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Operation Reinhard was the mass gassing of the two million Jews in the General Government

which gathered momentum in 1942.


- Authorities created a fake train station to maintain the fiction that the place was merely a
transit camp
They started cremation as bodies in mass graves began to heave and created a stench, and
cremation was more efficient
German Jews were told they were going to be resettled in the east so they were allowed to
take personal belongings and travelled in proper railway cars
A semi-permanent Jewish workforce of 1000 inmates were employed. There were teams of
specialist hair cutters, extractors of gold from teeth and burial/cremation units. Their reprieve
from death rarely lasted a few months. They were poorly fed, beaten and contracted
dysentery and typhus. Sick/weak frequently sent to gas chambers. SS overseers encouraged
entertainment such ass chess and card games, and football matches between SS staff and
work-Jews.
Strangl devoted family man and a devout catholic felt little sympathy for the Jews
Franz a sadist as described by survivors, trained his dog to attack genitals of his victims
Death camps slowly dismantled as the goal had been largely achieved of killing Polish Jews
at Belzec and the others soon followed. Auschwitzs gas chambers were now adequate to kill
the rest of Europes Jews. Globocniks appointment to SS leader in Istria August 1943
marked the end of Reinhard. By the end of Nov 43, all camps had been dismantled and the
remaining working-Jews were shot. Himmlers orders were to demolish every trace of the
camps by planting pine trees and buildings razed and ground ploughed
Autumn of 1943 50k Jews died at Belzec, 150-200k Sobibor, 900k-1.2m Treblinka.
Germany was weakening its economy by killing Jews. They were keen to keep Jews who
were of economic benefit at least in terms of war effort. Goering and Speer appreciated the
irrationality of destroying a skilled/productive labour force argued against mass killing. SS
owned factories in GenGov and a large employer of Jewish labour, SS acquired huge income.
Majdanek (primarily a labour camp for Poles and Russian prisoners) and Auschwitz were
created to serve a dual purpose. They were extermination centres and labour camps where
Jews received a temporary stay of execution.
Hoess had no moral qualms a fanatical nationalist and member of SS from 1934 he worked
his way up the career ladder. Wanted something more efficient than carbon monoxide ended
up being Zyklon B tested of Soviet prisoners
Auschwitz development
Auschwitz was somewhat exposed, Hoess wanted to shift to a secluded camp 3km from the
site known as Birkenau built around two cottages. Windows were blocked and airtight
doors/walls added. Bunker 1 (the first cottage) began operations early 42. Good railway
connections, was convenient to send Jews from most of Europe and quickly grew into the
largest of the Nazi labour camp housing 150k people. Auschwitz 1 original camp,
Auschwitz 2 at Birkenau extermination camp, Auschwitz 3, the industrial centre at
Monowitz.

The killing process was quick and streamlined. The unfit were condemned to immediate
death in gas chambers. 30% of each transport fit for work. Victims marched or taken by truck
to Birkenau. Bunker 1 held 800, Bunker 2 1200. Asked to undress quickly in a friendly
manner to take a bath. Then herded into a gas chamber, steel doors closed and gas pellets
emptied into the chamber through vents in the ceiling. All dead within 20 minutes.
Prisoners forced to display markings of different colours on their uniforms. Red political,
green criminal, purple Jehovahs Witness, black shiftless element, pink gay, brown
gypsy, Jews Star of David
Medical experiments included finding a method of sterilisation by Himmler. Clauberg a
leading gynaecologist injected various chemicals into Jewish womens ovaries. Others had
massive doses of radiation producing burns and castration.
Hungarian Jews were the only ones to so far escape the Holocaust. Admiral Horthy who for
the most agreed with Hitler refused to deport Jews. Hitler sent troops in Hungary to appoint a
more compliant government. Eichmann and his staff also arrived in Budapest and set
concentration camps and ghettos. Mass deportations to Auschwitz began May 44. 12k a day
killed on arrival. Word of mass killings eventually leaked out.
Himmler intensified efforts to make Europe Jew-free. He examined some of the districts and
camps that were previously overlooked
Himmler stopped the annihilation of Jews Nov 44 remaining uncertain. Germany perhaps
short of labour even Jewish workers needed. Last Jewish transport reached Auschwitz on 3
Nov.
17 Jan roll call for the last time. Germans counted 67012 prisoners less than half of what was
in August. Germans ordered evacuation of all but 6k inmates who were too young or infirm
to move. 100s of those left behind without food or fuel died. When soviets reached the camp
27 Jan 2800 people were alive. Many were so emaciated they died soon after liberation.
Hoess stats Upper Silesia and GenGov 250k, Germany and Theresienstadt 100k,
Netherlands 95k, Belgium 20k, France 110k, Greece 65k, Hungary 400k, Slovakia 90k.