By: Britney Arinze


What is the death march?

Since the allied armies began closing in on the Nazi concentration camps. The death march was created. The death march an evacuation of all prisoner inmates in concentration camps and forced labor camps, during the death marches all of the prison inmates had to travel by foot in the and where forced to walk in the winter of 1944-1945. This was to conceal any crimes or eyewitnesses that had in the area.

The death marches had 3 goals

  1. The SS authorities didn't want the prisoners to tell the Allied and Soviet liberators what the SS authorities had been doing to the prisoners.
  2. The SS authorities wanted the prisoners to maintain production whenever and wherever possible.
  3. The SS leaders wanted to keep the prisoners as hostages for bargaining separate peace in the west to keep the Nazi regime.


January 18, 1945 before the Red Army arrived to Auschwitz

  • 66,000 prisoners were marched to Wodzislaw. The prisoners were put onto freight trains to the Gross-Rosens, Buchenwalds, Dachau, and Mauthausen conetration camps.

January 20, 1945

  • 7,000 Jews were marched from Stuffhofs satellite camps (6,000 men). In the 10 day march 700 men were murdered. Those who did not get murdered marched to the Baltic Sea and were driven to the sea and shot which lead to the prisoners dying. Only 13 survived.

Only 1/10 would survive the death marches.

What happens to the prisoners during the death marches

  • The death marches occurred in the winter
  • Prisoners had little amount of food, rest, and shelter
  • The death marches were described as "walking the prisoners to death"
  • Many of the prisoners died due to harsh conditioners, cold weather, and murder.
  • The prisoners that were too weak were shot and killed on spot. Their bodies were left on the road.


On January 17, 1945 Soviet troops begin to approach Auschwitz. The SS begin to evacuate the prisoners from Auschwitz marching them by foot to the interior of the German Reich. The SS forced 66,000 prisoners to march west of Auschwitz. They were forced to march northwest 30 miles to Gilwice, they were joined by other prisoners from subcamps East Upper Silesia (Birsmarkchuette, Althammer, Hidenburg) or they marched west for 35 miles to Wodzislaw in Upper Silesia. The inmates were joined by subcamps to the south of Auschwitz (Jawishcotwitz, Tschechowitz, Golleschau). The prisoners were marching in harsh conditions such as cold weather, starvation, exposure to diseases, etc. Many of the prisoners ided due to murder because they were weak or death due to the harsh conditions. At least 3,000 inmates died in Gilwice. Approximately 15,000 prisoners died during the evacuation from the subcamps and Auschwitz. Approximately 48,000 prisoners survived. The survivors were put on to unheated freight trains to Germany to another concentration camp.


January 17, 1945
  • Death marches from Auschwitz camp system begin.

The SS begins to evacuate the camp and satellite camps with over 60,000 prisoners. Thousands were killed many days before. They were forced to march to Wodzislaw. Any prisoner was immediately shot and killed. 15,000 inmates died. The rest were put on freight trains and deported to concentration camps in Germany.

January 25, 1946

  • The evacuation and death march of Sutthof concentration camp.

Nearly 50,000 prisoners had to be evacuated. About 5,000 of them marched to Baltic Sea Coast and where forced into water and shot and killed. The others were forced on to a death march to Laurenburg, Germany. The Germans forced the prisoners to walk back to Sutthof because the germans were cut off by advacing by the Soviet forces. Walking back the prisoners were treated brutally. Later, the prisoners were sjot and killed into the sea due to being encircled by Soviet forces.

January 27, 1945

  • The Soviet army enters Auschwitz and takes the remaining prisoners.

April 7, 1945

  • Death march from the Buchenwald camp

Nazi begin mass evacuation due to the American forces approaching. 30,000 prisoners are forced on to death marches. About 9,000 inmates die.

April 11, 1945

  • The surviving prisoners take control of the camp before the American forces enter.

April 26, 1945

  • Death march from Dachau camp

The SS forces 7,000 prisoners on a death march from Dachau to the south of Tegerness. The SS are being harsh, the weak gets killed. Many of the prisoners died due to harsh condition.

April 29, 1945

American forces enter the Dachau concentration camp


May 9, 1945

  • Soviet forces enter Stuttohoh


  • The prisoner's survival rate was less than 40%
  • There were 59 different death marches from the Nazi concentration camps during the final German domination.
  • The name "Death March" was given by the prisoners.
  • Many of the survivors were so weak they only were able to make it to he concentration camp. When the arrived they could barely work.
  • Prisoners had to sometimes march hundreds of miles, some SS authorities had destinations some walked the prisoners until death.


"Death Marches." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 20 May 2016.

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

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

"Encyclopedia Judaica:Death Marches." Death Marches. 2016 American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, n.d. Web. 19 May 2016.