Natzweiler-Struthof was a German-run concentration camp located in the Vosges Mountains close to the Alsatian village of Natzwiller in France, the town of Schirmeck, about 50 km southwest of the city of Strasbourg. Natzweiler-Struthof was the only concentration camp established by the Nazis on French territory, though there were French-run temporary camps such as the one at Drancy. Between 1941 and 1944, Alsace was administered by Germany as an integral part of the German Reich; the camp operated from 21 May 1941 and was evacuated early September 1944. Only a small staff of Nazi SS personnel remained until the camp was liberated by the French First Army under the command of the U. S. Sixth Army Group on 23 November 1944. About 52,000 prisoners were estimated to be held there during its time of operation; the prisoners were from the resistance movements in German-occupied territories. It was a transit camp and, as the war went on, a place of execution; some died from the exertions of their malnutrition.
There were an estimated 22,000 deaths at the camp, including its network of subcamps. Many prisoners were moved to other camps; the anatomist August Hirt conducted some of his efforts in making a Jewish skeleton collection at the camp. A documentary movie was made about the 86 named men and women who were killed there for that project; some of the people responsible for atrocities in this camp were brought to trial after the war ended. The camp is preserved as a museum in memory of those killed there; the European Centre of Deported Resistance Members is located at this museum, focusing on those held. The Monument to the Departed stands at the site; the present museum was restored in 1980 after damage by neo-Nazis in 1976. Among notable prisoners, the writer Boris Pahor was interned in Natzweiler-Struthof and wrote his novel Necropolis based on his experience. Natzweiler-Struthof operated between 21 May 1941 and the beginning of September 1944, when the SS evacuated the camp to Dachau, its construction was overseen by Hans Hüttig in the spring of 1941.
The camp was evacuated and its surviving prisoners sent on a "death march" in early September 1944 with only a small SS unit keeping the camp's operations. On 23 November 1944, this camp with its small staff was discovered and liberated by the French First Army as part of the U. S. Sixth Army Group, on the same day that the city of Strasbourg was liberated by the Allies. Through 1945, Natzweiler-Struthof had a complex of about 70 subcamps or annex camps; the total number of prisoners reached 52,000 of 32 nationalities. Inmates originated from various countries, including Poland, the Soviet Union, the Netherlands, Germany, modern day Slovenia and Norway; the camp was specially set up for Nacht und Nebel prisoners, in most cases, people of the resistance movements. It was a labor camp and a transit camp, as many prisoners were sent to other Nazi concentration camps before the final evacuation; as the war continued, it became a death camp as well. Some people died from the exertions of the work while poorly fed.
Deaths are estimated at 22,000 at the subcamps. Interned prisoners provided forced labor for the Wehrmacht war industry, through contracts with private industry; this was done at the numerous annex camps, some of which were located in mines or tunnels in order to avoid damage from Allied air raids. Work, hunger and the lack of health care caused many epidemics; some worked in quarries. Daimler-Benz moved its aircraft engine factory from Berlin to a gypsum mine near the Neckarelz annex camp; the disused autobahn Engelberg Tunnel in Leonberg, near Stuttgart, was used by the Messerschmitt Aircraft Company which employed 3,000 prisoners in forced labor. Another annex camp at Schörzingen was established in February 1944 for extracting crude oil from oil shale; the total number of prisoners at all of the Natzweiler subcamps was estimated to be 19,000 while there was between 7,000 and 8,000 in the main camp at Natzweiler. The camp held a crematorium and a jury rigged gas chamber outside the main camp, not used for mass extermination but for selective extermination, as part of the human experimentation programs, in particular on the problems of fighting a war, like typhus among the troops.
Doctors Otto Bickenbach and Helmut Rühl were accused of crimes committed at this camp. Hans Eisele was stationed in this camp for a time. August Hirt committed suicide in June 1945. Strenuous work, medical experiments, poor nutrition and mistreatment by the SS guards resulted in most of the documented deaths, although some prisoners were executed directly, by hanging, by gunshot or by gas; the female prisoner-population in the camp was small, only seven SS women served in Natzweiler-Struthof camp and 15 in the Natzweiler complex of subcamps. The main duty of the female supervisors in Natzweiler was to guard the few women who came to the camp for medical experiments or to be executed; the camp trained several female guards who went to the Geisenheim and Geislingen subcamps in western Germany. Leo Alexander, the key medical advisor at the Nure
History of the Jews in Hungary
Jews have a long history in Hungary, with some records predating the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in 895 CE by over 600 years. Written sources prove that Jewish communities lived in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary and it is assumed that several sections of the heterogeneous Hungarian tribes practiced Judaism. Jewish officials served the king during the early 13th century reign of Andrew II. From the second part of the 13th century, the general religious tolerance decreased and Hungary's policies became similar to the treatment of the Jewish population in Western Europe; the Jews of Hungary were well integrated into Hungarian society by the time of the First World War. By the early 20th century, the community had grown to constitute 5% of Hungary's total population and 23% of the population of the capital, Budapest. Jews became prominent in the arts and business. By 1941, over 17% of Budapest's Jews were Roman Catholic conversos. Anti-Jewish policies grew more repressive in the interwar period as Hungary's leaders, who remained committed to regaining the territories lost at the peace agreement of 1920, chose to align themselves with the governments of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy – the international actors most to stand behind Hungary's claims.
Starting in 1938, Hungary under Miklós Horthy passed a series of anti-Jewish measures in emulation of Germany's Nürnberg Laws. The vast majority of 18,000 foreign Jews who were rounded up in Hungary and deported were massacred on August 27–28, 1941 by the German SS. In the massacres of Újvidék and villages nearby, 2,550–2,850 Serbs, 700–1,250 Jews and 60–130 others were murdered by the Hungarian Army and "Csendőrség" Gendarmerie in January 1942. Following the German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944, Jews from the Hungarian provinces outside Budapest and its suburbs were rounded up and the first transports to Auschwitz began in early May 1944 and continued as Soviet troops approached. During the last years of World War II, they suffered with 420,000 to 600,000 perishing between 1941 and 1945 through deportation to Nazi German-run extermination camps. A Jew living in the Hungarian countryside in March 1944 had a less than 10% chance of surviving the following 12 months. In Budapest, a Jew's chance of survival of the same 12 months was about 50%.
The 2011 Hungary census data had 10,965 people who self-identified as religious Jews, of whom 10,553 declared themselves as ethnic Hungarian. Estimates of Hungary's Jewish population in 2010 range from 54,000 to more than 130,000 concentrated in Budapest; the intermarriage rates for Hungarian Jews is around 60%. There are many active synagogues in Hungary, including the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest synagogue in the world after the Temple Emanu-El in New York City, it is not known when Jews first settled in Hungary. According to tradition, King Decebalus permitted the Jews who aided him in his war against Rome to settle in his territory. Dacia included part of modern-day Hungary as well as Romania and Moldova and smaller areas of Bulgaria and Serbia. Prisoners of the Jewish Wars may have been brought back by the victorious Roman legions stationed in Provincia Pannonia. Marcus Aurelius ordered the transfer of some of his rebellious troops from Syria to Pannonia in 175 CE.
These troops had been recruited in Antioch and Hemesa, which still had a sizable Jewish population at that time. The Antiochian troops were transferred to Ulcisia Castra, while the Hemesian troops settled in Intercisa. Stone inscriptions referring to Jews were found in Brigetio, Aquincum, Triccinae, Savaria and elsewhere in Pannonia. A Latin inscription, the epitaph of Septima Maria, discovered in Siklós refers to her Jewishness; the Intercisa tablet was inscribed on behalf of "Cosmius, chief of the Spondilla customhouse, archisynagogus Iudeorum " during the reign of Alexander Severus. In 2008, a team of archeologists discovered a 3rd-century AD amulet in the form of a gold scroll with the words of the Jewish prayer Shema' Yisrael inscribed on it in Féltorony. Hungarian tribes settled the territory 650 years later. In the Hungarian language, the word for Jew is zsidó, adopted from one of the Slavic languages; the first historical document relating to the Jews of Hungary is the letter written about 960 CE to King Joseph of the Khazars by Hasdai ibn Shaprut, the Jewish statesman of Córdoba, in which he says that the Slavic ambassadors promised to deliver the message to the King of Slavonia, who would hand the same to Jews living in "the country of Hungarian", who, in turn, would transmit it farther.
About the same time Ibrahim ibn Jacob says that Jews went from Hungary to Prague for business purposes. Nothing is known concerning the Jews during the period of the grand princes, except that they lived in the country and engaged in commerce there. In 1061, King Béla I ordered that markets should take place on Saturdays instead of the traditional Sundays. In the reign of St. Ladislaus, the Synod of Szabolcs decreed that Jews should not be permitted to have Christian wives or to keep Christian slaves; this decree had been promulgated in the Christian countries of Europe
Izieu is a commune in the Ain department in eastern France. It lies on the Rhône River between the cities of Chambéry. Izieu was the site of a Jewish orphanage during the Second World War. However, most of the children were only separated from their parents or sent purposely in the Savoy mountains, under Italian rule. Italy was less oppressive in that time. On 6 April 1944, three vehicles pulled up in front of the orphanage; the Gestapo, under the direction of the'Butcher of Lyon' Klaus Barbie, entered the orphanage and forcibly removed the forty-four children and their seven supervisors, throwing the crying and terrified children on to the trucks. As a witness recalled:'I was on my way down the stairs when my sister shouted to me: It's the Germans, run away! I jumped out the window. I hid myself in a bush in the garden. I heard the cries of the children that were being kidnapped and I heard the shouts of the Nazis who were carrying them away.' Following the raid on their home in Izieu, the children were shipped directly to the "collection center" in Drancy put on the first available train towards the concentration camps in the East.
Forty-two children and five adults were gassed in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. Two of the oldest children and Miron Zlatin, the superintendent, ended up in Tallinn and were killed by a firing squad; the orphanage director Sabine Zlatin survived the Gestapo raid, being away collecting funds for the institution. Some 40 years she testified against Barbie at his trial. Towards the end of her life, she convinced the president François Mitterrand to turn the orphanage premises into a memorial. Communes of the Ain department INSEE Official Website of Holocaust Memorial Maison d'Izieu The Children Of Izieu the Jewish orphanage in Izieu during the Holocaust - an online exhibition at Yad Vashem website
Vel' d'Hiv Roundup
The Vel' d'Hiv Roundup was a Nazi-directed raid and mass arrest of Jews in Paris by the French police, code named Opération Vent printanier, on 16 and 17 July 1942. The name "Vel' d'Hiv Roundup" is derived from the name of the Vélodrome d'Hiver, a bicycle velodrome and stadium where a majority of the victims were temporarily confined; the roundup, assisted by French Police, was one of several aimed at eradicating the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone. According to records of the Préfecture de Police, 13,152 Jews were arrested, including more than 4,000 children, they were held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver in crowded conditions without food and water, with no sanitary facilities, as well as at the Drancy and Beaune-la-Rolande internment camps shipped in rail cattle cars to Auschwitz for their mass murder. French President Jacques Chirac apologized in 1995 for the complicit role that French policemen and civil servants served in the raid. In 2017, President Emmanuel Macron more admitted the responsibility of the French State in the roundup and hence, in the Holocaust.
The Vélodrome d'Hiver was an indoor velodrome at the corner of boulevard de Grenelle and rue Nélaton in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Eiffel Tower. It was built by Henri Desgrange, editor of L'Auto, who organised the Tour de France, when his original track in the nearby Salle des Machines was listed for demolition in 1909 to improve the view of the Eiffel Tower; as well as track cycling, the new building was used for ice hockey, boxing, roller-skating, circuses and demonstrations. In the 1924 Summer Olympics, several events were held there, including foil fencing, cycling and wrestling; the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, part of a continent-wide plan to intern and exterminate Europe's Jewish population, was a joint operation between the Germans and French administrators. Until the German occupation of France in 1940, no roundup would have been possible because no census listing religions had been held in France since 1874. A German ordinance on 21 September 1940, forced Jewish people of the occupied zone to register at a police station or sub-prefectures.
Nearly 150,000 registered in the department of the Seine, encompassing Paris and its immediate suburbs. Their names and addresses were kept by the French police in the fichier Tulard, a file named after its creator, André Tulard, of Commissariat général aux questions juives "General Commission to Jewish Affairs" headed by Xavier Vallat, housed at Place des Petits-Pères, 2nd arrondissement of Paris, in the building of the former Banque Léopold Louis Dreyfus. Theodor Dannecker, the SS captain head of the German police in France, said: "This filing system subdivided it into files alphabetically classed, Jews with French nationality and foreign Jews having files of different colors, the files were classed, according to profession and street." These files were handed to section IV J of the Gestapo, in charge of the "Jewish problem." The "Vel' d'Hiv Roundup" was not the first such roundup in World War II. In what is known as the Rafle du billet vert, 3,747 Jewish men were arrested on 14 May 1941, as they had gone to a convocation for examen de situation as foreign Jews living in France.
The convocation was a trap, those who went were arrested and the same day taken by bus to the Gare d'Austerlitz shipped in four special trains to the two camps at Pithiviers and Beaune-La-Rolande in the Loiret department. Women and more of the men followed in July 1942. What became known as the "Vel' d'Hiv Roundup" was to be more important. To plan it, René Bousquet, secretary-general of the national police, Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, who had replaced Xavier Vallat in May 1942 as head of the CGQJ, travelled on 4 July 1942 to Gestapo headquarters at 93 rue Lauriston to meet Dannecker and Helmut Knochen of the SS. A further meeting took place in Dannecker's office in the avenue Foch on 7 July. Present were Jean Leguay, Bousquet's deputy, Jean François, director of the general police, Émile Hennequin, head of Paris police, André Tulard, others from the French police. Dannecker met Adolf Eichmann on 10 July 1942, another meeting took place the same day at the General Commission for Jewish Affairs attended by Dannecker, Heinz Röthke, Ernst Heinrichsohn, Jean Leguay, deputy to Darquier de Pellepoix, several police officials and representatives of the French railway service, the SNCF.
The roundup was delayed because the French asked to avoid holding it a couple of days before Bastille Day on 14 July. The national holiday was not celebrated in the occupied zone, there was a wish to avoid the risk of civil uprisings. Dannecker declared: "The French police, despite a few considerations of pure form, have only to carry out orders!"The roundup was aimed at Jews from Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union and the apatrides, whose origin couldn't be determined, all aged from 16 to 50. There were to be exceptions for women "in advanced state of pregnancy" or who were breast-feeding, but "to save time, the sorting will be made not at home but at the first assembly centre"; the Germans planned for the French police to arrest 22,000 Jews in Greater Paris. The Jews would be taken to internment camps at Drancy, Compiègne and Beaune-la-Rolande. André Tulard "
Gurs internment camp
Gurs Internment Camp was a internment camp and prisoner of war camp constructed in 1939 in Gurs, a site in southwestern France, not far from Pau. The camp was set up by the French government after the fall of Catalonia at the end of the Spanish Civil War to control those who fled Spain out of fear of retaliation from Francisco Franco's regime. At the start of World War II, the French government interned 4,000 German Jews as "enemy aliens," along with French socialists political leaders and those who opposed the war with Germany. After the Vichy government signed an armistice with the Nazis in 1940, it became an Internment camp for German Jews, as well as people considered dangerous by the government. After France's liberation, Gurs housed German prisoners of war and French collaborators. Before its final closure in 1946, the camp held former Spanish Republican fighters who participated in the Resistance against the German occupation, because their stated intention of opposing the fascist dictatorship imposed by Franco made them threatening in the eyes of the Allies.
The camp measured about 1,400 metres in 200 in width, an area of 28 hectares. The only street spanned the length of the camp. Both sides of the street were surrounded by parcels of 200 metres by 100 metres, named îlots. There were six on the other; the parcels were separated from each other by wire fences. The fences were doubled in the back part of the parcels, forming a passageway in which the exterior guards circulated. In each parcel stood about 30 cabins; this particular type of cabin had been invented for the French army during the First World War. They were assembled from thin planks of wood and covered with tarred fabric, all identical in construction and size, they were not provided with other insulation. They did not offer protection from the cold, the tarred fabric soon began to deteriorate, allowing rainwater to enter the cabins. Closets were nonexistent, residents slept on sacks of straw placed on the floor. Despite the fact that each cabin had an area of only 25 square metres, each cabin had to lodge up to 60 people during times of peak occupancy.
Food was poor in quality. The camp had poor drainage; the area, due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, receives a great deal of rain, which made the clay campgrounds permanently muddy. The inmates made paths with the few stones they could find in a vain attempt to keep the mud in check. Pieces of wire, stripped of their barbs were placed between the cabins and the toilets and used by the refugees like the railing of a staircase, to maintain balance on the unsteady ground. In each îlot there were rudimentary toilets, not different from the sort of troughs that would be used to feed animals. There was a platform about 2 metres high, which one climbed using steps, upon which were built additional toilets. Under the platform there were large tubs. Once they were full they were transported out of the camp in carts. One feature of the camp was; the atmosphere was radically different from an extermination camp: there were no executions or displays of sadism on the part of the guards. Around the camp there were small buildings that housed the guard corps.
The administration and care of the camp was conducted under military auspices until the fall of 1940, when a civil administration was installed by the Vichy regime. Those arriving from Spain were grouped into four categories: Brigadists They had belonged to the International Brigades fighting for the Second Spanish Republic; because of their nationalities it was not possible. Some managed to flee and many others ended up enlisting in the French Foreign Legion. Basques They were gudaris who had escaped from the siege of Santander and, transferred by sea to the Republican side, had continued fighting outside of their homeland. Due to the proximity of Gurs to their homeland all managed to find local backing that permitted them to abandon the camp and find work and refuge in France. Airmen They were members of the ground personnel of the Republican air force. Possessing a mechanical trade, it was easy for them to find French businessmen who gave them work, allowing them to leave the camp. Spaniards They had trades that were in low demand.
They had no one in France, interested in them. They were a burden for the French government and therefore they were encouraged, in agreement with the Francoist government, to return to Spain; the great majority were turned over to the Francoist authorities in Irún. From there they were transferred to the Miranda de Ebro camp for purification according to the Law of Political Responsibilities. From 1939 to the autumn of 1940, the language that dominated in the camp was Spanish; the inmates constructed a sports field. On July 14, 1939, Bastille Day, the 17,000 internees of Spanish origin arranged themselves in military formation in the sports field and sang La Marseillaise, followed by sports presentations and choral and instrumental concerts. The
Royallieu-Compiègne internment camp
The Royallieu-Compiègne was an internment and deportation camp located in the north of France in the city of Compiègne. French resistance fighters and Jews were among some of the prisoners held in this camp, it is estimated that around 40,000 people were deported from the Royallieu-Compiègne camp to other camps in the German territory of the time. A memorial of the camp, another along the railway tracks commemorates the tragedy. Before World War II, this site was home to French army barracks; the site housed the signing of an armistice that displayed the victory of French forces in World War I on November 11, 1918. This site witnessed its second armistice; this time, the site housed the signing of the occupation of France by German forces. This camp on June 22, 1940 became the only German run camp within French territories. In June 1941 the camp was functioning as an internment camp; the camp's prisoners were made up of 70 percent political prisoners, 12 percent Jews, 8 percent high ranking French civil servants.
Overwhelmingly the camp held resisters to Vichy France, the puppet government set up by Nazi supporters. The camp's main function was as a deport base; the main camp that Royallieu-Compiègne deported to was Auschwitz among various other concentration camps. On March 27, 1942 the camp made its first Jewish round of deportations to Auschwitz; the camp's records are not maintained well due to the actual number of detainees never being recorded precisely. For example, there is a record of the number of detainees transported in one cable car as a "guess"; the camp was only in full use for three years: 1941-1944. The camp was shut not in any use after the liberation of France. Visitors were not allowed until the opening of the memorial in early 2008. February 23, 2008 the site of the past internment and deportation camp of Compiègne opened its doors to the public eye; the memorial site consists of a physical tour of the ground as well as educational tours of the individual rooms and barracks that the grounds consist of.
As the site's memorial progressed it came to include a wall of names with those who were recorded to be detained at the grounds as well as an escape route and a garden of remembrance
The Holocaust in Luxembourg
The Holocaust in Luxembourg refers to the persecution and near-annihilation of the 3,500-strong Jewish population of Luxembourg begun shortly after the start of the German occupation during World War II, when the country was incorporated into Nazi Germany. The persecution lasted until October 1941, when the Germans declared the territory to be free of Jews, deported to extermination camps and ghettos in Eastern Europe. Before the war, Luxembourg had a population of about 3,500 Jews, many of them newly arrived in the country to escape persecution in Germany; the Nuremberg Laws, which had applied in Germany since 1935, were enforced in Luxembourg from September 1940 and Jews were encouraged to leave the country for Vichy France. Emigration was forbidden in October 1941. In practice they were little better off in Vichy France, many of those who left were deported and killed. From September 1941, all Jews in Luxembourg were forced to wear the yellow Star of David badge to identify them. From October 1941, Nazi authorities began to deport the around 800 remaining Jews from Luxembourg to Łódź Ghetto and the concentration camps at Theresienstadt and Auschwitz.
Around 700 were deported from the Transit Camp at Fuenfbrunnen in Ulflingen in the north of Luxembourg. Luxembourg was declared "Judenfrei" except for those in hiding on 19 October 1941. Of the original Jewish population of Luxembourg, only 36 are known to have survived the war; the Holocaust Luxembourg in World War II Luxembourgish Resistance Artuso, Vincent. "Des excuses, mais au nom de qui? L'administration luxembourgeoise et la Shoah". Forum: 9–11. Cerf, Paul. L'étoile juive au Luxembourg. Luxembourg: Editions RTL, 1986. Clesse, René. "Die Natur is gnädiger als die Menschen". Ons Stad. 36: 22–25. Clesse, René. "Shoah in Luxemburg". Ons Stad. 71: 18–19. Hoffmann, Serge. "Luxemburg - Asyl und Gastfreundschaft in einem kleinen Land". In Benz, Wolfgang. Solidarität und Hilfe für Juden während der NS-Zeit. Regionalstudien I: Polen, Rumänien, Luxemburg, Schweiz. Berlin: Metropol-Verl. Pp. 187–204. ISBN 9783926893437. Luxembourg at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Luxembourg at European Holocaust Research Infrastructure Memoshoah.lu at MemoShoah association