75 Years Ago Today – January 21, 1945 – Before Liberation of Auschwitz

Death March art

DEATH MARCH: The residents of Polish towns through which the prisoners are marched recover the corpses of 1,101 male and female prisoners, and bury them in 29 mass graves along the route (see Friday’s “vlog” as we retrace this route and visit these memorial sites).

The first columns of women to reach Wodzislaw are loaded into open freight cars from morning to late into the night—Rena and her sister Danka may have been among those first women who arrive “half-dead, unconscious and feverish.” These transports move further into the interior of Germany to Gross-Rosen (which is re-routed to Dachau—67 of 1,408 prisoners on that transport die on route or upon arrival), Sachsenhausen (1/4 of these prisoners die enroute), Ravensbruck and Buchenwald. Rena and her sister were on the transport to Ravensbruck.

BIRKENAU: Five female prisoners attempt to escape from the women’s camp in Birkenau. They are detained by a drunken SS man, who take the youngest woman into the guard room. Shots ring out and the woman flees, having killed the SS. She and her friends hide in a railroad car and return to the women’s camp.

Prisoners break into the SS storerooms and discover that there is enough food to last for several months. Those left behind immediately form groups and break into the storeroom. They load two butchered hogs, cans of preserved meat, condensed milk, noodles, etc. in wheelbarrows and put the kitchen in Birkenau back into operation to feed the prisoners still locked behind the electric gates of Birkenau.

With the absence of all SS in the camps, tension lessens but liberation is still days away, and the death march continues for over 30,000 prisoners, many of whom are marched 50 kilometers to Wodzislaw in Silesia through blizzard conditions and with no food or water.

(Source: Czech, 795-797)

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75 Years Ago Today – Jan 22, 1945 #Holocaust #History #Liberation

Death March art3 1Death March: Prisoners continue to arrive in German camps and the last columns of prisoners on the death march from Auschwitz arrive in Wodzislaw Slaski–2,223 prisoners that arrive in Buchenwald, after being left in open air freight cars  the night before. Another group of 4,000 prisoners aare transported to Mauthausen but the transport is not accepted by Mauthausen and redirected to Nordhausen—of the 4,000 prisoners on the transport 500 die enroute.

In Birkenau: 80 male and female prisoners attempt to break out of camp at 9:00 a.m. The Wehrmacht fires at them; only ten make it back to camp. The rest are killed. Around midday, another group of male and female prisoners with children attempt to leave camp and an SS man allows them to go to the train station. Several of them reach the town of Oswiecim safely. (Czech 797-798)

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#Holocaust 75 yrs ago last week: 19,421 men, women and children were gassed…

The transports are so heavy at this point that to blog each one would be overwhelming, so this is a tribute to those transports that arrived in Auschwitz 70 years ago between Jan 13-Jan 21, 1943:

1,000 people from Berlin of which only 127 men are registered;

1498 people from Westerbork of which 98 boys and men, and 126 girls and women are registered;

2,000 from Theresientadt, Czechoslovakia, of which only 254 boys and men, and 164 girls and women are registered;

1,555 from Belgium of which only 387 boys and men, and 81 girls and women are registered;

and 17, 372 Polish Jews, of which only 2,114 boys and men, and 821 girls and women are registered.

(It is interesting that the record is now using the term “boys and men, and girls and women” to remind us that the age of many of these prisoners was 16, the cut off age for entering the camp.  Source: Czech, 304-309)

The weather this week in Prague (the nearest historical weather records from this period) indicate that the average temperature was between -3 c and -12; there were 3 days of snow (the amount is not recorded) and high winds during 2 of those snow days (which were consecutive); there were several days of fog, after the snow storm.

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75 Years Ago Today – Dec 14, 1942 – 263 Days in Auschwitz #Holocaust On this last night of Hanukkah let us

light candles to light the world and remember that our light can alleviate the darkness but only if we commit to living lives free of hatred, which serves no purpose.

70 years ago today, hatred, racism and prejudice reigned : Of the 2,257 men, women and children who arrived in Auschwitz only 701 men were registered in camp (#82866-83566). 1,558 Polish Jewish men, women and children were killed in the gas chambers.


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