After reading “The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking,” I cannot say that I am shocked by the finding of more and more Nazi brutality found in Germany. I am surprised that we didn’t find it sooner, that around 42,500 more ghettos and camps, brothels, death sites and more were undocumented. The article explains that as early as 1933, around 110 camps were designed to imprison some 10,000 political opponents and “to confine and sometimes kill not only Jews but also homosexuals, Gypsies, Poles, Russians and many other ethnic groups in Eastern Europe” (Lichtblau, 2013).
The article continues to explain that research began in the year 2000, and “expected to find perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos, based on postwar estimates. But the numbers kept climbing — first to 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500” (Lichtblau, 2013).
The article broke down the numbers for us: “30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers. In Berlin alone, researchers have documented some 3,000 camps and so-called Jew houses, while Hamburg held 1,300 sites.
Dr. Dean, a co-researcher, said the findings left no doubt in his mind that many German citizens, despite the frequent claims of ignorance after the war, must have known about the widespread existence of the Nazi camps at the time” (Lichtblau, 2013).
The Holocaust happened over 68 years ago. Where are the stories of these victims? The ones hidden from our view? The ones the Nazi’s kept secret? I want to know them. I want to know what happened.
Another event that a fellow blogger brought up to me, that often goes unnoticed and even I whom I thought knew so much about WWII didn’t know about was the Nanking Massacre. This event left around 300,000 people dead in 1937, when the Japanese tried to overtake Nanking. The Chinese tried to protect it, thus putting themselves at the cruel hands of the Japanese.
The reports from the Nanking Massacre website report that “The Japanese appear to want the horrors to remain as long as possible, to impress on the Chinese the terrible results of resisting Japan,” thus leaving the roads covered in dead bodies. Some Chinese now, say that this event was a fabrication. The reports from the NY Times and other Journalists at the time say other wise. The Japanese, as far as I can tell, don’t trust the Chinese due to these events but attribute their nationality and ability to form their own nation because of it. The details are horrifying. Rape, slaughter, mass murder, forced rape among families, decapitation, body mutilation, more. These are human beings, with families and lives just like the Jews and numerous others who perished in WWII. Why do we not know more?
I post this history next to and with the more well-known Holocaust in Germany and Europe, because it’s equally important and yet…shocking. Yet I have never learned about it in great detail. I vow to learn more.
I fear that as time passes and our survivors die, the level of importance that these events hold will slowly die too. We can have our stories, museums, movies, articles — but the survivors give these stories life that we can relate to. Bringing us to feel emotion unlike anything else. We have to actively keep the history alive…
Lichtblau, E. (2013) The New York Times: “The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking,”