Nazi Concentration Camps, Nazi Death Camps: No Valid Dichotomy. DEFINITIVE WORK. Holocaust Survivor Testimony Unreliable. Treblinka Looting Clarified. Colls
Holocaust Archaeologies, by Caroline Sturdy Colls. 2015
Victims of Nazi German Concentration Camps and Those of Nazi German Death Camps on an Equal Footing
The author has collected a large amount of information to support her conclusions. Reading her work is a treat.
LABOR AND DEATH UNDER NAZI GERMANY: DIE QUICKLY OR DIE SLOWLY
Colls remarks, “Many camps existed because of the labour sites, and many labour sites functioned because of the camps; thus, the two cannot be separated and form part of a Holocaust landscape where life, work, and death were interwoven…In many cases, the labour sites resulted in a large number of deaths because of the harsh living and working conditions that the workers experienced. In other cases, labour sites were deliberately set up as a means of killing people in large numbers through the ‘annihilation through work’ policy…” (p. 273).
The author notes that, “Some camps where large numbers of people were interred, although they may have been branded as concentration camps, were in fact mass mortality camps (where people were left to die, rather than being deliberately killed…” (p. 203).
NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS OFTEN WERE DEATH CAMPS
Caroline Colls writes, “For example, some people deported to concentration camps did not experience internment but were instead murdered en masse. Many people were sent to labour camps but very quickly died because of either ill-treatment or execution. Therefore, although the term death camp has been used to describe a particular type of camp where large-scale systematic murder was carried out (Sect 8.3), it could be argued that many other camps could also be branded as death camps given the crimes perpetrated within them and the certainty that death would occur for many people who were sent there (Figure 8.3 [alluding to Gross Rosen]).” (p. 202).
Colls reiterates the virtual removal of the boundary between the two, as she writes, “It should be remembered that, although they were not labelled as such, many of the other camps described in Sec. 8.2 above could be branded extermination sites since people were systematically murdered there.” (p. 208).
NOT ONLY JEWS WERE GASSED, AND NOT ONLY EXTERMINATION CAMPS HAD MASS GASSING FACILITIES
Colls points out that, “Many concentration camps had gas chambers and crematoria, and many were designated as camps for specific groups that the Nazis had targeted for extermination.” (p. 202).
THE CONTRIVED DUALISM BETWEEN NAZI EXTERMINATION CAMPS AND NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS IS A PRODUCT OF JUDEOCENTRIC THINKING
Although Colls only hints at the cause, she touches on the fact that extermination camps have assumed such a lofty, separate status in popular thinking, “As early as the Nuremberg trials, it was noted that ‘usually the concentration camps of German fascism can be divided into two groups: the labor concentration camps and the extermination camps. It seems to me that such a differentiation is not quite correct, because the labor camps also served the purpose of extermination’ (IMTN 1947, p. 576). Yet this fact is often overlooked and the death camps remain at the forefront of popular opinions concerning the ways in which the Nazis exterminated large numbers of people (Chap. 1).” (p. 273).
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS MIS-REMEMBER BASIC FACTS
Archeological digs at the former sites of the German death camps have revealed surprising details. Colls comments, “In all cases, archaeological work has demonstrated inaccuracies in popular perceptions of the sites; the locations of features such as gas chambers, boundaries and barracks have been shown to differ from those presented on witness and post-war plans.” (p. 208).
THE TREBLINKA SITE WAS LOOTED BECAUSE OF POSTWAR POVERTY
Jan T. Gross, in his GOLDEN HARVEST, has accused the postwar Poles of (what else?) greed and anti-Semitism for looting the Treblinka site for Jewish gold. Colls also repeats this contention, but then realizes that the cause was entirely different. She writes, “On the other hand, it highlights often-unacknowledged social trends pertaining to the immediate post-war period; many people searching for valuables were likely doing so because of the desperate economic situation in Poland after liberation (Edward Kopowka, pers. comm.).” (p. 305).
The title image source: www.tabletmag.com .
Published with the author’s permission.
Source: Jews & Poles DATEBASE.