The Holocaust is a horrible part of history. It is hard to understand how any person could let this happen to his neighbors and fellow countrymen. The picture painted has always been that the majority of Germans didn’t know what was going on–the camps were in isolated areas and the citizens thought that they were simply work camps. I am not sure if anyone actually believed that, but that is the story that I was told. My father was one of the soldiers who liberated one of the camps (I don’t know which one), and when I read somewhere that General Eisenhower made the citizens of the neighboring town walk through one of the camps to see what was going on there, my father confirmed that this was true.
Both the Times and the Daily News posted articles explaining that research done by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has found that there were many more camps than historians had previously been aware of.
The New York Times reports:
The researchers 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 Daily News cites the story in the New York Times:
The research team uncovered 30,000 slave camps, 1,150 Jewish ghettos, 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps, 980 concentration camps, 500 sex-slave brothels and thousands of other camps serving a myriad of wicked ends: forced abortions, mandatory euthanasia of the elderly and ill, “Germanisation” and transportation hubs to murder sites, according to the Times.
The New York Times article concludes:
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.”
How could the citizens of Germany let this happen? I don’t think we will ever have the answer to that question.