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death marches

             Perhaps some of the most vivid images of the Holocaust are the death marches, when tens of thousands of Jews at one time were paraded to the concentration camps in Germany, Poland and Austria. Some of the more notable death marches included the mass march from the Warsaw Ghetto to the camp at Auschwitz and the march from Dachau to Tegernsee towards the end of the war. One of the keys to the relative successes of Hitler's extermination plans was that few people escaped the horrors at the end of the death march. So there were only a handful of people who were able to actually substantiate claims of the mass extermination that took place at camps like Auschwitz, and even fewer who could fan the flames of resistance by retelling the horrific stories of what occurred. .
             One of the most interesting examples of the kinds of brutality that occurred and the execution of the death march can be assessed in the events that followed the ghettoization of the Jewish community in Warsaw. After the occupation of Poland, the Nazi regime determined the necessity centralizing the Jewish community. It was a way to force many into the killing facilities at Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1942 and 1944. The views of some of the survivors of Auschwitz help to emphasize the history of the ghettoization process and the quelling of opposition to Nazi control. The process of ghettoization has been related in the stories of many of the survivors of the death marches, many of who lived through ghettoization in Hungary and Poland under the directives of Adolph Eichmann (Wiesel). Under the plan for the Judenfrei-Europe (Jew-free), the directive was set for the use of the death marches to transport Jews from regions of Europe like Hungary to the more centralized extermination camps in Poland. Over 500,000 Hungarian Jews, for example, were exterminated in the midst of Hitler's plan, many of which were transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps for extermination.

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