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the Final Solution & the Massacres of the Jews

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Sarah
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« on: February 09, 2007, 10:46:16 pm »

Majdanek

Majdanek is the site of a Nazi concentration and extermination camp, roughly 2.5 miles (four kilometers) away from the center of the Polish city Lublin. Unlike many other Nazi concentration and extermination camps, Majdanek is not hidden away in some remote forest or obscured from view by natural barriers, nor was it surrounded by a "security zone." It was established in October 1941, at Heinrich Himmler's orders, following his visit to Lublin in July 1941. Majdanek was an SS-run prisoner of war camp, under the command of Karl Otto Koch. In February 1943, it was turned into a concentration camp.

In October 1942, several female SS troopers arrived from the Ravensbruck camp in Germany, where they were trained. These women included Elsa Erich, Hermine Braunsteiner, Hildegard Lachert and Rosy Suess. Elisabeth Knoblich was one of the most ruthless overseers in the camp. She was so brutal and sadistic that even her fellow Aufseherinnen feared her and nicknamed her "Halt Die Klappe" (Shut Your Mouth!). When the Soviets liberated Majdanek, they found unending evidence that pointed to the ruthless attitude of the female overseers.

Death toll
 
Monument at Majdanek Memorial. It contains ashes of human bodies found around the concentration camp.Because of a lack of records, the death toll at Majdanek has always been more difficult to estimate than that of other extermination camps. The Soviets initially overestimated the number of deaths, claiming in July 29, 1944 that there were no less than 400,000 Jewish victims, and the official Soviet count was of 1,500,000 victims of different nationalities, though this estimate was never taken seriously by scholars. In 1961l Raul Hilberg estimated the number of the Jewish victims as 50,000, though other sources (including the camp museum) officially estimated 100,000 Jewish victims and up to 200,000 non-Jews killed.

The most recent research by the Head of Scientific Department at Majdanek Museum, historian Tomasz Kranz indicates that there were 78,000 victims, 59,000 of whom were Jews[1].
The differences in various estimates stem from different methods used for estimation and the amounts of evidence available to the researchers. The Soviet figures relied on the most crude methodology, also used to make early Auschwitz estimates - it was assumed that the number of victims more or less corresponded to the crematoria capacities. Later researchers tried to take much more evidence into account, using records of deportations and population censuses, as well as the Nazis own records. Hilberg's 1961 estimate, using these records, aligns closely with Kranz's report.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majdanek
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