewish, created an ethical dilemma which continues to this day.’

Pictures: Inmates work in the stone quarries at Flossenbuerg concentration camp in 1942/43
Selection on the platform at Birkenau. Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
Hungarian Jewish women are selected for slave labor in Birkenau, Summer 1944.
Disposal of corpses at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim Clandestine photo showing a prisoner and the exchange of straw mattresses in Dachau, 1943. CL:Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial *

Death Camps, 1941-45

Introduction

The system included slave labor as well as killing centers, designed for mass murder. In some, the people were worked to death in industries such as the G.I. Farben chemical works & the V-2 rocket factories. Those who were no longer able to work were killed by gassing, shooting, or fatal injections.

‘A distinction may be made between areas where the process of physical destruction was sudden, begun with the Nazi invasion (e.g., the U.S.S.R., Serbia), and such areas as the General Government & Polish areas annexed by Germany, where the systematic process of physical destruction followed the September 1939-April 1942 period. In the latter areas, Jews were deprived of elementary human rights, freedom of movement; robbed of their properties & businesses; dismissed from the professions, crowded in ghetto under terrible conditions; subjected to humiliation (yellow badge), to forced labor, starvation & savage brutality ... ridiculing rabbis. As a result, the Jews of this area entered the period of the ‘Final Solution’ -and the camps, physically exhausted, morally undermined, isolated from the world, and abandoned to the destructive will of the Nazis and their accomplices.’15

Emigration was stopped on October 1941
. And it was flights from the Nazi terror. Many committed suicide. Thousands drifted on the high seas in ramshackle boats. Among the ‘death ships’ were the Struma (1942) and the Mefkure (1944), which both sank in the Black Sea. The Jews were trapped.

The Struma
http://holocaust.miningco.com/education/holocaust/library/weekly/aa052599.htm

On December 12, 1941, the ship ‘Struma’ leaves Rumania for Palestine carrying 769 Jews but is later denied permission by British authorities to allow the passengers to disembark. In Feb. 1942, it sails back into the Black Sea where it is intercepted by a Soviet submarine & sunk as an ‘enemy target.’

Death Camps
http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/timeline/camps.htm

*After 1941,
the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, & prisoners of war became a mandate for the Nazis. It was at that point that camps were constructed for the express purpose of rational mass extermination, principally of Jews, but of other groups as well, by gassing them & burning their remains. Following the Wannsee Conference at a villa in Wannsee (suburb of Berlin), January 20, 1942, the "Final Solution" was an official policy & a major obsession of the Nazi regime, and the emphasis shifted from concentration camps to death camps.

It was between 1942 and 1944 that the Germans decided to eliminate the ghettos and deport the ghetto populations to "extermination camps," killing centers equipped with gassing facilities in Poland. Jews from western Europe were sent east to be killed. Massive deportations of Jews to concentration and death camps continued until the summer of 1944. By that time, almost all of the ghettos had been liquidated.

From 1942 to 1945,
the Nazis implemented mass murder with a cold industrial efficiency. Death camps were built to keep these people separate. Many prisoners were used as slave labor. Some were used in medical experiments; many starved to death. About four million Jews were forced from their homes and taken in trains to concentration camps - The Final solution implemented by Himmler’s SS when millions of Jews were sent directly to the gas chambers in death camps. Many died en route. The remainder were gassed, shot, beaten, starved or worked to death.
The death camps were Hitler’s final step in the annihilation of the Jews & the ‘others.’
‘The Germans deported Jews from all over occupied Europe to extermination camps in Poland (6 in former Polish territory: Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, & Majdanek), where they were systematically killed, and also to concentration camps, where they were drafted for forced labor -- ‘extermination through work.’

The Germans deported Jews from all over occupied territories to extermination camps in Poland, where they were systematically killed, and also to concentration camps, where they were drafted for forced labor -- "extermination through work." Several hundred thousand Roma (Gypsies) and Soviet prisoners of war were also systematically murdered. http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/ncamp.htm

Origins
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x07/xm0712.html

The systematic mass murder of Jews began when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. In the first phase, primarily the SS Einstazgrupen shot hundreds of thousands of Jews. Owing to problems with this method, experiments in mass murdering human beings with gas were held in Auschwitz and other camps in the autumn of 1941. Experience in the use of gas had been gained previously through the Euthanasia Program. After the experiments, the SS authorities in charge of the "Final Solution" ordered the construction of extermination camps that would use gas for their murder operations.

‘The German skill in adapting the 20th century techniques of mass production was applied in engineering the "Final Solution." In 1941, the engineers of the "Final Solution" utilized these same principles to cheaply and efficiently murder millions of Jews and other "undesirables." The plants established to carry out this mass murder were the death camps. The death camps proved to be a better, faster, less personal method for killing Jews -than by the Einsatzgruppen-, one that would spare the shooters, not the victims, emotional anguish.

Of the approximately 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, more than half were systematically exterminated in the highly rationalized gas chamber/crematorium system of the Nazi Death Camps between 1942 and 1945. The names of Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Chelmo, Sobibor, Belzek and Majdanek are indelibly stamped on history.

Extermination Camps http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/gl-exter.htm
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t021/t02115.html. & .wiesenthal.org/text/x07/xm0712.html

In German, Vernichtungslager. Nazi camps, equipped with gassing facilities, for mass murder of Jews. Most Nazi extermination camps in Poland.
*‘Six death or extermination camps were constructed in Poland. These so-called death factories sites were chosen according to their closeness to rail lines (essential for shipping the victims) and for their location in semi-rural areas. Thus, instead of killing the Jews where they lived, the Germans decided to bring them to extermination camps. The locations were: Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno, Majdanek (Lublin) & Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The primary purpose of these camps was the methodical killing of millions of innocent people. Up to 2,700,000 Jews were murdered at these six camps, as part of the ‘Final Solution of the Jewish question,’ as were tens of thousands of Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, Poles & others. The 1st camp, Chelmno, began operating in late 1941.

Chelmno (Dec. 8, 1941-Jan. 18, 1945)

Began operating in late 1941. Chelmno, was the first camp where mass gas executions took place by gas: mobile gas vans piped in the lethal gas; 150,000 persons were killed there between December 1941 & March 1943, and June to July 1944.16 The others began their operations in 1942.

1942 http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/timeline/camps.htm

The others camps began their operations in 1942. Between 1942 & 1944, the Germans moved to eliminate the ghettos in occupied Poland & elsewhere, deporting ghetto residents to ‘extermination camps,’ killing centers equipped with gassing facilities in Poland.

*‘Starting early in 1942, the Jewish genocide (sometimes called the Judeocide) went into full operation. Auschwitz 2 (Birkenau), Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibór began operations as death camps. There was no selection process; Jews were destroyed upon arrival.’

Unlike concentration camps, death camps had no barracks to house prisoners, other than those for workers at the camps. In order to process the murder of thousands of people, great pains were taken to deceive the victims concerning their fate. Jews deported from ghettos and concentration camps to the death camps were unaware of what they were facing.

Concealment & human exploitation in death camps

The SS operated the killing centers, and their methods were similar in each location. Railroad freight cars and passenger trains would bring in victims. Jews boarded trains not for extermination camps but for resettlement in the east. ‘The Nazi planners of the operation told the victims that they were being resettled for labor, issued them work permits, told them to bring along their tools and to exchange their German marks for foreign currency. Food was also used to coax starving Jews onto the trains. Once the trains arrived at the death camps, trucks were available to transport those who were too weak to walk directly to the gas chambers. The others were told that they would have to be deloused & enter the baths.

The victims were separated by sex & told to remove their clothes;
their valuables confiscated. The "showers", as they called them, were large rooms with no windows. They were all then packed into the room, then the doors were locked. Instead of water pouring out deadly gas was showered into the room. The baths were in reality the gas chambers. The shower heads in the baths were actually the inlets for poison gas - either carbon monoxide or zyklon B. At Auschwitz, the gas chambers held 2,000 people at a time.

Zyklon B

'Nothing terrible is going to happen to you!' he told the poor wretches. 'All you have to do is breathe deeply.'" Kurt Gerstein, Nazi officer, Belzec Witness


By March 1942 death camps operated employing Zyklon-B gas. With the introduction of a cyanide-based gas (carbon monoxide, a form of crystalline prussic acid, also used as an insecticide) called Zyklon B, all 2,000 occupants could be killed in five minutes. As a result of this technological "advancement," Auschwitz was able to "process" the death of 12,000 victims daily.

Before the bodies were removed by workers with gas masks and burned in crematoria (giant furnaces)
or buried in enormous mass graves, the bodies were stripped of hair, and the teeth of the victims were stripped for gold, which was melted down and shipped back to Germany. The hair was used for ship rope and mattresses. Innocent victims were exploited and desecrated to a degree unknown in human history.
Innocent victims were exploited and desecrated to a degree unknown in human history.

Sonderkommando
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/pages/t072/t07216.html

Sonderkommando were SS units which carried out exterminations, disposed of dead bodies and erased traces of mass murder. Jewish Sonderkommando units were made up of Jewish camp prisoners who were forced to work in the gas chambers and crematoria. One of these units staged an uprising in the Birkenau camp in 1941.

These camps had a single goal: the blanket murder of the Jews, irrespective of age or sex. In contrast to the procedure at other camps, (with some exceptions in Auschwitz-Birkenau), everyone, including persons fit to work, were murdered. Auschwitz was also a concentration camp. Some scholars classify Majdanek as an extermination camp, because there was a period when transports arriving there were handled as they were in Auschwitz - incoming people were subjected to a selektion and the large majority were gassed.

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU: THE DEATH FACTORY
(May 20, 1941-Jan. 27, 1945)
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p31.html

Pictures: * The gates and railway lines of Auschwitz-Birkenau after liberation by Soviet troops, January 1945. CL:BPK


* Slovakian Jewish men selected for labor upon arrival in June 1944. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
* Selection at Birkenau. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
* Burning corpses of murdered inmates in 1944. Clandestine photo. State Museum in Oswiecim
* Containers of Zyklon-B pellets, a form of crystalline prussic acid, used to murder inmates at Auschwitz. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim

"At Auschwitz, I used Zyklon B, which was a crystallized prussic acid which we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber, depending on the climatic conditions. We knew the people were dead because their screaming stopped." Rudolf Hoess, Nuremberg, 1946

Extermination-industrial complex where mass murder began in March 1942, and including Birkenau (Auschwitz II), with its extensive gas installations & crematoria (Nov. 26, 1941-Jan. 27, 1945), where extermination was going on from Nov. 26, 1941 to Dec. 1, 1944.

It not just a killing center but a concentration camp & slave labor facility, is usually mentioned the moment anyone discusses the Holocaust. This is for a good reason: it is the institution responsible for the largest number of Jews murdered as well as the largest number of Gypsies murdered.

*Located in Upper Silesia, Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest Nazi camp combining the functions of concentration camp and killing center. Originally designed by the Nazis for Polish prisoners, the camp opened in May 1940. However, with implementation of the "Final Solution" in 1941, it became the largest center for the murder of millions of European Jews.

"When the Reichsfuehrer SS modified his original Extermination Order of 1941, by which all Jews without exception were to be destroyed. and ordered instead that those capable of work were to be separated from the rest and employed in the armaments industry. Auschwitz became a Jewish camp. It was a collecting place for Jews, exceeding in scale anything previously known...They knew, without exception, that they were condemned to death ,that they would live only so long as they could work." Rudolf Hoess, Autobiography Captions *

An experimental gassing of 250 malnourished, ill Polish prisoners and 600 Russian prisoners of war in September 1941 grew into daily, routine mass murder.

* With the introduction of Zyklon B at Auschwitz- Birkenau and Maidanek, death became a diabolical industry. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, four of its gas chambers could hold 2,000 victims at a time. This more efficient method rapidly spread to the other killing centers.

Birkenau housed Gypsies and women, while Monowitz, the third camp in the Auschwitz complex, held male prisoners used as slave labor for the I.G. Farben Buna works. *

The Jews constituted the lowest level of inmate in the camps. Their lives were in perpetual danger. The electrically charged barb wire fencing made escape a virtual impossibility, not to mention the gun towers.

Pictures: * The gates and railway lines of Auschwitz-Birkenau after liberation by Soviet troops, January 1945. CL:BPK
* Slovakian Jewish men selected for labor upon arrival in June 1944. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
* Selection at Birkenau. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
* Burning corpses of murdered inmates in 1944. Clandestine photo. State Museum in Oswiecim
* Containers of Zyklon-B pellets, a form of crystalline prussic acid, used to murder inmates at Auschwitz. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
Picture: Disposal of corpses at Auschwitz-Birkenau. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim Clandestine photo showing a prisoner and the exchange of straw mattresses in Dachau, 1943. CL:Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial *

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU: HALF HELL, HALF LUNATIC ASYLUM
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p32.html

"The women lived in a constant state of fear and uncertainty. They knew they had to submit to some kind of experiments invented by the SS doctors, and that when their role ends--the role of guinea pigs-- they will be sent to Birkenau, where the gas chamber would be waiting for them....I had the feeling that I was in a place which was half hell and half lunatic asylum." Dr. Dora Klein, Inmate/Nurse, Auschwitz

*At Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis manufactured death with cold, industrial efficiency. Between April 1942 and November 1944, 2,000,000 Jews were gassed. In addition
hundreds of thousands of non-Jews, including Poles, Soviet P.O.W.'s, ill prisoners of various nationalities & Gypsies were murdered. More than a quarter of a million Gypsies also died there. To erase all signs of their horrific deeds, the Nazis reduced corpses to ashes in the crematoria. Operating day and night, the five Auchwitz-Birkenau gas chambers & ovens murdered and cremated as many as 9,000 individuals per day.*

Between just under three months, (May 14 through July 8, 1944), 437,402 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz via 48 trains. This is most likely the single largest deportation of the Holocaust. A similar system was used at Majdanek, which also saw "double usage" as a concentration camp and which was responsible for at least 275,000 deaths.

Auschwitz was also used as the site for medical experimentation


*Sadistic and brutal medical experiments were conducted at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Josef Mengele and other "physicians" like Johann Paul Kremer, Horst Schumann, Fritz Klein, and Carl Clauberg. Twins, dwarfs, pregnant women and other selected prisoners were used for gruesome "genetic" studies.*

"The women lived in a constant state of fear and uncertainty. They knew they had to submit to some kind of experiments invented by the SS doctors, and that when their role ends--the role of guinea pigs-- they will be sent to Birkenau, where the gas chamber would be waiting for them....I had the feeling that I was in a place which was half hell and half lunatic asylum." Dr. Dora Klein, Inmate/Nurse, Auschwitz

Nazi atrocities at Auschwitz included cruel & painful ‘medical’ experiments on inmates (who were also subject to extreme brutality on the part of the guards). Such as having the skull of a human male sawed open when the victim was still alive without the help of anesthesia so they could see how the human brain worked and looked when still in use. Pregnant women had numerous experiments done to their unborn children; if woman was not pregnant she would be made so. Many of these experiments had little scientific value but were only exercises to discover how much torture a victim could endure until death. Many died as a result.

* Living in filth and struggling against starvation, the people who could still work had the most likely chance for survival, a slim hope at best. An injury, often the result of the casual brutality of the guards, was synonymous with a death warrant. *

Maidanek & Auschwitz’s work camps. Selection
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p29.html

Unlike the death camps of Treblinka, Chelmno, Sobibor, and Belzec, which were built and operated solely to kill Jews, the two death camps of Lublin-Majdanek (Nov. 1, 1941, extermination from autumn 1942 to July 24, 1944) & Auschwitz also had a work camp attached. Upon arrival at these two camps, the inmates were usually stripped of all their valuables & clothes, and a selection was made at the train station concerning which Jews (about 10 percent of the arrivals) would be permitted to live and escape immediate gassing in the gas chambers. Men were immediately separated from women. Prisoners were stripped and their valuables confiscated. Strong Jews were kept alive to work for a while. The weak, old, sick and most Jewish women were sent to the "showers".

Even those who were saved to work would die within a couple of months. The "lucky" survivors were permitted to live only to the extent that they endured the physical and emotional trauma inflicted upon them. Those selected for slave labor, were then shorn of body hair, disinfected, given a shower, & issued a striped prison uniform without regard to size. Each step of the process was designed to dehumanize the prisoners, both physically & emotionally. Each prisoner was given a number. At Auschwitz, for example, the number was tattooed on the arm, but some camps did not tattoo their inmates.

The few picked for slave labor were, after being quarantined, particularly susceptible to malnutrition, exposure, starvation, medical experiments, and epidemics; as a result may perished. Laborers would work outside the camps occasionally, companies like Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) and I. G. Farben used them for cheap labor to save money. They were given a food ration that permitted them to survive for only three months. As they died from exhaustion, beatings, and starvation, they were replaced with newly arrived victims.

Auschwitz - the site for medical experimentation


*Sadistic and brutal medical experiments were conducted at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Josef Mengele and other "physicians" like Johann Paul Kremer, Horst Schumann, Fritz Klein, and Carl Clauberg. Twins, dwarfs, mental patients, invalid, pregnant women and other selected prisoners were used for gruesome "genetic" studies.*

Nazi atrocities at Auschwitz included cruel & painful ‘medical’ experiments on inmates (who were also subject to extreme brutality on the part of the guards). Such as having the skull of a human male sawed open when the victim was still alive without the help of anesthesia so they could see how the human brain worked and looked when still in use. Pregnant women had numerous experiments done to their unborn children; if woman was not pregnant she would be made so. Many of these experiments had little scientific value but were only exercises to discover how much torture a victim could endure until death. Many died as a result.

* Living in filth and struggling against starvation, the people who could still work had the most likely chance for survival, a slim hope at best. An injury, often the result of the casual brutality of the guards, was synonymous with a death warrant. *

By the end of 1944, an estimated two-and-a-half million Jews had died at Auschwitz.
Besides the Jews, Auschwitz-Birkenau killed Gypsies, Soviet POWs, and ill prisoners of various nationalities. More than a quarter of a million Gypsies also died there.

1942-1943 - Aktion Reinhard
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/pages/t000/t00055.html

Heydrich Reinhard (1904-1942): SS Lieutenant General, head of the Reich Security, which included the Gestapo, organized the Einsatzgruppen or killing squads, and led the Wannsee Conference of 1942, where the coordination of the ‘final solution’ was discussed. He was shot by members of the Czech resistance on May 27, 1942, near Prague, and died several days later. To honor Heydrich, Germans gave the code name ‘Operation Heydrich’ to the destruction of Jews in occupied Poland at Belzec, Sobibor, & Treblinka extermination camps.

AKTION REINHARD: Plan to kill Jews in the five districts under Germany's control in Eastern Europe from 1942-1943. This included: Setting up the death camps of Belzec, Sobibor & Treblinka, deporting Jews by railway to camps, killing them by poison gas and burning their bodies. More than 2 million Jews were killed in this "Aktion." The year 1943 saw the end of the destruction of Polish Jewry under the code name Aktion Reinhard (from 1942 to Nov. 1943) & of extermination activities in the Occupied Eastern Territories. The survivors of these operations were mostly liquidated in residual ghettos which were emptied one after the other. Four exterminations camps were also closed.

Belzec (Nov. 1, 1941-June 30, 1943)
Killing center which used gas vans and later gas chambers, where over 600,000 persons were murdered between May 1942 & August 1943. May 1942 was the opening of Sobibor, which did not cease killing until a successful one day revolt of the prisoners on October 14, 1943. By that time 200,000 people had died of gassing.

Sobibor
It opened in May 1942 & closed one day after a rebellion of the prisoners on October 14, 1943; up to 200,000 persons were killed by gassing.

Treblinka (June 1, 1942-Nov. 30, 1943)
the largest (in terms of size) of the extermination camps, and responsible for at least 750,000 deaths, closed in November, 1943; a revolt by prisoners in early August 1943 destroyed much of the facility.

Almost all of the victims at Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, & Treblinka were Jews; some were Gypsies. All four were terribly brutal, few survived since most were slain upon arrival. Those who weren't performed forced labor or were put into concentration. Their identities were ripped from them, their hair shorn. They became a number, no longer a name, which was tattooed on their arm. Many survivors will not remove their number. It is a part of them forever.

Feb. 1943: More than 4 million persons, most of whom were Jews, died in the Nazi camps. About 80 to 85 % of the Jews who would die in the Holocaust have already been murdered.

Women And The Holocaust - A Cyberspace of Their Own
http://www.interlog.com/~mighty/


DEDICATED TO ALL THOSE WOMEN

Who were murdered while pregnant. Holding little hands of children or carrying infants in their arms on the way to be gassed. In hiding. To the mothers who gave their children to be hidden, many never to find them again. To the righteous-gentile mothers who were hiding and protecting the children in their care. Or as fighters in the resistance: in ghettos, forests, partisan units.
And to the lives of those few who survived and bravely carried on.

PREFACE TO THE STUDY OF THE WOMEN AND THE HOLOCAUST by Joan Ringelheim, Washington, D.C. (Contemporary Jewry v. 17, 1996) (Dept. of Sociology, Connecticut College, New London) Permission granted by the Author and the Editors.

Every Jew, regardless of gender,
was equally a victim in the Holocaust.
Therefore, perhaps, it is not surprising that most perspectives on the Holocaust have
been gender neutral. However, a careful study of National Socialism as theory and
practice does not reveal any more gender neutrality than racial neutrality.

The Nazi "Final Solution" against the Jewish population was total genocide. Every women, man and child defined as "Jew" was to die or be killed. Nothing, not geography, nationality, class, profession, economic status, or gender was to allow for very long.

If any policy could be considered a "victim equalizer", it is genocide. Every Jew was equally a victim in the genocide of the Holocaust. Consequently, it is not surprising that most perspectives on the Holocaust have been gender neutral or seemed to erase gender as a category of analysis. Likewise, it is no wonder that any emphasis on gender seems irrelevant and/or even irreverent.

Then again, one might be incredulous that gender has not been of greater interest. There is something unusual in the intention to kill every woman & child along with every male from a targeted community. The Nazi so-called ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question,’ was one of the first times in history the the female population wasn't treated primarily as ‘spoils.’ It was one of the rare historical moments when women & children were consciously and explicitly sentenced to death in at least equal measure with men. Jewish women were connected to the "race struggle" of National Socialism because they carried the next generation of Jews. Thus they became specific targets as Jewish Women. Hence, Jewish children could not be allowed to live either.

A more mundane view would not need such a litany because it would be clear the together with age, sex and and gender are universal categories or classifications in all cultures. Being in one or another category (whether age, sex, gender, ethnicity or class) always has consequences.

During the Holocaust, Jewish women were often more the fifty percent of the Jewish population the Nazis deported or murdered. We have to acknowledge that Jewish men did not stand for Jewish women when it came to the killing operations. Jewish women stood in their own lines and were killed as Jewish women. Moreover, Jewish men cannot stand in for Jewish women as we try to understand everyday life with its terror, fear, love, escape, hope, humor, work, starvation, beatings, rape, abortion, resistance, maintenance and killing operations. Jewish women and men experienced unrelieved suffering during the Holocaust.

However, Jewish women carried the extra burdens of sexual victimization, pregnancy, childbirth, rape, abortion, the killing of newborns, & often the separation from children. Jewish women's lives were endangered as Jewish women, as mothers, and as caretakers of children.

The Holocaust produced a set of experiences, responses and memories for Jewish women that do not always parallel those of Jewish men. If in the gas chambers or before the firing squads all Jews seemed alike to the Nazis, the path to this end was not always the same. The end, annihilation or death, does not describe or explain the process.

In spite of what seems an obvious set of investigations, it has clearly been too difficult for most scholars and writers to contemplate Holocaust, let alone the extent to which gender counted in the exploitation and murder of Jews. In addition, the study of what happened to the Jews or response of Jews during the Holocaust does not cover all that is important to understand when it comes to studying gender and genocide or women and the Holocaust. There are a number of victim groups that include women: Roma Sinti (Gypsies), POWs, political prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, lesbians, etc. Of course, "Gypsies" unlike these other groups, were subject to a policy of genocide that parallels that against the Jews.

Further , there are women who were perpetrators or collaborators. For example, SS women guards in the camps, nurses and other functionaries in the euthanasia institutions, civil servants, clerks and secretaries working for the mobile killing units and the like.

A careful study of National Socialism as theory and practice does not reveal any more gender neutrality than racial neutrality. Theories and policies about gender are always embedded within racial theories. The Nazi's eugenics program had particular views about men and women: men and women among the so-called "Aryans" and among the so-called "non-Aryans.

The prominent analysts of the Holocaust may have erased or ignored gender, but the
Holocaust did not.

Forgotten Victims: The Abandonment of Americans in Hitler's Camps
http://members.aol.com/bardbooks/index.htm


U.S. citizens were among the 12 million people murdered by the Nazis. In fact, tens of thousands of American civilians were in peril, but their government made a conscious decision not to help them. Consequently, many suffered, some died. Simultaneously, many American soldiers sent to defeat Hitler were captured. Some wore dog tags identifying them as Jews, which allowed the Nazis to single them out for mistreatment. Other POWs were sent to concentration camps where they witnessed firsthand the “Final Solution.” The U.S. Government has covered up the story of what happened to its citizens during World War II, because it would raise new questions about what this country did to rescue the targets of the Nazis. While many books have told the story of how European Jewry was forsaken, this is the first to describe the abandonment of American Jews.

American Victims Of The Holocaust: The Untold Story

Forgotten Victims: The Abandonment of Americans in Hitler's Camps.
by Mitchell G. Bard, published by HarperCollins/Westview Press. The shocking story of how American civilians and POWs were abandoned by their government and how many became Holocaust victims. One of the most incredible accounts involves a group of American Jewish POWs who were segregated and sent to a slave labor camp that had by far the highest fatality rate of anyplace POWs were held.

The Enduring Spirit: Art of the Holocaust
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p30.html

*Despite the conditions in the camps, the human imagination found expression in art and poetry. Much of Holocaust art was documentary: art for history, to record what had been experienced. The artists were simultaneously victim and commentator, forced to steal paper, ink, and color from food dyes and rust. *

News of death camps reached West in 1942

‘Nazi leaders tried to keep the mass killings secret, but word leaked out quite early in the scheme. For the most part, the outside world paid little attention.
The American press had printed scores of articles detailing mistreatment of the Jews in Germany. May 18, 1942, the New York Times reports that Nazis have machine-gunned over 100,000 Jews in the Baltic states; 100,000 in Poland & twice as many in western Russia. June 30 & Jul 2, the NY Times reports via London Daily Telegraph that over 1,000,000 Jews have already been killed by Nazis. By 1942, many of these newspapers were reporting details of the Holocaust, stories about the mass murder of Jews in the millions. For the most part, these articles were only a few inches long, and were buried deep in the newspaper. These reports were either denied or unconfirmed by the United States government; world is silent.

Although confirmed reports of the mass murders of Jews had reached the U.S. State Department in 1942, officials had remained silent. And, when they did receive irrefutable evidence that the reports were true, U.S. government officials suppressed the information: U.S. reconnaissance photos of the Birkenau camp in 1943 showed the lines of victims moving into the gas chambers, confirming other reports. The War Department insisted that the information be kept classified. Photographs of mass graves and mass murder, smuggled out under the most dangerous of circumstances, were also classified as secret. During the war the State Department had insisted that the best way to save victims of Nazi Germany’s policies was to win the war as quickly as possible.

Allies ignored pleas of Jewish leaders to bomb the railroad leading to Auschwitz
, refusing to accept Jewish immigrants. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called for the death camp at Auschwitz to be bombed. He was ignored. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Jews could have been saved had the Allies agreed to bomb the death camps or the rail lines which were feeding them. American & British officials met to discuss the matter in Bermuda in 1943, but accomplished little.”’17 .

1943-1945: End of camps - Destruction of the European Jewish communities

From Greece in the South to Norway in the North & from France ... to the Soviet Union, ‘the Nazis continued to deport Jews ... even after it became apparent that it was only a matter of time before they lost the war.’18

1943 February
More than four million persons, most of whom were Jews, died in the Nazi camps. About 80 to 85 % of the Jews who would die in the Holocaust have already been murdered. Ultimately, the Nazis were responsible for the deaths of some 2.7 million Jews in the death camps. These murders were done secretly under the ruse of resettlement. The Germans hid their true plans from citizens & inhabitants of the ghettos by claiming that Jews were being resettled in the East. They went so far as to charge Jews for a one-way train fare and often, just prior to their murder, had the unknowing victims send reassuring postcards back to the ghettos. Thus did millions of Jews go unwittingly to their deaths with little or no resistance.

By the end of 1943 the Germans closed down the death camps built specifically to exterminate Jews.
Massive deportations of Jews to concentration & death camps continued until the summer of 1944. By that time, almost all of the ghettos had been liquidated. On Nov. 26, 1944, Himmler ordered an end to gassing.
The death tolls for the camps are as follows: Treblinka, (750,000 Jews); Belzec, (550,000 Jews); Sobibór, (200,000 Jews); Chelmno, (150,000 Jews) and Lublin (also called Majdanek, 50,000 Jews). Auschwitz continued to operate through the summer of 1944; its final death total was about 1 million Jews and 1 million non-Jews.

In July 1944, the Red Army liberated the Majdanek concentration camp, and within the next 6 months all the Nazi extermination camps were liberated by Soviet or American troops. Allied encirclement of Germany was nearly complete in the fall of 1944. With the accelerated Soviet march toward the West, the final stage of Aktion Reinhard took place. The remaining Jews were either exterminated on the spot (as e.g., operation ‘harvest home’ - Aktion Erntefest- in the concentration camp of Majdanek) or shipped to various concentration camps in Germany. The Nazis began dismantling the camps, hoping to cover up their crimes. By the late winter/early spring of 1945, they sent prisoners walking to camps in central Germany - as the Allies advanced on the camps. Thousands died in what became known as death marches; few survived.
.... By the end of World War II, some six million of them were murdered in the Holocaust.

It is a shameful blemish on the history of Europe that the systematic murders perpetrated by the Nazis were carried out with the help of local collaborators in much of Europe & silently accepted by millions of bystanders. As in any case however, there are exceptions to the rule- organized resistance would be found in some areas. Denmark, in particular, shines as an example.

---------------------------------------------------
Course of WWII, 1942
Turn of the tide, Allied Victory & Defeat of the Axis

Allies - The Grande Alliance: 26 allied nations led by Britain, the United States, & the Soviet Union that joined in war against Nazi Germany, Italy, Japan, and their allies, known as the Axis powers. US’s war policy: to defeat Germany before Japan. Allied strength enormous, & it was aided by the resistance groups, many of which were communist. America strength lay in its industry & national unity

Early 1942: Japan takes Philippines, Burma, Singapore, Dutch East Indies, French Indochina
Battles responsible for reversing the tide of the war: Midway, Stalingrad, El Alamein:

In the Pacific Japan on defensive; US strategy of “island hopping:”
May 7-8, 1942 US defeated Japan in Battle of the Coral Sea
ending Japanese victories
June 4-7, 1942 1942 Tide of battle turns in Allies’ favor: Japan’s defeat at Midway American naval superiority in the Pacific Ocean at Battle of Midway Island

February 2, 1943: Germany’s defeat at Stalingrad
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/pages/t019/t01996.html
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/text/x21/xm2137.html

German forces attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, pushing more than 600 miles to the gates of Moscow. Several early victories after the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, were reversed with crushing defeats at Moscow (December 1941) and Stalingrad (winter, 1942-43).

Perry, Chase, Jacob, V. Laue. Western Civilization, Ideas, Politics & Society. Houghton ‘92:
‘After being stymied at the outskirts of Moscow in December 1941, the Germans renew offensive in the spring & summer of 1942; Hitler’s goal was Stalingrad (now Volgograd), the great industrial center located on the Volga River”; by Oct. Germans at the gates of Moscow & Leningrad. German began assault on Stalingrad -Volgograd. In 1942, a 2nd German offensive brought German soldiers to the shores of the Volga River & Stalingrad.

Dec. 1942 Germans reached Stalingrad; but the invasion stalled in winter of 1941-42 -bitter cold of winter slowed down the Germans; severely hampered progress of offensive.

The Soviet Union, together with Great Britain and the United States, which had entered the war against Germany in December 1941, turned the tide of battle against Germany. Stalin managed to rally Soviet peoples to repulse invasion. Red Army held its position. Yet, ‘scorched earth’ policy of Soviets deprived Germans any ability to live off the land (1812, Russians retreated beyond Moscow & burned their land to defeat Napoleon who lost 80% of his forces).19

Stalingrad Relieved on February 2, 1943
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/text/x21/xm2138.html

General Georgy Zhukov began counteroffensive that did not end until war over. The battle of Stalingrad was brutal. American war materials & supplies helped Soviet effort. Soviets encircled & defeated the German 6th Army who surrendered on February 2, 1943. The Germans retreated with over 280,000 casualties -Nazi advance east halted. Moscow & Leningrad were saved.
In the east, the battle for Stalingrad & Soviet victory proved a decisive turning point in fighting. Russians pushed Germans out of Soviet Union - July 1943 Soviet victory in Battle of Kursk-Orel, moved across eastern Europe. After the defeat at Stalingrad in winter of 1942-43, German troops began the long retreat.



WWII - Western Front, -to September 1943

Allied victories in North Africa - El Alamein
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x22/xr2253.html

Between 1940-1943, the Allies operated in an area spanning more than 1,500 miles from Libya to Tunisia and into Algeria, where US Rangers attacked Axis positions in French North Africa.

Perry, Chase, Jacob, V. Laue. Western Civilization, Ideas, Politics & Society. Houghton ‘92:
Mussolini sent troops into Egypt. British stopped advance into Egypt, took Tobruk, Libyan port, drove Italian out of Ethiopia. In Jan. 1941, the British were routing the Italians in northern Africa (NA). Germany helped Italians by sending force to North Africa under General Erwin Rommel (1891-1944), the ‘desert fox,’ to halt the British advance. Rommel drove the British out of Libya & with strong reinforcements might have taken Egypt & the Suez Canal. But Hitler’s concern was with seizing Yugoslavia and Greece and preparing for the invasion of Russia. In beginning 1942, Rommel resumed his advance, intending to conquer Egypt.

Oct. 1942: The British 8th Army, commanded by General Bernard L. Montgomery, stopped Rommel at the battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Montgomery’s victory over Afrika Corps. The victory of El Alamein was followed by an Anglo-American invasion of northwest Africa in Nov. 1942 & Germans’ occupation of Tunisia.20

French Resistance to Allied Invasion of North Africa
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/text/x20/xm2027.html

The planners of Operation Torch had known that its first big hurdle would be of French rather than German making.
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/gallery/pg50/pg1/pg50125.html:
French troops swore allegiance to the Vichy government and were ordered to resist the Allies in North Africa. Under General Patton, the Allies emerged victorious in November 1942.

First Liberations Algeria, Morocco, & Libya
http://www.topedge.com/panels/ww2/na/frame.html

‘Operation Torch’ - The Anglo-American Landings In North Africa, 8th Nov. 1942
http://www.topedge.com/panels/ww2/na/frame.html
Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990

Nov. 8, 1942
The American invasion of North Africa did not have any immediate effect of the position of Jews in Morocco & Algeria.

* Algeria (120,000 Jews) was liberated by the Americans; but anti-Jewish laws remained in effect well after the liberation; racist laws annulled on March 14, 1943, also in Morocco. Little changed until late 1944.

* Morocco (150,000 Jews) In Casablanca, French right-wingers attacked Jews only seconds after American troops had held their 1st march trough the city. The Allied invasion on November 8, 1942 saved the Jews of Morocco from the ‘Final Solution;’ Officially the camps were closed down in April 1943 ...

The ‘Final Solution’ in Nazi-occupied French Tunisia (Nov. 1942-May ‘43)
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/pages/t079/t07941.html
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/text/x33/xr3313.html

TUNISIA: Location: country in North Africa. Jewish Presence: possibly from King Solomon's time. Jewish Population at the end of 19th century: between 60-100,000
Fate of Jews during WWII: large round-ups of Jews, deportations, and forced labor, execution and plunder. Post-war: In 1968, 7-8,000 Jews lived in Tunisia

“As in France itself, Marshal Philip Petain & his Vichy regime enjoyed tremendous support among the European population of the Maghrib -Morocco, Algerian, & Tunisia...”21

“The fate of Tunisian Jews during World War II differed from that of Jews in the other countries of North Africa; they were the only ones who experienced direct German occupation, which began in November 1942.”22

The Jews in Nazi-occupied Tunisia, 85,000 (Nov. 1942-May 1943), suffered during 6 months, under antisemitism Nazi terror by the infamous SS- Obersturmbannfuhrer Walter Rauff. A Judenrat was created. Tunisian Jews were forced to wear the yellow badge; subject to acts of violence and terror: arrest of hostages, confiscation of property, ill-treatment -indiscriminate snatching of Jews from street corners and private homes, storming into the synagogue, hitting worshipers- execution, deportation, and forced labor. More than 4,000 were sent to forced labor camps, and many died from disease. An SS unit was preparing gas chambers near Kairouan. Plans were not completed because of lack of time.

Allied advance into North Africa. Liberation
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/gallery/pg48/pg6/pg48675.html

In May, 1943, the Allies advanced into North Africa and alleviated the suffering of Tunisian Jews. This map illustrates the battle routes for the liberation of North Africa from the Nazis.




Tunis was liberated May 7, 1943; six days later, the battle for Tunisia was over.
(Reexamining The Wannsee Conference, Himmler's Appointments Book, at: http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/s/shaked-edith/re-examining-wannsee.html)
Courtesy of: "Encyclopedia of the Holocaust" ©1990 New York, NY 10022

For the extermination of the Jews to occur, 4 principal factors were necessarily involved:
1. The Nazis -the leadership, Hitler- had to decide to implement the annihilation
2. They had to gain control over the Jews - over the territory in which they resided
3. They had to organize the killing and devote to its sufficient resources
4. They had to induce a large number of people to carry out the killings.

In Tunisia, the Nazi regime and leadership could not implement the 2 last phases. The situation of Tunisian Jewry would undoubtedly have become even worse had the Germans stayed on.
“The Nazi regime could not implement in Tunisia the ‘Final Solution’ as decided to the Jewish Question. “The situation of Tunisian Jews under their brief German occupation brings forth much insight backing the conclusions brought to light by Holocaust research. Thus even though ... that the fate the Germans planned for the Jews of the regency was like the one they had meted out to Jews elsewhere, it is nonetheless clear that the Nazi ‘death machine’ did not encounter in North Africa conditions favorable to its functioning. This then proves that, when submitted to Allied attacks and unable to obtain collaboration and secrecy necessary for the execution of their plans, the Germans acted like vultures with broken wings, falling haphazardly on their prey.”23

Jan. 23, 1943 Tripoli in Libya (30,000 Jews) North African colony, was liberated; end of Italian rule in Libya, and all the racist legislation was rescinded.

By May 1943, Germans & Italians defeated in NA. Allies in control of North Africa - Axis forces surrender. British-American victories gave Allies a springboard for Italian campaign/invading southern Europe.

July 1943: In Western Europe,
after securing North Africa, the Allies seeking complete control of the Mediterranean, invaded Sicily in July 1943, & conquered it. Mussolini’s fellow Fascist leaders turned against him, & the king dismissed him as Prime Minister. -fall of Mussolini & fascist regime. In September, the new government surrendered to the Allied, asked for armistice; and in the following months Italy declared war on Germany.

The fighting continued as the Germans seized Rome & northern Italy, and would last until the very end of the war. Captured by Italian partisans, Mussolini was executed (April 28, 1945).

Conclusion

‘The organization of the plan to murder the Jews was anything but random. It involved the bureaucracies of Germany & the occupied territories. The administrative hand of Adolf Eichmann was present in every country where the Germans were able to deport Jews, and he was aided by collaborationist governments that placed their bureaucracies at his disposal.

The death camps were similarly organized. Little was left to chance, The killing process at Auschwitz and the other extermination camps was run on principles of management that would have rivaled the most efficient factories in terms of productivity. Ideological fervor and a bureaucratic ethos committed to fulfilling its task at all cost combined to make genocide possible even after it was apparent that the war was lost.”24

Ultimately, the Nazis were responsible for the deaths of some 2.7 million Jews in the death camps. These murders were done secretly under the ruse of resettlement. Thus did millions of Jews go unwittingly to their deaths with little or no resistance.

The total figure for the Jewish genocide, including shootings & the camps, was between 5.2 & 5.8 million, roughly half of Europe's Jewish population, the highest percentage of loss of any people in the war;
Jews were killed for no other reason than the fact that they were Jews.

About 5.5 million other non-Jewish victims perished at the hands of Nazi Germany. The process was rationalized, however, by the Nazi ideology of racial superiority/inferiority. These ideas were given official legal sanction in the Nuremberg Laws (1935). Combined with Hitler's quest for lebensraum, "living space," and his goals of world domination, and with World War II as a cover, the Nazi regime was able to carry out the greatest crime in human history.

==========================


June 22, 1941 Germany invasion of the Soviet Union
July 31, 1941 Goring instruct Heydrick to prepare for ‘Final Solution
Sept. 3 - the 1st gassing experiment - test use of Zyklon-B gas, at Auschwitz

Sept. 17, beginning of general deportation of German Jews
Sept. 19, Nazis take Kiev

Sept. 28/29, SS Einsatzgruppen murder 34,000 Jews at Babi Yar outside Kiev

Oct. 1, - All Jewish emigration was halted.
Oct. 8, Auschwitz II (Birkenau), established for the extermination of Jews; Gypsies,
Poles, Russians, and others were also murdered at the camp
Oct. 14, Mass deportation to concentration camps of Jews from all over
Nazi-controlled Europe began.
Oct, transports of German Jews to the Lodz & Warsaw ghettos, Riga, Kovno, & Minsk
Oct. 23, Nazis forbid emigration of Jews from the Reich


*Oct. 23, S.S. head H. Himmler issued order -deportation
of Jews to camps & ghettos

Dec. 7 Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Next day, the US & Britain declare war on Japan

Dec. 8, 1941 - Chelmno (Kulmhof) death camp on Ner River, Poland begins operations:

1st gassing took place; 340,000 Jews, 20,000 Poles and Czechs murdered by April 1943

Dec. 8 - 27,000 were massacred in Riga.
Dec. 11, Germany declared war on the US. Roosevelt declares war on Germany
Dec. 12, the ship ‘Struma’ leaves Rumania for Palestine carrying 769 Jews but is later denied
permission by British authorities to allow the passengers to disembark.

1942, Jan liquidation of the Lodz ghetto; Jews transported to Chelmo death camp
Mass killings of Jews using Zyklon-B begin at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Bunker I
Jan 20, Wannsee Conference in Berlin
: Heydrich outlines plan to murder Jews
March 3, Under the War Relocation Authority, directed by Dillon S. Meyer, the US ‘interns’
110,000 Japanese-Americans in ‘detention centers’ for the duration of the war
Mar 17, Extermination begins in Belzec; by end of 1942, 600,000 Jews murdered
deportation of Jews from Lublin to Belzec; Slovak & French Jews to Auschwitz
May extermination by gas begins in Sobibor center; by Oct. ‘43, 250,000 Jews murdered
May 20, ‘American Negroes’ are allowed into a segregated US army to fight in WWII
1942 - Himmler orders the ghettos to be liquidated
May 18, the New York Times reports that Nazis have machine-gunned over 100,000 Jews
in the Baltic states; 100,000 in Poland & twice as many in western Russia
June, Jewish partisan units established in the forests of Byelorussia and the Baltic States
Jun. 1, extermination camp at Treblinka was opened
Jews in France, Holland, Belgium, Croatia, Slovakia, Rumania ordered to wear yellow stars
Jun 4, Heydrich dies of wounds received in assassination attempt by Free Czech agents
Jun 10, Nazis liquidate Lidice in retaliation for Heydrich’s death
June, Jewish partisan units established in the forests of Byelorussia and the Baltic States
June - Cracow ghetto, site of Oscar Schindler’s heroic rescue of more than 1000 Jews, of
‘Schindler’s List,’ saw 3 separate selection of Jews, 5000 of whom were who sent to Belzec
June 30 & Jul 2, the NY Times reports via the London Daily Telegraph that
over 1,000,000 Jews have already been killed by Nazis
Jul 7 Himmler grants permission for sterilization experiments at Auschwitz
July 16/17 12,887 Parisian Jews rounded up & sent to Drancy;
total: 74 000, 11,000 children
July 19, Himmler orders Operation Reinhard, mass deportations of Jews in Poland
to death camps
Jul 21, liquidation of ghettos begins at Niesweiz, Poland, & spread to other ghettos
Jul 22, Germans establish Treblinka concentration camp
Jul 22-sept. 12, destruction of the Warsaw ghetto; 350,000 Jews transported to death camps

Aug 23, beginning of German army attack on Stalingrad
Aug. Majdanek begins operation as a death camp
Summer, -Deportation of Jews to killing centers from Belgium, Croatia, France, Netherlands,
Poland; armed resistance by Jews in ghettos of Kletzk, Kremenets, Lachva, Mir, Tuchin
Sept 26, SS begin cashing in possessions & valuables of Jews from Auschwitz & Majdanek
Oct 17, the Allies pledged to punish the Germans for their policy of genocide
Oct 25, deportations of Jews from Norway to Auschwitz begin
Winter, -Deportation of Jews from Germany, Greece and Norway to killing centers;
Jewish partisan movement organized in forests near Lublin
Nov. 8, 1942, Anglo-American forces liberate Algeria & morocco; liberation
8th Nov. 1942, Anglo-American Landings In North Africa, liberation
9th Nov. 1942-May 13, 1943; Germany occupation of Tunisia
Dec 17, British Foreign Secretary Eden tells the British House of commons the Nazis are
‘now carrying into effect Hitler’s often repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people...
Dec. 28 sterilization experiments on women at Birkenau begin


1943 Jan. German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad
Jan 18, first resistance by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto
Jan 29, Nazis order all Gypsies arrested & sent to extermination camps
Feb 2, Germans surrender at Stalingrad in the 1st big defeat of Hitler’s armies
May 13, 1943, Germans & Italians defeated in North Africa
Mar 14, Liquidation of Kraków ghetto

June 11, Himmler orders the liquidation of all Jewish ghettos in Poland

VOCABULARY


Auschwitz - The most infamous and largest of the Nazi death camps, located near Cracow in Southwestern Poland. The camp was expanded in August, 1942. Camp II was named Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Babi Yar - An area in the Soviet Union near Kiev, where thousands of civilians, most of whom were Jews, were murdered by the Nazis.

Belzek, Death Camp located in the Lublin District of Poland. More than 600,000 Jews were gassed at Belzek between 1941 and 1943.

Chelmo, generally thought to be the first of the six death camps in Poland to become operational. At the beginning, the camp was under the direction of SS Major, Christian Wirth, formerly administrative head of the Euthanasie Programme. Located in the Wartheland. Between December 1941 and fall 1942 and again from May until August 1944 gassings by means of carbon monoxide from motor exhaust gas took place. Altogether more than 150,000 Jews as well as 5000 gypsies died at Chelmo.

Concentration Camp: Any internment camp for holding "enemies of the Third Reich." The construction of concentration camps began almost immediately after Hitler gained power in Germany. There were several kinds: labor camps, prison camps and death camps.


crematorium - An oven where the bodies of newly murdered prisoners of camps, and those who died from other causes, were incinerated.

Dachau,a concentration camp located in Upper Bavaria, northeast of Munich. In 1942 a gas chamber was established at in connection with the medical experiments of the chief company commander of SS Dr. Rascher also a few experimental gassings were undertaken.


Death Camps, or Killing Centers, a concentration camp, in mostly rural areas, the distinct purpose of which was the extermination of its inmates -for mass murder. Almost all of the German death camps were located in Poland: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzek, Chelmo, Madjanek, Sobibor, Treblinka. Maidanek, Chelmno and Belzec) were established solely for the extermination of Jews.


Einsatzgruppen - "Special Action Squads" of the S.S. which had as their mission to seek out and murder Jews, Communists and Gypsies.

extermination - Mass murder, in the context of the killing of Jews in a manner which would be no less heinous than the killing of insects.

Final Solution - The term used by the Nazis to describe their program of mass murder of the Jewish people.

gas chamber - Rooms constructed to be air-tight so that poison gas introduced into the room would kill large numbers of people.

Gypsies - A dark-skinned, Caucasian ethnic group with origins in India who had, in many cases in Europe, a migratory way of life.

Kapos - Prisoners, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who served in the death camps as overseers of other prisoners, and who often inflicted beatings and other physical pain on prisoners. Their tasks including transporting victims of gassing to the ovens, cleaning the gas chambers of human excrement and blood, removal of gold from the teeth of the victims, shaving the heads of those going to the gas chambers.


labor camp - A prison camp where the prisoners were used as slave labor for German industry and war machine.

tuberculosis - An infectious disease which can affect any organ, but particularly attacks the lungs.

typhus - Disease transmitted by lice or fleas which was epidemic in concentration camps.

Zyklon B - A cyanide gas developed to kill Jews at Auschwitz in a manner which was more efficient than using carbon monoxide gas.

Copyright Fall 1999, November 2003, January 2004 Edith Shaked
Credit/source: Gary M. Grobman, The Holocaust - A guide for Teachers, 1990
http://www.remember.org/guide/




Map. Europe during the furthest extent of Nazi conquest, before the defeat at Stalingrad & El Alemein 1942: http://mars.acnet.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/ww2/maps/map1942.html
Comment: Vichy, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria -in dark pink- were under Vichy France of Nazi collaborationist Petain.







Map of camps
http://www.mtsu.edu/~baustin/holocamp.html

see also Map of Eastern Europe, indicating locations of major Nazi concentration and death camps, at:
http://holocaust.about.com/education/holocaust/library/misc/blmap.htm




1 Marrus, Michael R. The Holocaust in History. Hanover, N.H.: University of New England Press, 1987

2 “The Holocaust and World War II,” in Lessons and Legacies, v. 2, p. 30

3 defining who is a survivor, in AMCHA on August 17, 1997

4 Commandant of Auschwitz: The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1959).

5 adapted from Michael R. Marrus

6 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, p. XXX

7 Yad Vashem, About the Holocaust - Shoah: http://www.yadvashem.org.il/holocaust/faq/index.html

8 Bauer interviewed by michael Dunn in 1993

9 Jack R. Fishel, The Holocaust, pp. 60-61

10 Jack R. Fishel, The Holocaust, p. 61

11 The Holocaust, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. Martyrs & Heroes Remembrance Authority, p. 50

12 The Holocaust, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. Martyrs & Heroes Remembrance Authority, p. 48

13 http://www.wiesenthal.com/resource/36quest1.htm#4. http URL: ap.19941102

14 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990, p. 20

15 Jacob Robinson, The Holocaust, p.22

16 from http://www.ushmm.org/education/history.html

17 The Holocaust, The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

18 1 Jack R. Fishel, The Holocaust, p. 81

19 Perry, Chase, Jacob, V. Laue. Western Civilization, Ideas, Politics & Society. Houghton ‘92

20 Perry, Chase, Jacob, V. Laue. Western Civilization, Ideas, Politics & Society. Houghton ‘92

21 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990

22 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990

23 M. Abitbol, The Jews of North Afica during the 2nd World War, Paris: G. -P. Maisonneuve, 1989, p. 168

24 Jack R. Fishel, The Holocaust, pp. 86-87


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