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Mass Murder: 1942-1945

A French railroad car carries Jews to Auschwitz- Birkenau in the late summer of 1944. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim

Deportation of German Jews from Bielefeld to Riga, December 13, 1941. CL:Stadtarchiv Bielefeld

"The sick, the aged, and babies in arms were crushed into barred cattle trucks....They had been aboard the train for two days and 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 and His Crimes


After 1941, the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and prisoners of war became a mandate for the Nazis From 1942 to 1945, the Nazis implemented mass murder with a cold industrial efficiency.

Another four million Jews were forced from their homes and taken in trains to concentration camps. Many died en route. The remainder were gassed, shot, beaten, starved or worked to death. Few survived.

Deportation of Jews to concentration camp. CL:Wiener Library, London
The Trains
The Nazi strategy to accomplish efficiently the "physical extermination" of European Jews required mass deportation and transportation of Jews; they were sent to ghettos, concentration camps and killing centers. The trains were so tightly packed, and food so meager, that many, especially the children and the elderly, died of suffocation, starvation, and exposure. German railroad personnel carried out the tasks in an efficient manner. They acted as proper bureaucrats striving to do the best job possible.

Crematorium at Dachau. CL:SWC
The Camps
After 1939, the concentration camp system expanded dramatically, permeating every corner of occupied Europe. The system included slave labor as well as killing centers, designed for mass murder. For the most part, the camps resembled each other in layout and structure; they had assembly areas and 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.

The Dossin barracks at Malines (Belgium), 1943. CL:Centre Documentation Juive Contemporaine, Paris

Mass delousing of Mauthausen inmates during a typhus epidemic in 1941. CL:Mauthausen Memorial. Linz

Panel 26Index to Courage to RememberPanel 28
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