Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Holocaust was even worse than we thought

The New York Times explains:

[R]esearchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington. ...

The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.

Auschwitz and a handful of other concentration camps have come to symbolize the Nazi killing machine in the public consciousness. Likewise, the Nazi system for imprisoning Jewish families in hometown ghettos has become associated with a single site — the Warsaw Ghetto, famous for the 1943 uprising. But these sites, infamous though they are, represent only a minuscule fraction of the entire German network, the new research makes painfully clear.

The maps the researchers have created to identify the camps and ghettos turn wide sections of wartime Europe into black clusters of death, torture and slavery — centered in Germany and Poland, but reaching in all directions. ...

When the research began in 2000, Dr. Megargee said he expected to find perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos, based on postwar estimates. But the numbers kept climbing — first to 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500.

The numbers astound: 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers.

In Berlin alone, researchers have documented some 3,000 camps and so-called Jew houses, while Hamburg held 1,300 sites.

Dr. Dean, a co-researcher, said the findings left no doubt in his mind that many German citizens, despite the frequent claims of ignorance after the war, must have known about the widespread existence of the Nazi camps at the time.

“You literally could not go anywhere in Germany without running into forced labor camps, P.O.W. camps, concentration camps,” he said. “They were everywhere.”


trailbee said...

I agree. There is no way that all these camps could have existed and Germans and Poles not know about it, or even suspect.
I was born in E Berlin (1940) before the separation. I emigrated in '51, and had not returned until 2001. I had not seen my dad's sister in 50 years, and she kindly put us up for three days. During that time we had long conversations about many things, my German being horrific, but her English was extremely good, and so we managed well. One of the words she repeated often, I could not understand, and slowly the light went on.
I'm going to type this phonetically, so you will hear what I heard: nay zee, rhyming with lazy. What was that? I suddenly understood the word, Nazi! Now, when you say "Nayzee" instead of Nazi, there is a difference in sound and you don't get the same strident, fingernail on the blackboard feeling. But that is what she repeatedly said, and it seemed to remove the hideousness of all the things I had learned since leaving Germany.
I believe that the new Germany is totally focused on rebuilding their nation. Their churches are for all intent and purpose, empty, and they live in a secular society. I believe that they are happy Israel is over there, far away from the killing camps, out of sight out of mind. I believe that Pope Pius XII is a bad memory, better left alone.
My biggest fear is that when Iran bombs Israel, Germany will stutter, along with America.
World War II was a nightmare for Germans, but nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to what Jews must feel. This study serves as an 'in your face' raspberry for all those naysayers. I'm glad it was done.
Thanks for the post.

trailbee said...

Sorry for the length.

Anonymous said...

As I see it," says DR. YEHUDAH Bauer, MAJOR HOLOCAUST HISTORIAN, "Holocaust survivors are only those people who were physically persecuted by the Nazis or their cohorts. This means people who lived in ghettos and concentration camps or compulsory labor frameworks, who hid or who joined the partisan ranks. I don't mean to denigrate the suffering of people who suffered from race laws and anti-Semitic decree, or those who fled with nothing in their possession, but these are not Holocaust survivors."I AGREE AND REJECT ANY OTHER DEFINTION. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

The Holocaust can no longer be about the brutality, the murder of 6 million, the murder of 1.5 million children, all the horrors that go along with it,”It needs to be about what these brave souls went through, what we can learn from it. We need to charter that into education about love, about caring. If we take from it only the horrors and the murders, that will destroy the relevance of the Holocaust.