Death Marches

By: Mae Hinson

The Death Marches

The name Death Marches was made by the prisoners themselves. It began in the winter of 1944-1945. The Soviet began to get closer to the concentration camps where the Jews and other prisoners were being held. This made Heinrich Himmler worried that they would get too close. He ordered that all Jews were to be evacuated and marched towards the middle of the Reich. The SS leaders did not want any of the prisoners to be saved by the Soviet alive, so they couldn't tell their story's in the camps. They marched for days on in the cold, bitter winter and were given little to no food. Some prisoners were brought by train and others had to march. The SS officers killed any prisoner that began to grow weak and could no longer walk. 60,000 prisoners were forced to march from Auschwitz, later 50,000 prisoners were forced to march from the Stuttof concentration camps, 30,000 prisoners marched from Buchenwald, and 7,000 prisoners marched from Dachau.

Stutthof Death March

On January 25, 1945 the Nazi's began to evacuate 50,000 prisoners of the Stutthof concentration camp. 5,000 of the prisoners were forced to march into the Baltic Sea and were shot by the officers. The remaining prisoners marched to Laudenburg where Soviet armies were also going . They were forced to turn back and go to Stutthof again. On the journey back thousands of prisoners died from the harsh conditions. Three months later when the prisoners arrived back to the camp there was Soviet forces all around them. This caused the Germans to force more prisoners into the sea to kill them, and ship others back to Germany to other concentration camps. In the end around half of the prisoners (only 25,000 of the 50,000) were taken back with the Soviet armies.
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Major Dates & Events

- January 18, 1945: Death march from Auschwitz

- January 25, 1945: Death march from Stutthof

- April 7, 1945: Death march from Buchenwald

- April 26, 1945: Death march from Dachau

Citations

"Death Marches." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, n.d. Web. 19 May 2016.

"Death Marches." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 19 May 2016.

"Stutthof." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 19 May 2016.