Ravensbrück: Life and Death in Hitlers Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah HelmA groundbreaking, masterful, and absorbing account of the last hidden atrocity of World War II—Ravensbrück—the largest female-only concentration camp, where more than 100,000 women consisting of more than twenty nationalities were imprisoned.
Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS and the architect of the Holocaust, oversaw the construction of a special concentration camp just fifty miles north of Berlin. He called it Ravensbrück, and during the years that followed thousands of people died there after enduring brutal forms of torture. All were women. There are a handful of studies and memoirs that reference Ravensbrück, but until now no one has written a full account of this atrocity, perhaps due to the mostly masculine narrative of war, or perhaps because it lacks the Jewish context of most mainstream Holocaust history. Ninety percent of Ravensbrücks prisoners were not Jewish. Rather, they were political prisoners, Resistance fighters, lesbians, prostitutes, even the sister of New Yorks Mayor LaGuardia. In a perverse twist, most of the guards were women themselves. Sarah Helms groundbreaking work sheds much-needed light on an aspect of World War II that has remained in the shadows for decades. Using research into German and newly opened Russian archives, as well as interviews with survivors, Helm has produced a landmark achievement that weaves together various accounts, allowing us to follow characters on both sides of the prisoner/guard divide. Chilling, compelling, and deeply unsettling, Ravensbrück is essential reading for anyone concerned with Nazi history.
Poland Rediscovered: Kraków, Auschwitz, and Warsaw
Nazi Germany built extermination camps during the Holocaust in World War II, to systematically After the invasion of Poland in September , the secret Aktion T4 . where most of the intended victims lived; Poland had the greatest Jewish In most other camps prisoners were selected for slave labor first; they were.
How the Nazis Tried to Cover Up Their Crimes at Auschwitz
Appell The roll call of prisoners that could take hours. Prisoners were forced to stand outside in all types of weather, usually without proper clothing. Auschwitz-Birkenau The largest and most notorious concentration, labor and death camp where 1. Belzec Death camp located in southeastern Poland alongside a main railway line; between , and , Jews were killed there. Canada The name given to the storage buildings by the prisoners who worked in them. These buildings held the clothing and other possessions of those Jews who had just arrived into the extermination camps and were usually gassed shortly afterward.
Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest Nazi extermination and concentration camp, located in the Polish town of Oswiecim, 37 miles west of Cracow. One sixth of all Jews murdered by the Nazis were gassed at Auschwitz. The first Polish political prisoners arrived in Auschwitz in June , and by March there were 10, prisoners, the majority of whom were Polish. Auschwitz soon became known as the most brutal of the Nazi concentration camps. In March Himmler ordered a second, much larger section of the camp to be built right near the original camp. This site was to be used as an extermination camp and was named Birkenau, or Auschwitz II.
It was a frigid day in occupied Poland, and for all Shmuel Beller knew, it could be his last. As Russian forces advanced toward Auschwitz , Beller and other prisoners had been told by their captors that they had to leave the death camp. So he ran into one of the storage facilities and rifled through a pile of clothing—the belongings of some of the 6, Jews gassed each day at the camp. Finally, he found what he was looking for: a pair of leather shoes. As Russian and American forces closed in, the Nazis attempted to dismantle the camps and hide their crimes. The entrance to the German concentration camp of Auschwitz.
Building a Murder Complex
Why were the Mongols so effective?
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. 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. 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. 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 adoption of the gassing technology by Nazi Germany was preceded by a wave of hands-on killings carried out by the SS Einsatzgruppen ,  who followed the Wehrmacht army during Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front. 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 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.
In German-occupied Europe during World War II, killing centers were facilities established exclusively or primarily for the assembly-line style mass murder of human beings. The Nazis established killing centers for efficient mass murder. Unlike concentration camps, which served primarily as detention and labor centers, killing centers also referred to as "extermination camps" or "death camps" were almost exclusively "death factories. To carry out the "Final Solution" the genocide or mass murder of Jews , the Nazis established killing centers in German-occupied annexed and occupied Poland. The first killing center for the mass murder of Jews was Chelmno , which opened in the Warthegau part of Poland annexed to Germany in December
This solution evolved—especially from to —as they tried different techniques to accomplish their goals. Particularly in Germany and Poland camp commandants experimented with various killing methodologies and consulted with one another on their successes and failures. The ability of a single camp to kill 2,, people per hour took years to achieve. At first, though, murder was done at close range-man-to-man, woman, or child. In , SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski told his superior Heinrich Himmler that the Nazis had been murdering Jews, including women and children, at close range and in cold blood all summer. Bach-Zelewski was worried about this method's traumatizing effects on his men. Himmler recorded in his diary the General's concerns: "And he said to me, 'Reichsfuhrer, these men are finished for the rest of their lives.