First, let's be clear about a few things. My area of knowledge is the general path the Holocaust took. I am not an expert on individual camps. Others have far more knowledge. A great source there is @AgainstDenial - and I expect they'll have things to say or to correct me. /2
Jewish individuals had been included in the roundups of dissidents to be sent to concentration camps as early as 1933. Following Kristallnacht, over 20,000 men were sent. These were categorically *not* extermination camps, yet there were many deaths. /5
Following the Anschluss (the 'rejoining' of Austria) and the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland, lists of figures to be found up & imprisoned or killed were circulated.
This was part of a larger 'Generalplan Ost' to depopulate the East. /6 https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/microsoft%2520word%2520-%25206247.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwj-mavQ-9DeAhXC0qQKHSYCBaQQFjAYegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw227Jk_pTfso9Qbxt4fTh8-&cshid=1542098451387 …
During the invasion of Poland and in the couple of years after, between 'liquidations', anti-Partisan actions and other terror campaigns, thousands of Jews were killed without ever seeing a camp, or being recorded - many atrocities were carried out by regular Wehrmacht. /7
Throughout the Polish campaign and into the invasion of Russia, 'Einsatzgruppen' - essentially death squads - followed the army, conducting mass shootings and other atrocities. /8 https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/einsatzgruppen …
While many of these killings were recorded, some weren't. Those that were, show that an obscene number of people could be murdered in one day. Over 33,000 men, women and children were killed at Babi Yar, Ukraine, on 29 - 30 September, 1941. /9 https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/kiev-and-babi-yar …
It has been suggested that extermination camps came out of reports of psychological breakdown of the men committing these murders. While this may be partly true, many other factors played a role in setting up the Final Solution. /10
On January 20, 1942, officials from various Reich offices and organizations met at a villa at Wannsee, outside Berlin, to formulate a coordinated response to 'the Jewish Question'. This was the 'Final Solution'. /11 http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/holoprelude/Wannsee/wannseeconference.html …
This is when extermination camps were set up. Let's make a distinction here - while many dying of illness, beatings, overwork, starvation and straight up murder by guards in *concentration* camps, *extermination* camps were killing centres./12 https://www.yadvashem.org/holocaust/about/final-solution/death-camps.html …
There were 6 extermination camps - Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek and Auschwitz (See purple dots). Auschwitz also served different purposes at different times. Trainloads were brought here and murdered in gas chambers and elsewhere without ever being recorded. /13
Several German concentration camps also had gas chambers installed - often smaller than the extermination camps, outside Germany, but still used throughout the war. These included Dachau and Sachsenhausen. /14
Most extermination camps kept running until very late in the war, when some had efforts made to destroy them, or remove/massacre the prisoners. Notably, the Russians liberated Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. /15 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/01/27/what-a-soviet-soldier-saw-when-his-unit-liberated-auschwitz-70-years-ago/?utm_term=.4d38a12d812b …
Holocaust deniers tend to focus on a few key details - burning capacity of ovens, etc - to focus their attempts to 'debunk' the Holocaust. Like I said, @AgainstDenial has a whole site here completely dedicated to debunking these cranks. /16 http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/
The simple fact of the matter is this: Six million Jews *weren't* killed in the Nazi gas chambers of Poland. They were killed there, in Germany, in France, in Czechoslovakia, in Ukraine and Russia, in Italy - everywhere the Nazis went. /17
They starved, the perished from diseases like typhus and diptheria. They were shot and toppled into ravines. They were herded into barns which were set alight. They were beaten and died from their wounds. They were buried alive. Day in, day out, for years. /18
Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945. This matter is settled. While there will be clarifications as new evidence is discovered, the figures will not shift in any meaningful sense. This has been verified by decades of historians. /19
There are also those who like to bring in the crimes of the Soviet Union at this juncture. I would never deny or attempt to refute the genocidal actions of Stalin, yet I would say this - the Nazis were vastly more effective murderers, bringing a new vocabulary of death. /20
So, if confronted by Holocaust deniers, understand that they're harping on details or minor events that are so irrelevant to the larger pattern of systematic murder as to be laughable. Send them @AgainstDenial's way for specific clarifications. /21
@YadVashem has a thorough overview of the Holocaust with many digital exhibits and includes the 'Shoah Names Database' ('Shoah' being the Hebrew name for the Holocaust), containing the stories of many victims. /22 https://www.yadvashem.org/
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (@USHMM) also has massive digital collections and informative pages on nearly every aspect of the Holocaust and the Nazi persecution of Jews. /23 https://www.ushmm.org/
You know what, though? It's up to everyone of us who cares about things like historical truth and basic human decency to read up on this stuff. As the survivors begin to pass on, we need people speaking out against attempts to smear or muddy the horrors they went through. /FIN
You can follow @MikeStuchbery_.
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