extermination camps


Those not liberated

The image above is one of the only images of the extermination process that took place at Auschwitz-Birkenau II. It was taken by a member of the sonderkommando, Nazi victims forced to take part in the killing processes of the facility, who was later killed. He took four pictures, which were smuggled out of camp. This image, shot from inside a building and with the camera hidden, shows other members of the sonderkommando, burning bodies due to the inability of the crematoriums to deal with the number of dead. The second image shows women undressing before they are herded into a gas chamber for extermination. The shots show that the photographer was unable to view his images before capturing the image as he had to keep the camera hidden from the SS.

Few of the sonderkommando, and none of the others sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau II’s killing facility for extermination, survived the war. These images depict the reality of the Holocaust for most of the victims. None of the death camps of the Holocaust were liberated by Americans or British. None of them were located in Germany. The extermination camps of Operation Reinhard, which was responsible for the deaths of the Polish Jews in camps specifically designed for extermination process, were dismantled during 1943 and 1944 having completed their tasks of killing roughly 1.7 million Jews. Auschwitz Birkenau II’s crematorium and gas sites were dismantled before the Soviet liberation of the camp.

Hence, when the victims liberated by Americans told of gas chambers and crematorium, they were not speaking of the chambers and crematorium at Buchenwald and Dachau. Instead, they were victims who had, before the liberation of Auschwitz, been marched by the Germans into the concentration camps of Germany itself. American and British troops confused the different camps and associated the extermination process of the camps in the East with the concentration camps of Germany. While many died in the camps due to poor conditions, shooting, hunger, disease, etc., explicitly exterminatory actions in gas chambers did not take place in them. It is this chaotic situation that leads to much of the confusion regarding an American understanding of the Holocaust.


No. 281. August 1944. Wikimedia. Accessed January 22, 2017. 

No. 282: Women being taken to the gas chamber. August 1944. Wikimedia. Accessed January 22, 2017. 


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Operation Reinhard (Einsatz Reinhard).” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed January 22, 2017.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Auschwitz.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed January 22, 2017.

(Caption by /u/KugelFang52)


The final living Norwegian survivor of the German extermination camp in Auschwitz, Alf Monrad Kndusen has passed today 93 years old. At the age of 19 he was arrested by an SS officer by the Swedish border as he was escaping the Norwegian Nazi occupation regime in 1941. Throughout the years after the war he has been active in the effort to educate people on what occurred in the camps and he has revisited Auschwitz on several occations to tell his story. May he rest in peace

The neo-Nazi murder trial revealing Germany's darkest secrets
By Saskia Schäfer

There is a telling contrast between the laxness of Zschäpe’s trial and the professionalism of the concurrent prosecution of the so-called “last” Nazi, Reinhold Hanning, a 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard. Hanning’s trial was swiftly wrapped up in four months, and he was sentenced to five years in prison for “facilitating slaughter” at the extermination camp.

It seems that Germany may be more comfortable trying former Nazis than current ones.

It’s so baffling to me how the entire world always talks about the crimes committed in WW2 and always turns to talk about Auschwitz

But no one, ever, talks about Jasenovac: it was one of the biggest concentration camps in Europe, that was so vile and horrible that it made even the Nazi officials cringe in disgust.

The victims were primarily Serbs, Jews and Romani. The exact victim number was never known, because there was a serious lack of documentation (accredited to both the officials in the camp not keeping it regularly and the government of after-war Yugoslavia trying to hush it up), and historians argue on the numbers constantly; but even the lowest number that comes up, 100.000, makes it already one of the biggest concentration/extermination camps in Europe. The other number that historians claim is the victim number is 700.000.

And yet it’s never ever talked about.


In 1938, an Austrian pediatrician named Hans Asperger gave the first public talk on autism in history. Asperger was speaking to an audience of Nazis, and he feared that his patients — children who fell onto what we now call the autism spectrum — were in danger of being sent to Nazi extermination camps.

As Asperger spoke, he highlighted his “most promising” patients, a notion that would stick with the autistic spectrum for decades to come.

“That is where the idea of so-called high-functioning versus low-functioning autistic people comes from really — it comes from Asperger’s attempt to save the lives of the children in his clinic,” science writer Steve Silberman tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

Silberman chronicles the history of autism and examines some of the myths surrounding our current understanding of the condition in his new book, NeuroTribes. Along the way, he revisits Asperger’s calculated efforts to save his patients.

The entire (VERY interesting) interview is here.

– Petra 

SS troops guarding members of the Jewish resistance captured during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1943. About 13,000 Jews died during the uprising. Most of the remaining 50,000 residents of the ghetto were captured and sent to concentration and extermination camps. The first right hand woman clearly challenges the SS guards not keeping his hands in the air

The Armenian Genocide of 1915 is considered one of the first modern genocides. The Ottoman government under the pretext of relocation of the overly orthodox Christian Armenian minority, indiscriminately massacred as many as 1.5 million human beings through the use of mass burnings, drowning, morphine overdose, toxic gas, typhoid inoculation, death marches, and extermination camps.


May 31st 1962: Eichmann hanged

On this day in 1962, the fugitive Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann was executed in Israel. During the Nazi rule of Germany, Eichmann was one of Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s top men in the paramilitary organisation the SS, charged with overseeing the deportation of Jews to extermination camps. For this role, and his prominent participation in the 1942 Wannsee Conference that planned the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Problem’, he is considered one of the chief architects of the Holocaust. After the fall of the Third Reich with Germany’s defeat in the Second World War and Adolf Hitler’s suicide in 1945, top Nazi officials faced charges of war crimes. Many were captured, and either committed suicide rather than face trial (like SS leader Heinrich Himmler), were executed after the Nuremberg Trials (like Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop), or were sent to prison (like Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess). Eichmann, however, fled first to Austria and then to Argentina in 1950, where he lived until he was captured by Israeli intelligence services. Eichmann was subsequently put on trial in Jerusalem for war crimes, found guilty, and was executed by hanging in 1962.

Today we mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and #WeRemember the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews.
On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, discovering the largest Nazi killing center in Europe. Auschwitz has become a symbol of the Holocaust, representing the depths of man’s inhumanity to man.

“The arrival and processing of an entire transport of Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia, a region annexed in 1939 to Hungary from Czechoslovakia, at Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland, in May of 1944. The picture was donated to Yad Vashem in 1980 by Lili Jacob.”


Residents who were found while eliminating the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the 1943 act of Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany’s final effort to transport the remaining Ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp. The most significant portion of the rebellion took place beginning on 19 April, but ended when the poorly supplied resistance was defeated by the German soldiers. This officially finished their operation to liquidate the Ghetto on 16 May. It was the largest single revolt by Jews during World War II

Read More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising

Holocaust Memorial Day- take a moment to read

Even this is “only” the Israeli memorial day, please take a minute to read.

Today is the Israeli Holocaust Memorial day, set to remember all the deathes during the Holocaust and think about the terrible things happened back there, in Europe, 70 years ago.

Lately people ask for more proves- the concentration and extermination camps, all the stories, pictures and the videos aren’t enough for some people.
But I, I don’t need any proof. My families’ stories, my family friends’ stories, my friends families’ stories, my teachers parents’ stories, my nation’s stories, are my proof.
Every year I hear tens of new stories about people who survived the horror, or died in there. Every year my heart breaks again, to another story.

6 million. 6 MILLION.

over 6 million people who died because the things they believe in. Millions others were killed becuase they love “the wrong gender” or because they helped Jews…

Just think about it- over 6 million people, from them were more than 1.5M kids!


RIP over 6 milion Jews and millions others.


“Survivors called it Judgement Day. People lived like rats in shadows, hiding, starving, or worse, captured and put into camps for extermination. I was born after Judgement Day, into a broken world ruled by the machines. The worst were infiltration units that posed as humans. We called them Terminators.”

Terminator Genisys (2015) dir. Alan Taylor



Is a 1985 French documentary film directed by Claude Lanzmann about the Holocaust. The film primarily consists of his interviews and visits to Holocaust sites across Poland, including three extermination camps. It presents testimonies by selected survivors, witnesses, and German perpetrators, often secretly recorded using hidden cameras. Critic Roger Ebert described it as “one of the noblest films ever made”

The Camps of the Holocaust

“Holocaust” is synonymous with “concentration camp,” that catch-all word for the 20,000 institutions where Jews, political prisoners, homosexuals, Roma peoples and other “undesirables” were sent to work or die. But there were enormous distinctions between the types of camps built by the Nazis, and even between holocaust operations in different regions:

Concentration Camps (Konzentrationslager) started in 1933 as detention centers for those deemed “unfit” for society - Socialists, homosexuals, so-called “subversives,” and Roma. After kristallnacht in 1938, however, arrested Jewish people were deported here as well, where they lived amongst non-Jewish prisoners. Most of these camps were labor camps, where prisoners were worked to the bone manufacturing items for Germany’s citizens or assisting in the war effort. Some were purposefully worked to death, forced to do pointless and brutal labor without proper equipment, such as lugging enormous stones from quarries. Well-known concentration camps include Buchenwald, Dachau, and Auschwitz (an atypical concentration camp that also acted as an extermination center).

Extermination camps (Vernichtungslager or Todeslager) were created for the sole purpose of killing people as quickly as possible. A large-scale embodiment of the gas vans that had hummed along streets and countrysides in the 1930s, killing those trapped within the backseat, very few who came into these camps survived. The majority of these were built in Poland, which had the largest European Jewish population. The first death camp was Chelmo, which opened in 1941. These camps were almost exclusively built for Jewish people, in order to accomplish Hitler’s Final Solution (that is, the total extermination of the Jewish people), and did so through gas chambers and point-black shooting. Treblinka, Chelmo, and Belzec are all infamous extermination camps.

In POW camps, captured soviet prisoners did not fare well either. Slavic people were also viewed as an inferior race, made even worse by their taking up Marxism/socialism, a political system polluted by “Jewish” origins and part of a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world (obviously he wasn’t too aware of the long-standing tradition of antisemitism in Russia). Most soviet prisoners were either shot immediately or transported to camps where they were either left to the elements or gassed. In later years, as the Nazi line of defense faltered, Soviets were occasionally given the choice to join the German army and have their lives spared.

Ghettos were generally holding centers for Jewish people, the last stop before a death camp. Amongst cramped quarters, and lack of proper medicine, clothing or food, many ghetto inhabitants died of disease, starvation, cold, or malnutrition. Still, a certain culture did flourish amongst the ghetto Jews - there were some ramshackle schools and organizations, as well as religious celebrations, theater productions, and choirs. Also flourishing were strains of secret resistance, which led to failed uprisings in many ghettos. One of the most famous and longest-surviving ghettos was Lodz, and due to its industrial productivity it was the last ghetto to be liquidated, its remaining inhabitants sent to Chelmo and Auschwitz in 1944.

In Soviet Russia, there weren’t any camps at all. Jewish people and soviets were simply forced to dig large graves and shot when they were finished. The Einztagruppen were a special military force entrusted with this task, though many generals cited low morale amongst soldiers instructed to kill women and children.