The End Of The Holocaust: The Liberation Of The Camps

In This Review

The End Of The Holocaust: The Liberation Of The Camps

By Jon Bridgman
Areopagitica Press, 1990
158 pp.

This interesting book aims to fill a gap in the Holocaust literature having to do with misconceptions brought about by the circumstances of the liberation of the concentration camps. Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald and Dachau, which were liberated by the Americans and British, became in Western eyes horrifying proof of the Nazi policy of genocide, but these were by no means the worst of the camps. The corpses and "living skeletons" found in them were victims not so much of deliberate policy as of the overcrowding, famine and epidemics that swept the German camps in the chaos of the final weeks of World War II. The extermination camps were largely in Poland and were liberated by the Russians, who were-somewhat mysteriously-unforthcoming about them. (Most of these camps were at least partly evacuated or even, like Treblinka, obliterated by the Nazis.) In 1945 and for some time after, Auschwitz, in which by far the largest numbers died, was scarcely known in the West. There are eyewitness accounts of the liberation of several camps, including a particularly moving one by Clara Greenbaum about Bergen-Belsen.

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