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extermination camp
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{{short description|Nazi death camps established during World War II to primarily murder Jews}}{{Use dmy dates|date=December 2017}}{{use British English|date=December 2017}}{{not to be confused with|concentration camp}}







factoids
Nazi Germany built extermination camps (also called death camps or killing centers) during the Holocaust in World War II, to systematically murder millions of Jews. Others were murdered at the death camps as well, including Poles, homosexuals, Soviet POWs, and Roma. The victims of death camps were primarily killed by gassing, either in permanent installations constructed for this specific purpose, or by means of gas vans.{{r|YV-H}} Some Nazi camps, such as Auschwitz and Majdanek, served a dual purpose before the end of the war in 1945: extermination by poison gas, but also through extreme work under starvation conditions.WEB, Yad Vashem, The Implementation of the Final Solution: The Death Camps, The Holocaust, Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, 2012,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20131104111022weblink">weblink dead, 2013-11-04, Internet Archive, 4 November 2013, dmy-all, Yad Vashem, Also in: JOURNAL, Forced and Slave Labor in Nazi-Dominated Europe,weblink Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2004, Jewish Forced Labor as a Basic Element of Nazi Persecution: Germany, Austria, and the Occupied Polish Territories (1938–1943), Wolf Gruner, 43–44, BOOK, Robert Gellately, Nathan Stoltzfus, Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany, 2001, Princeton University Press, 978-0-691-08684-2, 216,weblink The idea of mass extermination with the use of stationary facilities to which the victims were taken by train, was the result of earlier Nazi experimentation with chemically manufactured poison gas during the secretive Aktion T4 euthanasia programme against hospital patients with mental and physical disabilities.WEB,weblink Gassing Operations, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, 20 June 2014, 25 January 2015, Holocaust Encyclopedia, {{efn|The development of homicidal gas chambers is attributed by historians to Dr Albert Widmann, chief chemist of the German Criminal Police (Kripo).BOOK,weblink The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942, U of Nebraska Press, Germany and Europe, 2007, 16 September 2015, Christopher R. Browning, 188–189, 978-0-8032-0392-1, Christopher R. Browning, The first gas van manufactured in Berlin, was used by the Lange Commando between 21 May and 8 June 1940 at the Soldau concentration camp in occupied Poland, to kill 1,558 mental patients delivered from sanatoria.JOURNAL, The Simon Wiesenthal Center,weblink Responses to Revisionist Arguments, 2006, 14 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170403232419weblink">weblink 3 April 2017, dead, JOURNAL, Jewish Virtual Library,weblink The Development of the Gas-Van in the Murdering of the Jews, 2006, Lange used his experience with exhaust gasses in setting up the Chelmno extermination camp thereafter.BOOK, Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp, 2011,weblink W. W. Norton & Company, Christopher R. Browning, 53–54, 978-0393338874, Christopher R. Browning, Widmann conducted first gassing experiments in the East in September 1941 in Mogilev, and successfully initiated the killing of local hospital patients with the exhaust fumes from a truck engine, minimizing the psychological impact of the crime on the Einsatzgruppe.BOOK,weblink 53, 148, Auschwitz: A New History, Laurence Rees, Public Affairs, 2006, 9781586483579, }} The technology was adapted, expanded, and applied in wartime to unsuspecting victims of many ethnic and national groups; the Jews were the primary target, accounting for over 90 percent of the extermination camp death toll.WEB, The Ten Worst Nazi Concentration Camps, Shahan, Russell,weblink WarHistoryOnline.com, 12 October 2015, The genocide of the Jews of Europe was the Third Reich's "Final Solution to the Jewish question"." Die Endlösung der Judenfrage" â€“ Adolf Hitler (In English, "The final solution of the Jewish problem"). Furet, François. Unanswered Questions: Nazi Germany and the Genocide of the Jews. Schocken Books (1989), p. 182; {{ISBN|978-0-8052-4051-1}} It is now collectively known as the Holocaust, during which 11 million others were also murdered. Doris Bergen, Germany and the Camp System, part of Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State, Community Television of Southern California, 2004–2005.Extermination camps were also set up by the fascist UstaÅ¡e regime of the Independent State of Croatia, a puppet state of Germany, which carried out genocide between 1941 and 1945 against Serbs, Jews, Roma and its Croat and Bosniak Muslim political opponents.WEB, Holocaust Encyclopedia, It is presently estimated that the UstaÅ¡a regime murdered between 77,000 and 99,000 people in Jasenovac between 1941 and 1945.,weblink United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, 4 February 2016, The Jasenovac camp complex,

Background {| class"infobox" style"width:310px"

border=no width=300 |height=247legend1start=1 overlay1top=170 overlay2=Crematorium II overlay2left=255 overlay3top=220 |overlay3left=250 }}U.S. aerial photograph of Auschwitz II Birkenau{{see also|Nisko Plan}}After the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the secret Aktion T4 euthanasia programme â€“ the systematic murder of German, Austrian and Polish hospital patients with mental or physical disabilities â€“ was initiated by the SS in order to eliminate "life unworthy of life" (), a Nazi designation for people who had no right to life.BOOK, Michael Burleigh, 1994,weblink Death and Deliverance: 'Euthanasia' in Germany, c. 1900 to 1945, CUP Archive, 0-521-47769-7, WEB,weblink Otwock & the Zofiowka Sanatorium: A Refuge from Hell, Webb, Chris, 2009, Holocaust Research Project, Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team, Internet Archive, unfit,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110711142224weblink">weblink 11 July 2011, In 1941, the experience gained in the secretive killing of these hospital patients led to the creation of extermination camps for the implementation of the Final Solution. By then, the Jews were already confined to new ghettos and interned in Nazi concentration camps along with other targeted groups, including Roma, and the Soviet POWs. The Nazi Endlösung der Judenfrage (The Final Solution of the Jewish Question), based on the systematic killing of Europe's Jews by gassing, began during Operation Reinhard,WEB,weblink Aktion Reinhard, Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies, 2013, 15 September 2015, Yad Vashem, Document size 33.1 KB, after the onset of the Nazi-Soviet war of June 1941. The adoption of the gassing technology by Nazi Germany was preceded by a wave of hands-on killings carried out by the SS Einsatzgruppen,BOOK, Longerich, Peter, Peter Longerich, Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews, 2010, Oxford University Press, Oxford; New York, 978-0-19-280436-5, harv, 185, who followed the Wehrmacht army during Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front.BOOK,weblink Nazi Germany And The Jews, 1933–1945, HarperCollins Publishers, February 2009, Saul Friedländer, 293–294 / 507, 978-0-06-177730-1, Abridged, Saul Friedländer, The camps designed specifically for the mass gassings of Jews were established in the months following the Wannsee Conference chaired by Reinhard Heydrich in January 1942 in which the principle was made clear that the Jews of Europe were to be exterminated. Responsibility for the logistics were to be executed by the programme administrator, Adolf Eichmann.WEB,weblink Wannsee Protocol of January 20, 1942, The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes. Vol. 11, The official U.S. government translation prepared for evidence in trials at Nuremberg, 1945, 15 September 2015, John Mendelsohn, ed., On 13 October 1941, the SS and Police Leader Odilo Globocnik stationing in Lublin received an oral order from Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler â€“ anticipating the fall of Moscow â€“ to start immediate construction work on the killing centre at Bełżec in the General Government territory of occupied Poland. Notably, the order preceded the Wannsee Conference by three months,{{citation |trans-title=Historia Niemieckiego Obozu ZagÅ‚ady w Bełżcu |title=History of the Belzec extermination camp |publisher=Muzeum - Miejsce PamiÄ™ci w Bełżcu (National Bełżec Museum & Monument of Martyrdom) |url=http://www.belzec.eu/articles.php?acid=77 |language=Polish |accessdate=15 September 2015 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20151029003413weblink |archivedate=29 October 2015 }} but the gassings at Kulmhof north of Łódź using gas vans began already in December, under Sturmbannführer Herbert Lange.BOOK,weblink Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp, W. W. Norton & Company, b, 2011, 28 June 2015, Christopher R. Browning, 54, 65, 978-0-393-33887-4, Christopher R. Browning, The camp at Bełżec was operational by March 1942, with leadership brought in from Germany under the guise of Organisation Todt (OT). By mid-1942, two more death camps had been built on Polish lands for Operation Reinhard: Sobibór (ready in May 1942) under the command of Hauptsturmführer Franz Stangl, and Treblinka (operational by July 1942) under Obersturmführer Irmfried Eberl from T4, the only doctor to have served in such a capacity.WEB,weblink The Construction of the Treblinka Extermination Camp, Jewish Virtual Library.org, Yad Vashem Studies, XVI, 1984, 15 September 2015, Kenneth McVay, Also in: JOURNAL,weblink Dr. Irmfried Eberl (1910–1948): mass murdering MD, IMAJ, 11, 216–218, April 2009, Rael D. Strous MD, 6 October 2015, Auschwitz concentration camp was fitted with brand new gassing bunkers in March 1942.BOOK, Rees, Laurence, Laurence Rees, Auschwitz: A New History, 2005, Public Affairs, New York, 1-58648-303-X, harv, 96–97,weblink Majdanek had them built in September.BOOK, Sereny, Gitta, Gitta Sereny, The Healing Wound: Experiences and Reflections on Germany 1938–1941, 135–46, Norton, 2001, 978-0-393-04428-7,weblink

Definition

File:Auschwitz Resistance 280 cropped.jpg|thumb|Members of the (Sonderkommando]] burned the bodies of victims in the fire pits at Auschwitz II-Birkenau, when the crematoria were overloaded.Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in OÅ›wiÄ™cim, Poland {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20081210022111weblink |date=10 December 2008 }}.{{Dead link|date=February 2019}})The Nazis distinguished between extermination and concentration camps, although the terms extermination camp (Vernichtungslager) and death camp (Todeslager) were interchangeable, each referring to camps whose primary function was genocide. Todeslagers were designed specifically for the systematic killing of people delivered en masse by the Holocaust trains. The executioners did not expect the prisoners to survive more than a few hours beyond arrival at Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka.BOOK, A New Illustrated History of the Nazis, Rare Photographs of the Third Reich, Minerbi, Alessandra, 2005, 2002, David & Charles, UK, 168–,weblink 0-7153-2101-3, The Reinhard extermination camps were under Globocnik's direct command; each of them was run by 20 to 35 men from the SS-Totenkopfverbände branch of the Schutzstaffel, augmented by about one hundred Trawnikis â€“ auxiliaries mostly from Soviet Ukraine, and up to one thousand Sonderkommando slave labourers each.BOOK,weblink Police Auxiliaries for Operation Reinhard, Black, Peter R., Bankir, David, Enigma Books, Secret Intelligence and the Holocaust, 2006, 331–348, 1-929631-60-X, Google Books, The Jewish men, women and children were delivered from the ghettos for "special treatment" in an atmosphere of terror by uniformed police battalions from both, Orpo and Schupo.BOOK, The SS: Hitler's Instrument of Terror, Gordon Williamson,weblink 101, Zenith Imprint, 2004, 0-7603-1933-2, Death camps differed from concentration camps located in Germany proper, such as Bergen-Belsen, Oranienburg, Ravensbrück, and Sachsenhausen, which were prison camps set up prior to World War II for people defined as 'undesirable'. From March 1936, all Nazi concentration camps were managed by the SS-Totenkopfverbände (the Skull Units, SS-TV), who operated extermination camps from 1941 as well.BOOK,weblink The Waffen SS, SS-Totenkopfverbände, George H. Stein, 7 October 2015, 9, 20–33, 0-8014-9275-0, 1984, An SS anatomist, Dr. Johann Kremer, after witnessing the gassing of victims at Birkenau, wrote in his diary on 2 September 1942: "Dante's Inferno seems to me almost a comedy compared to this. They don't call Auschwitz the camp of annihilation for nothing!"WEB,weblink Diary of Johann Paul Kremer (September 5, 1942), Holocaust-history.org, 2 March 1999, 27 August 2013, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080514183659weblink">weblink 14 May 2008, The distinction was evident during the Nuremberg trials, when Dieter Wisliceny (a deputy to Adolf Eichmann) was asked to name the extermination camps, and he identified Auschwitz and Majdanek as such. Then, when asked, "How do you classify the camps Mauthausen, Dachau, and Buchenwald?", he replied, "They were normal concentration camps, from the point of view of the department of Eichmann."Overy, Richard. Interrogations, p. 356–357. Penguin 2002. {{ISBN|978-0-14-028454-6}}(File:WW2-Holocaust-Europe.png|thumb|upright=1.2|Mass deportations: the pan-European routes to the extermination camps)Irrespective of round-ups for extermination camps, the Nazis abducted millions of foreigners for slave labour in other types of camps,BOOK,weblink Forced Labour under Third Reich - Part 1, Nathan Associates, Introduction, 2006, 7 October 2015, John C. Beyer; Stephen A. Schneider, 3–17, Number of foreign laborers employed as of January 1944 (excluding those already dead): total of 3,795,000. From Poland: 1,400,000 (survival rate 25.2); from the Soviet Union: 2,165,000 (survival rate 27.7) Table 5., dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150824092603weblink">weblink 24 August 2015, dmy-all, which provided perfect cover for the extermination programme.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110604024311weblink">weblink dead, 4 June 2011, Hitler's Foreign Workers: Enforced Foreign Labor in Germany under the Third Reich, Cambridge University Press, The Army of Millions of the Modern Slave State (extract), 1997, Ulrich, Herbert, Univ of the West of England, Faculty of Humanities; compiled by Dr S.D. Stein, Prisoners represented about a quarter of the total workforce of the Reich, with mortality rates exceeding 75 percent due to starvation, disease, exhaustion, executions, and physical brutality.

History

In the early years of World War II, the Jews were primarily sent to forced labour camps and ghettoised, but from 1942 onward they were deported to the extermination camps under the guise of "resettlement". For political and logistical reasons, the most infamous Nazi German killing factories were built in occupied Poland, where most of the intended victims lived; Poland had the greatest Jewish population in Nazi-controlled Europe."The evacuation of Jews to Poland", ''Jewish Virtual Library.'.' Retrieved 28 July 2009. On top of that, the new death camps outside the prewar borders of the Third Reich proper could be kept secret from the German civil populace.BOOK, Ellen Land-Weber, Ellen, Land-Weber,weblink Conditions for Polish Jews During WWII, To Save a Life: Stories of Holocaust Rescue, 26 October 2004,

Pure extermination camps

File:Children headed for deportation.JPG|thumb|left|Jewish children during deportation to the CheÅ‚mno extermination campCheÅ‚mno extermination campDuring the initial phase of the Final Solution, gas vans producing poisonous exhaust fumes were developed in the occupied Soviet Union (USSR) and at the CheÅ‚mno extermination camp in occupied Poland, before being used elsewhere. The killing method was based on experience gained by the SS during the secretive Aktion T4 programme of involuntary euthanasia. There were two types of death chambers operating during the Holocaust.Unlike at Auschwitz, where the cyanide-based Zyklon-B was used to exterminate trainloads of prisoners under the guise of "relocation", the camps at Treblinka, Bełżec, and Sobibór, built during Operation Reinhard (October 1941 â€“ November 1943), used lethal exhaust fumes produced by large internal combustion engines. The three killing centres of Einsatz Reinhard were constructed predominantly for the extermination of Poland's Jews trapped in the Nazi ghettos.WEB,weblink Ghettos, encyclopedia.ushmm.org, At first, the victim's bodies were buried with the use of crawler excavators, but they were later exhumed and incinerated in open-air pyres to hide the evidence of genocide in what became known as Sonderaktion 1005.BOOK, Desbois, Patrick, The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest's Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews, August 19, 2008, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, N.Y., 978-0-2305-9456-2, 170, English, Operation 1005, BOOK,weblink Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, 152–153, Yitzhak Arad, Yitzhak, Arad, Indiana University Press, 1999, 978-0-253-21305-1, Whereas the Auschwitz II (Auschwitz–Birkenau) and Majdanek camps were parts of a labor camp complex, the CheÅ‚mno and Operation Reinhard death camps were built exclusively for the rapid extermination of entire communities of people (primarily Jews) within hours of their arrival. All were constructed near branch lines that linked to the Polish railway system, with staff members transferring between locations. These camps had almost identical design: they were several hundred metres in length and width, and were equipped with only minimal staff housing and support installations not meant for the unlucky hordes crammed into the railway transports.Arad 1999, p. 37.WEB,weblink Aktion Reinhard: Belzec, Sobibor & Treblinka,
The Nazis deceived the victims upon their arrival, telling them that they were at a temporary transit stop, and would soon continue to German Arbeitslagers (work camps) farther to the east.WEB,weblink Deportation and transportation, London Jewish Cultural Centre, The Holocaust Explained, 2011, 5 August 2016, Internet Archive, bot: unknown,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150113195832weblink">weblink 13 January 2015, Selected able-bodied prisoners delivered to the death camps were not immediately killed, but instead were pressed into labor units called Sonderkommandos to help with the extermination process by removing corpses from the gas chambers and burning them.

Concentration and extermination camps

File:Auschwitz Resistance 282 cropped.JPG|thumb|right|March to the gas chambers, one of Sonderkommando photographs taken secretly at Auschwitz IIAuschwitz IIAt the camps of Operation Reinhard, including Bełżec, Sobibór, and Treblinka, trainloads of prisoners were destined for immediate death in gas chambers designed exclusively for that purpose. The mass killing facilities were developed at about the same time inside the Auschwitz II-Birkenau subcamp of a forced labour complex,{{Citation |ref=harv |last=Grossman |first=Vasily |authorlink=Vasily Grossman |year=1946 |title=The Treblinka Hell |trans-title=Треблинский ад |url=http://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/essays/grossmantreblinka46.pdf |publisher=Foreign Languages Publishing House |at=(online version) |location=Moscow |quote=original in Russian: Гроссман В.С., Повести, рассказы, очерки [Stories, Journalism, and Essays], Воениздат 1958. |via=direct download 2.14 MB |accessdate=5 October 2014 |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20141006123821weblink |archive-date=6 October 2014 |url-status=dead }} and at the Majdanek concentration camp. In most other camps prisoners were selected for slave labor first; they were kept alive on starvation rations and made available to work as required. Auschwitz, Majdanek, and Jasenovac were retrofitted with Zyklon-B gas chambers and crematoria buildings as the time went on, remaining operational until war's end in 1945.M. Lifshitz, "Zionism" (משה ליפשיץ, "ציונות") p. 304. Compare with H. Abraham, "History of Israel and the nations in the era of Holocaust and uprising (חדד אברהם, "תולדות ישראל והעמים בתקופת השואה והתקומה")" The Maly Trostenets extermination camp in the USSR initially operated as a prison camp. It became an extermination camp later in the war with victims undergoing mass shootings. This was supplemented with gassings in a van by exhaust fumes from October 1943.The Sajmište concentration camp operated by the Nazis in Yugoslavia had a gas van stationed for use from March to June 1942. Once the industrial killings were completed, the van was returned to Berlin. After a refit the van was then sent to Maly Trostinets for use at the camp there. The Janowska concentration camp near Lwow (now Lviv) in occupied eastern Poland implemented a selection process. Some prisoners were assigned to work before death. Others were either transported to Bełżec or victims of mass shootings on two slopes in the Piaski sand-hills behind the camp.

Other means of extermination

File:Adolf Hitler meets Ante Pavelić.1941.jpg|thumb|Germany's Führer Adolf Hitler (left) with Ustaše Poglavnik Ante Pavelić (right) at the Berghof outside BerchtesgadenBerchtesgadenWith the support of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was established on 10 April 1941, and adopted parallel racial and political doctrines. Death camps were established by the fascist Ustaše government for contributing to the Nazi "final solution" to the "Jewish problem", the killing of Roma people, and the elimination of political opponents, but most significantly to achieve the destruction of the Serbian population of the NDH.BOOK, Serbian 'holocaust' in: The Jasenovac debate, The Past in Exile, Dr. Birgit Bock-Luna, 155, Note 102,weblink LIT Verlag Münster, 2007, 978-3-8258-9752-9, The numbers of the dead vary greatly and are itself at the core of the debate about the Second World War. Whereas some authors argue that between 800,000 and one million Serbs died at the hands of the Croat Ustase and its Muslim allies, others estimate a total of 487,000 murdered Serbs. On the other hand Franjo Tudjman defends the number of only 50,000. Clearly, the 'number game' was of major significance during the wars in the 1990s., The Holocaust Encyclopedia currently estimates that the Ustaša regime murdered between 77,000 and 99,000 people. See also: Genocide and Fascism; The Eliminationist Drive in Fascist Europe by Aristotle Kallis, Routledge, New York, NY 2009, pages 236–244.M. Shelach (ed.), "History of the holocaust: Yugoslavia". The degree of cruelty with which the Serb population was persecuted by Ustaše men shocked even the Germans.{{sfn|Cox|2007|p=225}}"Nazi Collaborators", Yesterday TV, UK, 12.00, 11 January 2014.The Jadovno concentration camp was located in a secluded area about {{convert|20|km}} from the town of Gospić. It held thousands of Serbs and Jews over a period of 122 days from May to August 1941. Prisoners were usually but not exclusively killed by being pushed into deep ravines located near the camp.BOOK, Tomasevich, Jozo, Jozo Tomasevich, 2001, War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941–1945: Occupation and Collaboration, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 978-0-8047-3615-2,weblink harv, The Jasenovac concentration camp complex of five sub-camps replaced Jadovno. Many inmates arriving at Jasenovac were scheduled for systematic extermination. An important criterion for selection was the duration of a prisoner's anticipated detention. Strong men who were capable of labour and sentenced to less than three years of incarceration were allowed to live. All inmates with indeterminate sentences or sentences of three years or more were immediately scheduled for execution, regardless of their level of fitness.State Commission, 1946, pp. 9–11, 46–47 Some of the mass executions were mechanical according to Nazi methodology. Others were performed manually with tools such as mallets and agricultural knives and these tools were often used to throw victims off the end of a ramp into the River Sava.

Extermination procedure

File:May 1944 - Jews from Carpathian Ruthenia arrive at Auschwitz-Birkenau.jpg|thumb|Carpathian Ruthenian Jews arrive at Auschwitz–Birkenau, May 1944. Without being registered to the camp system, most were killed in gas chambers hours after arriving (A photograph from a collection known as the Auschwitz AlbumAuschwitz AlbumHeinrich Himmler visited the outskirts of Minsk in 1941 to witness a mass shooting. He was told by the commanding officer there that the shootings were proving psychologically damaging to those being asked to pull the triggers. Thus Himmler knew another method of mass killing was required."Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution" Yesterday television channel, 18:00, 18 November 2013 After the war, the diary of the Auschwitz Commandant, Rudolf Höss, revealed that psychologically "unable to endure wading through blood any longer", many Einsatzkommandos â€“ the killers â€“ either went mad or killed themselves.Hoss {{sic}}, Rudolf (2005). "I, the Commandant of Auschwitz," in Lewis, Jon E. (ed.), True War Stories, p. 321. Carroll & Graf Publishers. {{ISBN|978-0-7867-1533-6}}.The Nazis had first used gassing with carbon monoxide cylinders to kill 70,000 disabled people in Germany in what they called a 'euthanasia programme' to disguise that mass murder was taking place. Despite the lethal effects of carbon monoxide, this was seen as unsuitable for use in the East due to the cost of transporting the carbon monoxide in cylinders.Each extermination camp operated differently, yet each had designs for quick and efficient industrialized killing. While Höss was away on an official journey in late August 1941 his deputy, Karl Fritzsch, tested out an idea. At Auschwitz clothes infested with lice were treated with crystallised prussic acid. The crystals were made to order by the IG Farben chemicals company for which the brand name was Zyklon-B. Once released from their container, Zyklon-B crystals in the air released a lethal cyanide gas. Fritzsch tried out the effect of Zyklon B on Soviet POWs, who were locked up in cells in the basement of the bunker for this experiment. Höss on his return was briefed and impressed with the results and this became the camp strategy for extermination as it was also to be at Majdanek. Besides gassing, the camp guards continued killing prisoners via mass shooting, starvation, torture, etc.BOOK, Borkin, Joseph, The Crime and Punishment of IG Farben,weblink registration, New York, Free Press, 1978, 978-0-02-904630-2,

Gassings

{{See also|The Holocaust#Gas chambers|Gas chamber#Nazi Germany|Criticism of Holocaust denial#Use of gas chambers}}SS Obersturmführer Kurt Gerstein, of the Institute for Hygiene of the Waffen-SS, told a Swedish diplomat during the war of life in a death camp. He recounted that, on 19 August 1942, he arrived at Belzec extermination camp (which was equipped with carbon monoxide gas chambers) and was shown the unloading of 45 train cars filled with 6,700 Jews, many already dead. The rest were marched naked to the gas chambers, where:}}File:Birkenau a group of Jews walking towards the gas chambers and crematoria.jpg|thumb|March of new arrivals along the SS barracks at Birkenau toward the gassing bunker near crematoria II and III, 27 May 1944. (a photograph from a collection known as the Auschwitz AlbumAuschwitz AlbumAuschwitz Camp Commandant Rudolf Höss reported that the first time Zyklon B pellets were used on the Jews, many suspected they were to be killed â€“ despite having been deceived into believing they were to be deloused and then returned to the camp.WEB,weblink At the Killing Centers, www.ushmm.org, en, 2018-03-02, As a result, the Nazis identified and isolated "difficult individuals" who might alert the prisoners, and removed them from the mass â€“ lest they incite revolt among the deceived majority of prisoners en route to the gas chambers. The "difficult" prisoners were led to a site out of view to be killed off discreetly.A prisoner Sonderkommando (Special Detachment) effected in the processes of extermination; they encouraged the Jews to undress without a hint of what was about to happen. They accompanied them into the gas chambers outfitted to appear as shower rooms (with nonworking water nozzles, and tile walls); and remained with the victims until just before the chamber door closed. To psychologically maintain the "calming effect" of the delousing deception, an SS man stood at the door until the end. The Sonderkommando talked to the victims about life in the camp to pacify the suspicious ones, and hurried them inside; to that effect, they also assisted the aged and the very young in undressing.Höss, pp. 164–165, 321–322.To further persuade the prisoners that nothing harmful was happening, the Sonderkommando deceived them with small talk about friends or relations who had arrived in earlier transports. Many young mothers hid their infants beneath their piled clothes fearing that the delousing "disinfectant" might harm them. Camp Commandant Höss reported that the "men of the Special Detachment were particularly on the look-out for this", and encouraged the women to take their children into the "shower room". Likewise, the Sonderkommando comforted older children who might cry "because of the strangeness of being undressed in this fashion".Höss, pp. 164–165, 322–323.Yet, not every prisoner was deceived by such psychological tactics; Commandant Höss spoke of Jews "who either guessed, or knew, what awaited them, nevertheless ... [they] found the courage to joke with the children, to encourage them, despite the mortal terror visible in their own eyes". Some women would suddenly "give the most terrible shrieks while undressing, or tear their hair, or scream like maniacs"; the Sonderkommando immediately took them away for execution by shooting.Höss, p. 323. In such circumstances, others, meaning to save themselves at the gas chamber's threshold, betrayed the identities and "revealed the addresses of those members of their race still in hiding".Höss, p. 324.Once the door of the filled gas chamber was sealed, pellets of Zyklon B were dropped through special holes in the roof. Regulations required that the Camp Commandant supervise the preparations, the gassing (through a peephole), and the aftermath looting of the corpses. Commandant Höss reported that the gassed victims "showed no signs of convulsion"; the Auschwitz camp physicians attributed that to the "paralyzing effect on the lungs" of the Zyklon-B gas, which killed before the victim began suffering convulsions.Höss, pp. 320, 328.{{multiple image | align=right | direction=horizontal| image1 = Remains of Crematorium II Birkenau.jpg| width1 = 210| caption1 = The remnants of "Crematorium II" used in Auschwitz-Birkenau between March 1943 and its destruction by the Schutzstaffel on 20 January 1945| image2 = Crematorium at Auschwitz I 2012.jpg| width2 = 230 PUBLISHER=UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM DATE=20 JUNE 2014 AUTHOR=HOLOCAUST ENCYCLOPEDIA, }}As a matter of political training, some high-ranked Nazi Party leaders and SS officers were sent to Auschwitz–Birkenau to witness the gassings; Höss reported that, "all were deeply impressed by what they saw ... [yet some] ... who had previously spoken most loudly, about the necessity for this extermination, fell silent once they had actually seen the 'final solution of the Jewish problem'." As the Auschwitz Camp Commandant Rudolf Höss justified the extermination by explaining the need for "the iron determination with which we must carry out Hitler's orders"; yet saw that even "[Adolf] Eichmann, who certainly [was] tough enough, had no wish to change places with me".Höss, p. 328.

Corpse disposal

After the gassings, the Sonderkommando removed the corpses from the gas chambers, then extracted any gold teeth. Initially, the victims were buried in mass graves, but were later cremated during Sonderaktion 1005 in all camps of Operation Reinhard.The Sonderkommando were responsible for burning the corpses in the pits, stoking the fires, draining surplus body fat and turning over the "mountain of burning corpses ... so that the draught might fan the flames" wrote Commandant Höss in his memoir while in the Polish custody.Höss 1959, p. 168. He was impressed by the diligence of prisoners from the so-called Special Detachment who carried out their duties despite their being well aware that they, too, would meet exactly the same fate in the end. At the Lazaret killing station they held the sick so they would never see the gun while being shot. They did it "in such a matter-of-course manner that they might, themselves, have been the exterminators" wrote Höss. He further said that the men ate and smoked "even when engaged in the grisly job of burning corpses which had been lying for some time in mass graves." They occasionally encountered the corpse of a relative, or saw them entering the gas chambers. According to Höss they were obviously shaken by this but "it never led to any incident." He mentioned the case of a Sonderkommando who found the body of his wife, yet continued to drag corpses along "as though nothing had happened."At Auschwitz, the corpses were incinerated in crematoria and the ashes either buried, scattered, or dumped in the river. At Sobibór, Treblinka, Bełżec, and CheÅ‚mno, the corpses were incinerated on pyres. The efficiency of industrialised killing at Auschwitz-Birkenau led to the construction of three buildings with crematoria designed by specialists from the firm J.A. Topf & Söhne. They burned bodies 24 hours a day, and yet the death rate was at times so high that corpses also needed to be burned in open-air pits.BOOK, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Berenbaum, Michael, Michael Berenbaum, Yisrael Gutman, 1998, Indiana University Press, 978-0-253-20884-2, 199,weblink

Ustaše camps

(File:Corpses in the Sava river, Jasenovac camp, 1945.jpg|thumb|upright|Jasenovac victims' bodies left without burial on the river Sava near Sisak, May 1945)The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC, presently estimates that the Ustaša regime in Croatia murdered between 77,000 and 99,000 people at the Jasenovac concentration camp between 1941 and 1945. The Jasenovac Memorial Site quotes a similar figure of between 80,000 and 100,000 victims.WEB, Official Website of the Jasenovac Memorial Site,weblink Jasenovac Memorial Site, An episode of the television documentary, "Nazi Collaborators" described the crimes of Dinko Sakic and stated that over 300,000 people were killed at Jasenovac. In Jasenovac the majority of victims were ethnic Serbs (as part of the Genocide of the Serbs);WEB, Concentration Camps: Jasenovac,weblink Jewish Virtual Library, others were Jews, Roma, and some political dissidents. The mechanical means of mass killing at Jasenovac initially included the use of gas vans and later Zyklon B in stationary gas chambers. The Jasenovac guards were also reported to have cremated living inmates in the crematorium. A notable difference with the Ustaše camps as compared to the German SS camps was the widespread use of manual methods in the mass killings. These involved instruments such as mallets and agricultural knives which were often used in a manner where victims were thrown off the end of a ramp into the Sava River while they were still alive .The estimates for the Jadovno concentration camp generally offer a range of 10,000 – 72,000 deaths at the camp over a period of 122 days (May to August 1941).US Holocaust Memorial Museum: Jasenovac {{webarchive |url=https://web.archive.org/web/20030802193350weblink |date=2 August 2003 }} Most commonly Jadovno victims were bound together in a line and the first few victims were murdered with rifle butts or other objects. Afterwards, an entire row of inmates were pushed into the ravine. Hand grenades were hurled inside in order to finish off the victims. Dogs would also be thrown in to feed on the wounded and the dead. Inmates were also killed by machine gunfire, as well as with knives and blunt objects.{{sfn|Mojzes|2011|p=60}}{{sfn|Mojzes|2009|p=160}}

Death toll

The estimated total number of people executed in the Nazi extermination camps in the table below is over three million:{| class="wikitable" style="font-size: 90%;"! Camp! Estimated deaths ! Operational! Occupied territory! Current country of location! Primary means for mass killingsAuschwitz–Birkenau}} 1,100,000 HTTP://WWW.USHMM.ORG/WLC/ARTICLE.PHP?LANG=EN&MODULEID=10005189 >AUTHOR=USHMM.ORG QUOTE=IT IS ESTIMATED THAT THE SS AND POLICE DEPORTED AT A MINIMUM 1.3 MILLION PEOPLE TO AUSCHWITZ COMPLEX BETWEEN 1940 AND 1945. OF THESE, THE CAMP AUTHORITIES MURDERED 1.1 MILLION." (NUMBER INCLUDES VICTIMS KILLED IN OTHER AUSCHWITZ CAMPS.) ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20100131012158/HTTP://WWW.USHMM.ORG/WLC/ARTICLE.PHP?LANG=EN&MODULEID=10005189, 31 January 2010, | May 1940 – January 1945| Province of Upper Silesia| Poland| Zyklon B gas chambersTreblinka extermination camp>Treblinka 800,000 The Höfle Telegram indicates some 700,000 killed by 31 December 1942, yet the camp functioned until 1943, hence the true deaths total likely is greater. HTTP://WWW.NIZKOR.ORG/FAQS/REINHARD/REINHARD-FAQ-13.HTML >TITLE=REINHARD: TREBLINKA DEPORTATIONS ACCESSDATE=20 DECEMBER 2012, | 23 July 1942 â€“ 19 October 1943| General Government district| Poland| Carbon monoxide gas chambersBełżec extermination camp>Bełżec 600,000 HTTP://WWW.USHMM.ORG/WLC/ARTICLE.PHP?LANG=EN&MODULEID=10005191 >AUTHOR=USHMM.ORG QUOTE=BETWEEN MARCH AND DECEMBER 1942, THE GERMANS DEPORTED SOME 434,500 JEWS, AND AN INDETERMINATE NUMBER OF POLES AND ROMA (GYPSIES) TO BELZEC, TO BE KILLED., | 17 March 1942 – end of June 1943General Government district}}| Poland| Carbon monoxide gas chambersCheÅ‚mno extermination camp>CheÅ‚mno 320,000 HTTP://WWW.USHMM.ORG/WLC/EN/ARTICLE.PHP?MODULEID=10005194 >AUTHOR=USHMM.ORG QUOTE=IN TOTAL, THE SS AND THE POLICE KILLED SOME 152,000 PEOPLE IN CHEÅ‚MNO., 8 December 1941 – March 1943,June 1944 – 18 January 1945| District of Reichsgau Wartheland| Poland| Carbon monoxide vansSobibór extermination camp>Sobibór 250,000In all, the Germans and their auxiliaries killed at least 170,000 people at Sobibór. Holocaust Encyclopedia.| 16 May 1942 â€“ 17 October 1943| General Government district| Poland| Carbon monoxide gas chambersMajdanek concentration camp>Majdanek at least 80,000 A recent study reduced the estimated number of deaths at Majdanek, [in:] "Majdanek Victims Enumerated" by Pawel P. Reszka, Lublin, Gazeta Wyborcza 12 December 2005, reproduced on the site of the Auschwitz–Birkenau Museum: Lublin scholar Tomasz Kranz established new figure which the Majdanek museum staff consider authoritative. Earlier calculations were greater: ca. 360,000, in a much-cited 1948 publication by Judge ZdzisÅ‚aw Łukaszkiewicz, of the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland; and ca. 235,000, in a 1992 article by Dr. Czeslaw Rajca, formerly of the Majdanek museum. However, the number of those whose deaths the camp administration did not register remains unknown.| 1 October 1941 – 22 July 1944General Government district}}| Poland| Zyklon B gas chambersMaly Trostenets extermination camp>Maly Trostinets 65,000 Yad Vashem, HTTP://WWW.YADVASHEM.ORG/ODOT_PDF/MICROSOFT%20WORD%20-%206636.PDF >TITLE=MALY TROSTINETS, 1 September 2013, | Middle of 1941 to 28 June 1944| Reichskommissariat Ostland| Belarus| Mass shootings, gas vanAt the Maly Trostenets extermination camp in Belarus, USSR, some 65,000 Jews were murdered according to Yad Vashem (weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20081217235050weblink">PDF file, direct download) whilst the estimated number of 200,000 people perished in the Trostenets area. See also: weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20090116070821weblink">Yad Vashem overview. Internet Archive.SajmiÅ¡te concentration camp>SajmiÅ¡te 23,000 According to the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, after the war overall death toll was greatly exaggerated by the communists for political purposes. The real number of inmates killed was about 20,000. – SLOBODANKA AST >DATE=NOVEMBER 2011 URL=HTTP://WWW.HELSINKI.ORG.RS/HCHARTER_T39A03.HTML, | 28 October 1941 – July 1944| Independent State of Croatia| Serbia| Carbon monoxide van style="background:#e1e9ee;"| Total 3,115,000 – 3,215,000 Holocaust Encyclopedia, NAZI CAMPS. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.Terese Pencak Schwartz, The Holocaust: Non-Jewish Victims. Jewish Virtual Library.

Dismantling and attempted concealment

File:Jewish prisoners forced to work for a Sonderkommando 1005 unit pose next to a bone crushing machine in the Janowska concentration camp.jpg|thumb|right|A Sonderkommando 1005 unit stand next to a bone crushing machine at the Janowska concentration campJanowska concentration campThe Nazis attempted to either partially or completely dismantle the extermination camps in order to hide any evidence that people had been murdered there. This was an attempt to conceal not only the extermination process but also the buried remains. As a result of the secretive Sonderaktion 1005, the camps were dismantled by commandos of condemned prisoners, their records were destroyed, and the mass graves were dug up. Some extermination camps that remained uncleared of evidence were liberated by Soviet troops, who followed different standards of documentation and openness than the Western allies did.{{Citation |first=Yitzhak |last=Arad |authorlink=Yitzhak Arad |title="Operation Reinhard": Extermination Camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka|url-status = live |archive-url=weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20090318073143weblink">weblink |archive-date = 18 March 2009|url =weblink |work=Yad Vashem Studies XVI |year=1984 |pages= 205–239 (26/30 of current document) |quote=The Attempt to Remove Traces.}}{{Citation |ref=harv |last=Davies |first=Norman |authorlink=Norman Davies |year=1998 |title=Europe: A History |titlelink=Europe: A History |publisher=HarperCollins |isbn=0-06-097468-0 |url=https://archive.org/details/europehistory00norm }}Nonetheless Majdanek was captured nearly intact due to the rapid advance of the Soviet Red Army during Operation Bagration.

Commemoration

In the post-war period the government of the People's Republic of Poland created monuments at the extermination camp sites. These early monuments mentioned no ethnic, religious, or national particulars of the Nazi victims. The extermination camps sites have been accessible to everyone in recent decades. They are popular destinations for visitors from all over the world, especially the most infamous Nazi death camp, Auschwitz near the town of Oświęcim. In the early 1990s, the Jewish Holocaust organisations debated with the Polish Catholic groups about "What religious symbols of martyrdom are appropriate as memorials in a Nazi death camp such as Auschwitz?" The Jews opposed the placement of Christian memorials such as the Auschwitz cross near Auschwitz I where mostly Poles were killed. The Jewish victims of the Holocaust were mostly killed at Auschwitz II Birkenau.The March of the Living is organized in Poland annually since 1988.WEB,weblink motl.org, March of the Living International, Marchers come from countries as diverse as Estonia, New Zealand, Panama, and Turkey.WEB, motl.org,weblink March of the Living Canada,

The camps and Holocaust denial

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-C0509-0049-006, KZ Treblinka, Wehrmacht-Frachtbrief.jpg|thumb|upright|Documentary evidence: A Reichsbahn consignment note for delivering prisoners (Häftlinge) to Sobibór in November 1943]]Holocaust deniers or negationists are people and organizations who assert that the Holocaust did not occur, or that it did not occur in the historically recognized manner and extent.WEB, Mathis, Andrew E., Holocaust Denial: A Definition,weblink ABC-CLIO, 4 March 2017, Extermination camp research is difficult because of extensive attempts by the SS and Nazi regime to conceal the existence of the extermination camps. The existence of the extermination camps is firmly established by testimonies of camp survivors and Final Solution perpetrators, material evidence (the remaining camps, etc.), Nazi photographs and films of the killings, and camp administration records.BOOK, Patrick Hobbs, Joseph, Dear General: Eisenhower's Wartime Letters to Marshall, 12 May 1999, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 0801862191, WEB,weblink The History of the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation (CDJC), dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150316150400weblink">weblink 16 March 2015, mdy, Holocaust deniers often start by pointing out legitimate public misconceptions about the extermination camps. For example, widely published images in America were mostly victims of louse-borne typhus fever and at the Buchenwald, Belsen and Dachau concentration camps â€“ the first to be liberated by American troops and the most available imagery in America. In early news reports and for years afterwards these images were often used by the news media somewhat inaccurately in conjunction with descriptions of extermination camps and Jewish suffering. Holocaust deniers, after pointing out such common errors, put it forward as evidence that extermination camps did not exist and the limited evidence about them is mostly a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy.Holocaust denial has been thoroughly discredited by scholars and is a criminal offence in many countries, among them Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

Awareness

In 2017 a Körber Foundation survey found that 40 percent of 14-year-olds in Germany did not know what Auschwitz was.NEWS, Auschwitz-Birkenau: 4 out of 10 German students don't know what it was,weblink Deutsche Welle, 28 September 2017,weblink 28 September 2017, live, NEWS, Posener, Alan, Alan Posener, German TV Is Sanitizing History,weblink Foreign Policy, 9 April 2018, A 2018 survey organized in the United States by the Claims Conference, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and others found that 66% of the American millennials (and 41% of all U.S. adults) surveyed did not know what Auschwitz was.NEWS, New Survey by Claims Conference Finds Significant Lack of Holocaust Knowledge in the United States,weblink Claims Conference, 2018,weblink" title="archive.today/20180412152716weblink">weblink 12 April 2018, live, {{pb}}NEWS, Astor, Maggie, Holocaust Is Fading From Memory, Survey Finds,weblink The New York Times, 12 April 2018,weblink 18 April 2018, live, In 2019, a survey of 1,100 Canadians found that 49 percent could not name any of the Nazi camps in German-occupied Europe.NEWS, Stober, Eric, Nearly half of Canadians can't name a single concentration camp: survey,weblink Global News, 26 January 2019,weblink 27 January 2019, live,

See also

Notes

{{notelist}}

Citations

{{Reflist|30em}}

References

  • BOOK, Bartov, Omer, Omer Bartov, The Holocaust: origins, implementation, aftermath, Routledge, London, 2000, 0-415-15035-3,weblink Google Books, harv,
  • BOOK, Cox, John K., Fischer, Bernd Jürgen, Bernd Jürgen Fischer, 2007, Balkan Strongmen: Dictators and Authoritarian Rulers of South Eastern Europe, Ante Pavelić and the UstaÅ¡a State in Croatia, Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, Indiana, 978-1-55753-455-2,weblink Google Books, harv,
  • BOOK, Gilbert, Martin, Martin Gilbert, Holocaust Journey: travelling in search of the past, Phoenix, 1997, 0-231-10965-2,weblink Google Books, harv, An account of the locations of the extermination camps as they are today, augmented by the historical information about them, and about the fate of the Jews of Poland.,
  • BOOK, Commandant of Auschwitz. The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess with an Introduction by Lord Russett,weblink Translated from the German by Constantine FitzGibbon, The World Publishing Company, Cleveland and New York, PDF, direct download: 16.7 MB from Scribd, 1959, 15 January 2015, Rudolf Höss, Höss, Rudolf, 1–311, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 60-5808.,
  • BOOK, Klee, Ernst, Ernst Klee, 'Turning the tap on was no big deal': the gassing doctors during the Nazi period and afterwards, Dachau Review, vol. 2, 1990, 3-9808587-1-5,weblink Google Books' snippet, harv,
  • BOOK, Levi, Primo, Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, London: Michael Joseph, 1986, 0-7181-3063-4,weblink Google Books, harv,
  • BOOK, Mojzes, Paul, Balkan Genocides: Holocaust and Ethnic Cleansing in the Twentieth Century, Rowman & Littlefield, 2011, 978-1-4422-0663-2,weblink Google Books, harv,

External links

{{commons category|Nazi extermination camps}} {{The Holocaust}}{{Nazism}}{{Genocide topics}}{{Authority control}}

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