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Danielle Parker English 101 ± 129 Mr. Neuburger 05 March 2011 The Holocaust The Six Death Camps Let¶s say someone told you about a mass murder to destroy a race, a dictator that wanted to get rid of a certain group of people, so he organized a plot to kill them by literally sending them to their own death. It didn¶t matter if they were infants, teenagers, or the elderly, he wanted them all gone. The person telling you this also told you that he killed a lot of them by putting them in gas chambers and gassing them to death. If you heard this, it wouldn¶t be surprising if you automatically thought the person was tell you about the latest movie, but in fact this was not the plot to a movie. It was the plot to the Holocaust. The German dictator was Adolf Hitler and his victims were the Jews. Since about 1933 Hitler¶s plan to exclude the Jews was becoming more effective, his plan for what later became known as the Holocaust. ³The word holocaust is derived from the biblical Greek term holocauston, meaning a "burnt offering" made in sacrifice to God. The term came to be widely used in the early 1970s to refer to the mass extermination of the Jews in the gas chambers of an organized system of death camps´ (Fasching 1). In June 1941 the Nazi¶s started killing the Jews and other people that were enemies of the Nazi¶s. They were shot and killed and then burned in mass graves. In January 1942 The Wannsee Conference took place, which is a meeting of the top Nazis to come up with a plan to kill all the Jews of Europe. In March 1942
Polish Jews are beginning to be sent to the death camps. In Western Europe the Jews are being sent to death camps in Eastern Europe, especially Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the biggest death camp that killed the largest number of European Jews. The exact number is unknown but some of the estimates are as high as three million in just Auschwitz. Nine out of ten
Crematorium IV in Auschwitz-Birkenau http://bit.ly/i1FDI5
were killed through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting, and burning. Although, Jews were not the only
ones killed, some of the others were Gypsies, Soviet POWS, and prisoners of all nationalities died in the gas chambers (Bülow 1). In 1941, the Nazis began to build Chelmno, which was the first death camp which was used to µexterminate¶ both Jews and Gypsies. In 1942, the death camps Treblinka, Sobibor, and Belzec were built. The code name for this was called Operation Reinhard. Around the same time, extermination areas were added to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek (Rosenburg 1). Chelmno was the first concentration camp with the intent to kill the Jews, which made it the first extermination camp. They killed about 152,000 Jews by gassing them to death using exhaust gas from trucks. After this, there quickly became ³Operation Reinhard,´ This operation was the staring of what would kill about 3 million Jews in Poland. One of the extermination camps out of the three in
Shoes of the victims in Belzec http://bit.ly/i1FDI5
Operation Reinhard was Belzec. It was established in May 1942
and lasted until August 1943. About 600,000 Jews were killed in the gas chambers at this camp.
The second camp, Sobibor, also began in May 1942. It ended in October 1943 when an uprising of the prisoners ended the camp, but not soon enough. 250,000 died in the gas chambers at Sobibor. The last of the three camps was Treblinka. It was in the works from July 1942 to November 1943. In August 1943 many of the facilities were destroyed in an uprising. 900,000 Jews died there. Along with about 1 ¾ million Jews there were several thousand gypsies that were killed. Only a handful survived and escaped the camps. Most of the people that were killed were killed upon arrival. Majdanek began gassing in October 1942. It was a lot like AuschwitzBirkenau because it was an extermination camp and a labor camp. It was shut down in 1943 and killed between 60,000 and 80,000 Jews. (Vogelsang and Larsen 1) The Soviet Army was the first on site at Majdanek in July 1944. They couldn¶t believe their eyes. Although the Germans tried to hide what was happening by burning down the crematorium that had burned the bodies of thousands of already dead Jewish people and by destroying other evidence that would show that they had been killing the Jews. They didn¶t have enough time to burn the gas chambers though. In the summer of 1944 the Soviets invaded Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. These camps were destroyed in 1943 by the Germans. Most of the Jews of Poland were already killed by that point. The Soviets liberated Auschwitz in January 1945. (USHMM 1)