Death Marches

The Holocaust: 1933 to 1945

Death Marches

Some unfortunate people living as prisoners in the concentration camps during the holocaust were sent on "Death Marches", or forced marches of camp prisoners from their current camps toward Germany during the German Retreat. The term "death march" most likely was created by concentration camp prisoners. It refers to the long distances they are forced to travel under harsh conditions and heavy guard. The SS soldiers most often mistreated and killed prisoners.


About 1 in 4 people died while on the freight trains out of the camps.

On the marches, most were killed before or during. If you could not keep up, you were shot. Those on the march still alive when they made it to shore were driven into the water and shot.

While 6 million Jewish citizens were killed, 5 million non-Jewish people were victims of the holocaust, too.


This newspaper from the time of death marches shows that these things really did happen; they were a big deal. People from all over were learning more about these horrible events from people living as prisoners. Stories from people who survived these marches can tell the public the extremely harsh conditions they had to go through.
Holocaust Survivor Testimonies: The Death Marches

Purposes For Concentration Camp Evacuations

There were three main reasons concentration camp evacuations occured:

1. SS authorities were afraid if prisoners survived the concentration camps, they would fall into enemies hands and share the stories of their life as a prisoner to Allied and Soviet LIberators.

2. The SS thought they needed the prisoners to keep up the production of military equipment and weapons whenever it was possible.

3. Some of the SS leaders had believed, without reason, that they could use the Jewish prisoners held at concentration camps as hostages to "bargain for a separate peace in the west that would guarantee the survival of Nazi regime".


"I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out." - Anne Frank

This quote, to me, tells a lot about some kids minds and opinions during the holocaust. She is trying to say how she needs to keep up her spirit and hopes; they are in a different situation she is used to for a long period of time. She needs to accept it and try to live her life as she always has. But her main thought in this quote is to remember her past life and how she grew up. The ideals her daily life has taught her cannot change and she has the confidence they will come out alive ("..for perhaps the time will come when i shall be able to carry them out."). Her mind is trying to convince herself that she will have a life of her own when she is older and should continue those ideals although under these conditions. One day, she will be able to carry these things she has learned, not forgotten, to help her in her older life.


*Approximately 100,000 Jews died during death marches

*The term "Holocaust" was originally a Bible word for "burnt offerings"

*When some prisoners arrived to the concentration camps, they were asked to undress to take a shower. Rather than them giving them a shower, they were driven into gas chambers and killed.

*The first victims of the holocaust were the disabled


Death marches made a huge impact on the Holocaust. These men, women, and even young children were treated horribly. They worked in concentration camps, under harsh conditions, daily. Some were forced to help the production of military equipment; beaten or even killed when they didn't do something right. Some weren't even able to make it to the concentration camp itself - they were taken straight to the gas chambers and killed. Children were separated from their parents, spouses split up and taken in different trains. Others who thought they had survived the camps were wrong; they were forced onto death marches. If they could not keep up or were injured, they were killed right on the spot. Peoples' hopes of getting out alive of the Holocaust disappeared during the death marches. They watched their newly made friends be shot or freeze or starve to death. The death marches helped to the struggle of the Holocaust live on for a longer period of time,