Forgotten Voices: John Chillag, pg. 265, Antonie Krokova, pg. 270
Forgotten Voices: Jane Levy, pg. 281; Freddie Knoeller, pg. 284; Josef Perl, pg. 300; Jerry Koening, pg. 300
Forgotten Voices: Leon Greenman, pg. 295; Alicia Adams, pg. 317; Roman Halter, pg. 317
Forgotten Voices: Stanley Faull, pg. 313
Forgotten Voices: Hannah Hyde, pg. 303
Liberation And Aftermath
Lisa Pennington Social Studies Instructional Specialist Portsmouth Public Schools
<ul><li>Liberation began in July of 1944 when the Soviet Army moved into Majdanek, near Lublin, Poland. Majdanek was the first concentration camp to be liberated. </li></ul>http://www.ushmm.org/lcmedia/photo/lc/image/13/13108.jpg A Soviet soldier stands on a pile of victims shoes in Majdanek.
<ul><li>The Soviets then moved on to liberate many other camps, including Auschwitz in January of 1945. </li></ul><ul><li>The SS fled before the advancing Red Army reached the camps, leaving behind emaciated prisoners who were barely alive. </li></ul>http://www.ushmm.org/lcmedia/map/lc/image/gge72080.gif
<ul><li>In many cases, the SS tried to destroy the evidence of what they had done. At Majdanek for example, the Germans destroyed the crematoria, although the gas chambers were left standing, due to the hasty retreat. </li></ul>
<ul><li>At Auschwitz, Soviet troops found overwhelming evidence of the mass murders committed. In the warehouses that remained standing, soldiers found the belongings of the hundreds of thousands of prisoners sent to Auschwitz, including 800,000 women’s suits, hundreds of thousands of shoes, eyeglasses, prayer shawls, suitcases, and 14,000 pounds of human hair. </li></ul>http://www.ushmm.org/lcmedia/photo/lc/image/85/85653.jpg Clothing belonging to female victims at Auschwitz.
<ul><li>The Western Allies also liberated a number of camps, including Buchenwald, Dachau, and Bergen Belsen, all in 1945. The last camp was liberated by the Soviet Army on May 9, 1945. </li></ul>
<ul><li>As the troops moved into the camps, they discovered the gruesome conditions. Corpses covered the grounds, survivors were too weak to move and were infested with lice and disease. </li></ul>http://www.ushmm.org/lcmedia/photo/lc/image/78/78656.jpg
<ul><li>The Allied soldiers were shocked, horrified, and outraged at what they found in the camps. The soldiers forced the German civilians to tour the camps and view the appalling conditions. </li></ul>http://www.ushmm.org/lcmedia/photo/lc/image/66/66297.jpg
<ul><li>Many prisoners unfortunately were too weak to survive liberation. They were too malnourished or susceptible to disease and died after the Allied soldiers moved into the camps. Some camps, such as Bergen Belsen, were burnt down to avoid the spread of disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Some prisoners could no longer digest food, and died after well meaning soldiers shared their rations. </li></ul>http://www1.yadvashem.org/education/photos/3057.gif
<ul><li>Makeshift hospitals were set up, and medical teams began to examine and care for the survivors. It would be a long, slow road to recovery. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Within the camps, bodies had to be buried, survivors had to be cleaned and medically treated, and there was evidence of the Nazi crimes to examine. </li></ul>http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/othercamps/images/1945,%20Auschwitz%20After%20Liberation%20Burying%20the%20Dead.gif Burying the victims at Auschwitz.
<ul><li>Not all survivors wanted to return to their former homes, creating a need for new homes for those who had been displaced by the Holocaust. </li></ul><ul><li>Some who tried to return home still faced anti-semitic opposition and discrimination. Anti-semitism had been around for centuries in Europe, and it did not end with liberation. There were random violent actions against surviving Jews in Europe, some of which resulted in death. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Survivors also began to learn what became of family members and friends after the war. Those who held onto hope of seeing loved ones again only began to realize the immense losses after they were liberated. Many would go on to learn their entire families had been killed. </li></ul>
<ul><li>As survivors struggled to readjust to normal life, the world struggled to comprehend what had happened. Britain, the U.S., and the Soviet Union announced their commitment to punish Axis war criminals. </li></ul>
<ul><li>From October 18 th , 1945, to October 1, 1946, the International Military Tribunal tried twenty two major war criminals. They were charged with crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, war crimes, and conspiracy to commit such crimes. Twelve of the convicted were sentenced to death, three to life in prison, and four to prison for between 10 and 20 years. Three were acquitted. </li></ul>http://www.foothilltech.org/rgeib/english/orwell/primary_sources/nuremberg.jpg The defendants during the Nuremberg Trials.
<ul><li>Further trials took place between December of 1946 and April of 1949. Another 97 people were convicted and sentenced. </li></ul><ul><li>The Allied powers also held trials within the zones they occupied in Germany after the war. </li></ul>http://www.ushmm.org/lcmedia/map/lc/image/eur61030.gif
<ul><li>Countries formerly occupied by Germany-Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, France, and Hungary, have also tried war criminals. Poland tried a number of people employed at Auschwitz. </li></ul><ul><li>Not all war criminals were caught and tried. The most well known, Adolf Hitler, avoided capture by committing suicide. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Many countries were left with a tragic legacy after World War II. Germany has worked to overcome the role it played during the war. And countless organizations have worked to ensure the Holocaust and it’s victims will never be forgotten. </li></ul>“ For ever let this plaque be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women, and children, mainly Jews, from various countries of Europe.” Auschwitz-Birkenau 1940-1945