Death Marches

By: Stewart Bovi

Timeline

General Information

  • Over 250,000 of 750,000 prisoners were sent on death marches.
  • By the end of all the death marches roughly 200,000-250,00 prisoners had perished.
  • 25-33% of the prisoners killed on death marches were Jews.
  • Those too weak to march were either left at the camps or killed.

Why the Death Marches Happened

The Nazis began evacuating concentration camps in the summer of 1944 because the Allies were closing in on both the east and the west. The Nazis evacuated the camps and tried to destroy as much evidence as possible to try and be able to deny the events of the Holocaust.

Stutthof Death March

In January of 1945 the Stutthof camp in northern Poland began its evacuation. At the beginning of the march there were 50,000 prisoners. About 7,000 Jewish prisoners, 6,000 of whom were women, were marched to the Baltic Sea, forced into the water and shot, there were only 13 survivors. The other 40,000 were to be marched to Lauenburg in eastern Germany. Fortunately for the prisoners Soviet cut them off. The survivors were forced back to Stutthof in severe winter conditions, thousands died from the weather and brutal treatment from the SS guards.

In April 1945, hundreds of prisoners were driven to the Baltic Sea and shot again, the rest were evacuated from the camp by seas since the Soviet forces surrounded the camp. 4,000 were sent on a boat to Germany while the rest were sent to different camps. Many prisoners drowned along the way. The estimated death toll is that over 25,000 prisoners died.

Citations

"Stutthof." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 May 2016.

Death Marches. Place of Publication Not Identified: Book On Demand, 2013.Yadavashem. Web. 22 May 2016.