Guide They Were There

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Many camps worked their prisoners to death. Approximately one million people died in concentration camps over the course of the Holocaust. This figure does not include those killed at extermination camps.

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The crematorium at Majdanek Extermination Camp. Between its establishment in and its liberation in , over 78, people were murdered at Majdanek. Extermination camps were used by the Nazis from to to murder Jews and, on a smaller scale, Roma. These were:. The facility contained three gas vans in which victims were murdered by carbon monoxide poisoning. Once dead, the vans were driven to a nearby forest and the victims were buried in mass graves.

These camps were specifically built near railway lines to make transportation easier. Instead of vans, stationary gas chambers, labelled as showers, were built to murder people with carbon monoxide poisoning created using diesel engines. A concentration camp had been established at Majdanek in In the spring of , following the Wannsee Conference, the camp was adapted to become an extermination camp by the addition of gas chambers and crematoria. Auschwitz-Birkenau was a complex, consisting of a concentration camp, a forced labour camp and an extermination camp. Eventually it had a network of more than 40 satellite camps.

By , four new crematoria, with gas chambers attached, had been built in Auschwitz II. Approximately 1. Not everyone who arrived at the extermination camps was murdered on arrival.

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Some were selected for various work tasks to help the camp operations run smoothly. Jobs included sorting and processing the possessions of everyone who arrived at the camp, administrative work and heavy manual work. The majority of those selected for any kind of work within this type of camp would die within weeks or months of their arrival from lack of food, disease or overwork. Those that survived were often killed after a short period and replaced with new arrivals. Over the course of the Holocaust, more than three million people were killed at extermination camps.

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To escape antisemitism in Germany, the Wiener family had moved to Amsterdam in In , Ruth was incarcerated in Westerbork transit camp and later Bergen-Belsen concentration camp with her mother and two sisters. At some camps inmates could still receive and send post. The Red Cross facilitated many of these letters between countries at war with each other. This telegram was sent from Dr.

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Wilhelm Gross, who was incarcerated in Westerbork transit camp, to his daughter Dora Gross, who had escaped as a refugee to Britain. Transit camps were camps where prisoners were briefly detained prior to deportation to other Nazi camps. Here, they implemented antisemitic and racial policies as they had done in Germany.

These policies led to the establishment of a number of transit camps across the different occupied countries.

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Prisoners were held in these camps prior to their deportation to other camps, such as Bergen-Belsen or Auschwitz. Overall, the conditions in the transit camps were similar to that of concentration camps — unsanitary and awful. Facilities were poor and overcrowding was common. Unlike most of the concentration camps within Germany not all of the transit camps were run by the SS.

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Camps could be run by local collaborators in the countries that they were based, such as Drancy, near Paris in France, which was run by the French Police until The Nazis started using forced labour shortly after their rise to power. These were separate from the SS-run concentration camps, where prisoners were also forced to perform labour. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, the use of labour again increased sharply. The invasion of the Soviet Union in June further heightened demands on the war economy, and in turn, for labour. At the same time, this invasion brought thousands of potential new workers under Nazi control.

These prisoners were called Ostarbeiter eastern workers and Fremdarbeiter foreign workers.

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The Nazis deported these people to forced labour camps, where they worked to produce supplies for the increasingly strained war economy or in construction efforts. As in most Nazi camps, conditions in forced labour camps were inadequate. Inmates were only ever seen as temporary, and, in the Nazis view, could always be replaced with others: there was a complete disregard for the health of prisoners.

They were subject to insufficiencies of food, equipment, medicine and clothing, whilst working long hours. There was little or no time for rest or breaks. They invented so many devices and systems we take for granted today that it really does take 30 minutes to review them in any depth. And there's even a brief glimpse of Watson , IBM's Jeopardy -playing computer that will make a splash later this year. This is an industrial film created for a computer company, but it's the best film of its type that I've seen.

Directed by Errol Morris and scored by Philip Glass , the documentary is a remarkable testament to the quality you get when you hire top talent.

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