Today we will continue with the Holocaust with one final documentary: Auschwitz: The Forgotten Evidence. The next blog will feature a handy list of what documentaries I featured on this blog.
A US Plane was flying over Southern Poland. What the crew was filming was a new Nazi chemical plant, however, when the film was developed something else caught their eye. It was about seven miles away from the chemical plant. What they caught on camera was Auschwitz. They had captured these images completely by accident. The true horror of genocide was captured in one moment. They have filed away and forgotten.
The images captured a train arriving. The SS selecting the healthiest people. Another image showed the elderly and infirm going to the gas chambers. The crematorium was captured. However, these photographs were never examined during the war. They have filed away and forgotten about until now. These photographs create more questions than answered. Why did the Allies not bomb Auschwitz? Why did they not bomb the railroads leading to the camp? What do these photos reveal about Allied knowledge of the concentration camps?
The Allied War effort gathered intelligence on the Nazi state. This intelligence gathering was important for the Allied. They had reports from the Underground and Jewish Relief agencies in regards to the rising anti-Semitism of the Nazis. They told of the segregation of Jews into the Ghetto. Eventually, the Nazi terror turned into mass murder. The Nazis were rounding up Jews and communists to execute them. Then in 1942, the Nazi code was broken.
There were no reports of trains being loaded and transported east. Nobody knew how or where millions of Jews disappeared to. The Foreign Office finally received a telegraph. This telegraph revealed that the Jews were the target of mass extermination. This shocked the British Intelligence office. It defied human logic. Why would the Nazis use valuable trains to deport millions of people instead of war supplies? The Intelligence and Foreign Office needed more evidence.
Survivors started sharing their stories about the Holocaust. They recall the deportations and being packed into the trains. They were frightened people. Then they recall arriving at the camp. The families were separated, even though they were promised that they could see their families every Sunday. This was a lie. The Nazis told the people to forget their families, that they will never see them again.
What the Allies did not know was that the Nazi extermination plan was underway. The Jews were being shipped to Auschwitz. The ariel photographs show the plans of the camp. Auschwitz One had one gas chamber and was used to kill the Poles, Russian Prisoners of War, and others. Auschwitz Two was used to kill the Jews.
In 1943, the Allies learned about the existence of Auschwitz. The Allies believed that these camps were only slave labor camps, and figured people died from exhaustion. They never realized it was killing on an industrial scale. The mass extermination of people defied human logic. In the summer of 1944, the full horrors were revealed. Something had to be done to stop the killing.
A report was given to the intelligence offices of Britain and Washington DC. There was a witness to Auschwitz and he wrote about what he saw. Then there was a plan that revealed a period for more intense killing and the plans for the Hungarian Jews. The Hungarian Jews were the only group not touched by the Holocaust. This group was immediately gassed and burned…
Auschwitz: The Forgotten Evidence is another good documentary on the Holocaust and shows the intelligence efforts of the Allies to gather evidence. If you need another option for a class on the Holocaust.
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