Holocaust Survivors Reflect on Astounding New Findings

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The number of camps and ghettos established by Nazi Germany is far more than previously believed - 42,500 - according to new research from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the findings are shocking both scholars and descendants of Holocaust victims and survivors.

“Even for a lot of historians who have studied Nazi Germany this number is astounding,” said Geoffrey Megargee, one of the lead editors on the Museum’s project who has worked on the project for 13 years, in a phone interview.

The total number includes ghettos, concentration camps, forced labor camps, POW camps and others, which existed in the 1930s and 40s across Europe, but the majority, over 30,000, are forced labor camps. The findings were first published by the New York Times.

“It calls into question about the claim that nobody knew about the camps because they were all over the place,” said Lore Rasch. “You knew if you wanted to know.”

Rasch, 80, who is retired from teaching in the South Bronx, says her grandparents died in Nazi camps in southern France. She spoke during the Museum’s 20th anniversary national tour stop in New York on Sunday. She says it is hard to believe those who claimed they didn't know the camps existed.

Emma Wohlberg, 73, of Brooklyn, whose grandparents died in Auschwitz, said the Holocaust Museum's research will be crucial for future generations.

“It is important, because you have to learn,” she said. “The world has to learn from the mistakes and also never to repeat it.”

The Holocaust Memorial Museum is publishing its findings in a seven-volume encyclopedia.


Julianne Welby


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Comments [4]

Jasmine Cruz from Connecticut

Lore Rasch was my 6th grade teacher at P.S. 31 in the Bronx. My life was forever changed by the influence of such a worldy, intelligent, warm, kind woman. It would mean so much to myself and other classmates if we could find some way of contacting her. After 25 years we have not nor will we ever forget her!

Dec. 04 2014 12:08 AM

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Mar. 07 2013 04:55 AM

The question is why is this only arrived at now?

Mar. 04 2013 04:58 PM
Nacho Man from Stockholm

Why is this surprising at all? It's long been known that the nazis used imprisoned people for slave labor, labor that was rented out widely in numbers large and small. They went by the thousands to factories and individually as farm hands, domestic servants etc. The numbers tatooed onto the bodies of Holocaust victims were IBM Holerith code that described each person by sex, education, profession etc: data used, among other things, to facilitate their use as slaves. With the nazis rise to power Germany's foreign exchanges shrank to the point where became dependent on looting goods from occupied countries. In this pathetic state the Holocaust was used for profit. So, I'm not a bit surprised to learn that slave labor was exploited far wider that previously thought.

Mar. 04 2013 06:27 AM

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