3 April 2012
The death marches played a significant role in the annihilation of the Jews and other prisoners. These marches occurred when the Nazis fled from concentration camps to get away from enemy soldiers. The Russians and the Allies were coming back to recover land as World War II was coming to a close. The Nazis, afraid that the soldiers would find what they had done, dug mass graves and destroyed evidence (Rosenbourg 1). Of course, they couldn’t get rid of all the prisoners so they forced them to travel to another location, desperately trying to outrun the Allies and the Russians (Craunkids 1). This was the start of one of the most horrific parts of the Holocaust, the death marches.
There was a specific way the prisoners were organized to go on the death marches. Prisoners were to march into rows that were normally five across, and in one huge column. The SS guarded all sides of the column so they would be ready to shoot if anyone was too weak to go on (Rosenbourg 1). Typically, they would march for many long weeks only to be forced onto cramped cattle cars, still suffering from no food or water (Yadvashem 8). The prisoners were commonly shot in very large groups, wiping all of them out (Memorial Museum 4). In some cases, when the prisoners were close to the ocean, the SS would force them into the water and shoot them on the spot (Memorial Museum 4). These tactics were used to contribute to the chaos of the death marches.
The prisoners never knew where or how far away their destinations were (Craunkids 11). The SS was actually marching them further into Poland or Germany where they would find even more crowded and disease-ridden concentration camps (Rosenbourg 2). In some instances, the SS would find that a camp had been liberated before they got there and they would have to change their route and keep on going (Rosenbourg 2). Normally, the evacuations would take place in the winter,...
Cited: Rosenbourg, Jennifer. “Death Marches.” About.com 20th Century History. Web. 05 Mar. 2012
Death Marches. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 6 Jan. 2011. Web 15 Mar. 2012.
“Death Marches.” www.yadvashem.org.” Web. 05 Mar. 2012
“Death Marches of the Holocaust.” “Craunkids.” Web. 05 Mar. 2012
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