Holocaust Far Worse Than We Thought

Museum research greatly raises number of camps, ghettos

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 2, 2013 9:54 AM CST | Updated Mar 2, 2013 2:00 PM CST

(Newser) – No doubt you've heard of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and the Warsaw Ghetto, but probably not the Munchen-Schwabing camp in Germany. It was perhaps the smallest slave-labor camp run by the Nazis, with maybe a dozen people there at a time forced into manual labor, writes Eric Lichtblau in the New York Times. Researchers at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum say it's now becoming clear that such facilities were far more prevalent than thought in Germany and throughout Europe during the war. They've identified more than 42,500 of various sizes, about six times the number they expected to find. The sites ranged from killing centers to brothels to ghettos to labor camps.

“We knew before how horrible life in the camps and ghettos was,” says the director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, “but the numbers are unbelievable.” The lead editors of a multi-volume encyclopedia being published by the museum put the number of people imprisoned or killed at the sites at 15 million to 20 million. “Nobody even knows about these places,” says one survivor of five lesser-known camps, who now volunteers at the museum. “Everything should be documented. That’s very important. We try to tell the youngsters so that they know, and they’ll remember.”

In this 1943 photo provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum courtesy of George Kadish/Zvi Kadushin, Jews are gathered at an assembly point in the Kaunas ghetto in  Lithuania.
In this 1943 photo provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum courtesy of George Kadish/Zvi Kadushin, Jews are gathered at an assembly point in the Kaunas ghetto in Lithuania.   (AP Photo/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
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The figure (of 42,500) is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings ... - Eric Lichtblau, New York Times

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