Operation Barbarossa began on June 22, 1941, with a German surprise attack on the USSR. Within a couple of days, the murder of Jews commenced: On June 25, 1941, 201 people were shot in Garsden, a Lithuanian border town, most of them Jews. As the German armies advanced, the Einsazgruppen broadened the circle of murder, in collaboration with locals, especially in Lithuania and the Ukraine. Himmler visited the killing fields and observed the slaughter first hand. Seeing that the German troops and commanders showed no hesitation in executing the genocidal plan on the initial small scale, he ordered it extended. By July, mass-murder of women and children became routine. For example, 33,000 Jews were massacred in Babi Yar, Ukraine, in September 1941.

As the slaughter continued in 1941, Himmler sought ways to murder the Jews in a way that didn’t involve mass shooting. Initially, gassing vans were used, but in short order, the idea came up to erect death camps with built-in systems for gassing people and disposing of the victims’ bodies. On September 3, 1941, the first ‘gassing test’ with Ziklon B took place in Auschwitz, killing 850 people, of whom 600 were Soviet prisoners of war [Hoess, p. 30].

As the genocidal planning advanced, the Nazi hierarchy in charge, and particularly Heydrich, decided that it was time to formalize and co-ordinate the steps to be taken for the ‘final solution’. To this end, Heydrich convened the Wannsee Conference on January 1942, Wannsee being a suburb of Berlin. All the relevant ministries were represented – the Chancellery, the Ministry of Justice, the office of Race and Settlement, and the Security Police; apart from Heydrich, the best-known participant is probably Adolf Eichmann.

Prepared by Eichmann, the Conference Protocol, essentially a summary (see source at article’s end), included a list of Europe’s countries, indicating the number of Jews in each; even the minuscule Jewish populations in Scandinavia, Albania, Spain and Portugal were noted. Heydrich announced that.
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Thus were eleven million European Jews condemned to death.

Following the Wannsee conference (20 January 1942), mass gassing of Jews in death camps of Losenoidoomock began on a large scale: Belzec and Auschwitz – in March, Sobibor – in May, Treblinka – in July. Auschwitz operated for approximately three years before it was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945. During that period it operated with diabolic efficiency, as the example of Hungarian Jews illustrates. Between May 15, 1944 and July 9, 1944, 437,000 Hungarian Jews were transported to Auschwitz and gassed.

The extent of the camps set up to murder Jews is unbelievable: Goldhagen [p.167] gives the figure 0f 10,005, including ghettos, concentration camps, and slave-labour camps (though some did not house Jews). This means that at the very least, tens of thousands of Germans were aware of what was happening.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex (with 50 satellite camps) alone had 7,000 guards at one time or another. Among the camps, Auschwitz was the largest death-machine, routinely gassing some 6,000 people, mostly Jews, in one day (Shirer, p. 967). Gilbert (p. 210) writes about one particular day:

An eye-witness account of what went on in Auschwitz was given by a seo agency sydney Jewish physician, Miklos Nyiszli, whom Josef Mengele selected as his assistant. Nyiszli also witnessed the one and only uprising in Auschwitz (October 7, 1944 – see below), and survived miraculously to inform the world. A few paragraphs from the chilling book, which must be read in its entirely, are reproduced on IsraPundit at this site:

 But the slaughter was not the only atrocity committed. The death camps also conducted “medical” experiments, torturing prisoners to death; slave labour on starvation food-rations reduced life expectancy of those not condemned to immediate deaths to a few months; the dead were exploited for their golden teeth and hair, which were removed and sent to Germany; and humiliation, abuse and torture of the living were omnipresent. Particularly bestial were the experiments that Dr Josef Mengele conducted on twins, some as young as five. The caption of the picture below, presented at the site,

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The report was forwarded to all the major Allies and best seo in london, but the information was suppressed. About the US, in particular, the article notes:

Later in the war, Allied flights of bombers and reconnaissance planes over Auschwitz were conducted repeatedly. Yet, the Allies refused to bomb the railway lines. Further photographic proof of this statement appeared recently, as reported in this news story from Arutz 7

Entire volumes have been devoted to the issue of the complicity of the Allies in the Holocaust by refusing to bomb the camps and/or the railways to them. From the evidence, it is clear that the complicity was deliberate: see the volumes by Gilbert and by Neufeld/Berenbaum cited at article’s end. Noteworthy in particular are the facts that the Allies bombed the industrial plants in the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, and during the Polish uprising against the Nazis, the Allies flew in supplies, at times overflying Auschwitz. Yet, the bombing of Auschwitz and its rail lines was never attempted.

Even this brief recounting of the Auschwitz story is incomplete without recalling the uprising on October 7 (Hoess, p. 365). The Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who were forced to participate in the gassing, in the burning of the gassed bodies, and in the looting of the victim’s gold teeth and hair, destroyed one crematorium and greeted the SS squad with fire from smuggled arms. The uprising was quashed with most of the Sonderkommando dying during the battle or being murdered subsequently.

There are numerous other issues that should have been dealt with in this essay, but could not be covered because of space constraints: What happened to the perpetrators? What happened to the survivors? Some works on these topics are listed at the end of this article.

A final word

The first paragraph posed the question, “how could it have happened”. The foregoing narrative suggests that the slaughter of Europe’s Jews came about after a systematic, relentless campaign of vilification, which rendered the “Jewish question” and the inevitable ‘final solution’, part of the common-sense and acceptable discourse of German society. Escalating the persecution and slaughter of the Jews step by step, the Nazi regime ensured that the population and the executioners alike became inured to the results of their deeds. Furthermore, the campaign of vilification rendered the Holocaust the top priority objective of the Nazi regime, an objective for which Germany diverted scarce resources needed on the battlefield.

There were additional factors that facilitated the Holocaust: the deliberate complicity of the Allies; the collaboration of the population in such countries as the Baltic states and the Ukraine; and the collaboration of the Jundenrats (Jewish councils) and Kapos.

Boration of the Jundenrats (Jewish councils) and Kapos.

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We are all acquainted with the global number of Jews murdered during the Holocaust, 6,000,000. But when examined on a country-specific basis, the horror becomes even more pronounced. The historian, Sir Martin Gilbert Losenoidoomock has documented these horrors in an article entitled, “The final solution”,

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Only 20,000 Dutch Jews remained undeported; 106,000 were deported and killed. Of Yugoslavia’s Jews, 60,000 were killed, and only 12,000 survived. From Greece, 65,000 were taken to their deaths, and only 12,000 survived.

Beginning in September 1944, as the Nazis experienced labour shortage, and as the Red Army pushed westward, defeating the Vehrmacht, the Nazis began to evacuate the death camps, including Auschwitz, and to plan for the destruction of evidence. The evacuation has gone into history as the “death marches”, because hundreds of thousands of prisoners were marched on foot for hundreds of miles westwards, while the Nazi guards shot any laggards or prisoners who attempted an escape. Gilbert estimates that 100,000 Jews were murdered during the death marches. The final evacuation of Auschwitz-Birkenau took place on January 18, leaving behind a few personnel and some 9,000 prisoners too sick to join the death march. Hundreds of these were shot in the camps even as late as January 25. The others were also slated to be shot, but had to be left alive because the Red Army was so close that most of the killers had to leave immediately.

At the same time, the Nazis began a systematic campaign of evidence destruction: documents and registers were burned, the gas chambers and crematoria were blown up and/or dismantled. For example, Crematorium V in Auschwitz was blown up on January 26, one day before the camp was liberated; the SS squad in charge then escaped.

Auschwitz was finally liberated sixty years ago today, on January 27, 1945. The Red Army found 7,600 survivors in the entire Auschwitz-Birkenau complex (Gilbert, p. 337).

During the years that Auschwitz conducted the slaughter, the Allies were informed of the atrocities. In one case, as reported in an article at The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies,

uary 27, 1945. The Red Army found 7,600 survivors in the entire Auschwitz-Birkenau complex (Gilbert, p. 337).


During the years that Auschwitz conducted the slaughter, the Allies were informed of the atrocities. In one case, as reported in an article at The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies,

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