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the Final Solution & the Massacres of the Jews

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Author Topic: the Final Solution & the Massacres of the Jews  (Read 780 times)
Sarah
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2007, 10:49:19 pm »

Holocaust Death marches

The death marches refer to the forcible movement in the winter of 1944-5 by Nazi Germany of thousands of prisoners, mostly Jews, from German concentration camps near the war front to camps inside Germany. Later the term "death march" was applied to similar events elsewhere.

Toward the end of World War II in 1944, as The United States, Britain, and Canada moved in on the concentration camps from the west, the Soviet Union was advancing from the east. The Germans decided to abandon the camps, moving or destroying evidence of the atrocities they had committed there.

Prisoners, already sick after months or years of violence and starvation, were marched for tens of miles in the snow to train stations; then transported for days at a time without food or shelter in freight trains with open carriages; and forced to march again at the other end to the new camp. Prisoners who lagged behind or fell were shot.

The largest and best known of the death marches took place in January 1945, when the Soviet army advanced on Poland. Nine days before the Soviets arrived at the death camp at Auschwitz, the Germans marched 60,000 prisoners out of the camp toward Wodzislaw, thirty-five miles away, where they were put on freight trains to other camps. Around 15,000 died on the way.

The Germans killed large numbers of prisoners before, during, or after death marches. Seven hundred prisoners were killed during one ten-day march of 7,000 Jews, including 6,000 women, who were being moved from camps in the Gdansk region, which is bordered on the north by the Baltic Sea. Those still alive when the marchers reached the coast were forced into the sea and shot.

Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, was forced on a death march, along with his father, Shlomo, from Auschwitz to Buchenwald, which he describes in his 1958 novel Night.
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"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand fail..." - King David, Psalms 137:5

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