Death Marches

By: Megan Chard

Death Marches were an evacuation of prisoners from concentration camps. The evacuations were happening because the SS officers didn't want their enemies to have the prisoners alive because the prisoners would tell the horrible things that the Nazis did to them. The Nazis felt that they needed the prisoners to bargain and also to make artillery. The prisoners that were too weak to march were shot. As many as 66,000 prisoners were in just one march.
66,000 people marched from Auschwitz to Wodzilaw. One in four prisoners died during the march, 700 murdered, and only 13 known survivors. During this march the prisoners had to travel thirty-five miles. They rode freight trains to Gross-Rosen and had to walk to beaches of the Baltic Sea, where they were shot. Of the 7,000 prisoners, 6,000 of them were women, I believe this is because they had nothing for the women to do if they couldn't do labor. People knew that when they go to the camps then the women are going to die, this is a way of catching them off guard and torturing them more.

Important Dates

January 18 1945: This is when the death marches from the Auschwitz camps began.

January 25, 1945: The evacuation and death march from Stutthof concentration camp.

April 7, 1945: Death march from Buchenwald concentration camp.

April 26, 1945: Death march from Dachau concentration camp.

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Interesting to me

  • Prisoners actually came up with the name "death march"
  • Out of 7,000 prisoners, 6,000 of them were women
  • Many prisoners died of starvation
  • The prisoners had to travel many miles on foot during the winter
  • I had never thought to myself "why didn't they just kill them" until now. I know that it's a horrible thing to say but I truly believe that the prisoners would have been happier to have just died instead of going through all this suffering and torture.