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Majdanek - Wir haben es nicht gewusst!


The residents of Lublin were forced to observe the horrors of the camp


       Extermination camp Majdanek was visible from the Lublin City Suburbs. It is incomprehensible that none of the residents ever claimed to have had knowledge of what took place behind the barbed wire fences and machine-gun towers. An eerie silence on the subject matter has hung over this place. True, residents, who themselves were treated in a barbaric way by the Nazis, were virtually powerless against the German occupation powers. Yet, they must have seen that hundreds of thousands of Jews entered the camp and that very few, if any, ever left that place alive. From 1942 to 1944 Majdanek Jewish inmates were beaten and tortured by Nazi guards for the most trivial of offenses. Hundreds of thousands Polish Jews were murdered in gas chambers or else were killed by mass shooting.

Majdanek extermination camp was visible from Lublin city suburbs


       Initially, victims were killed by mass gunfire in a nearby forest and the bodies were buried in mass graves. A particularly deadly day for the Jews occurred in November 1943. In reprisal for resistance actions in the ghettos and the uprising and escape from both Sobibor and Treblinka, the Nazis decided to expedite the murder of Jews in the Lublin district calling this action Aktion Erntefest - Operation Harvest Festival. The method of killing as used in Aktion Reinhard - Operation Reinhard was implemented later (Majdanek was not part of this action, yet as deathcamp it worked with equal efficiency). Gas chambers were built for mass executions using Zyklon B pellets. These pellets produced quick-killing hydrogen cyanide fumes. Afterwards, the bodies of the victims were cremated.

       As recorded above, a strong partisan movement had been developed in the Lublin district. Moreover, in both Sobibor and Treblinka death-camps, Jewish inmates rose up against the SS barbarians. In retaliation, following the rebellion at Sobibor and Treblinka, most of the Jewish prisoners at Majdanek, some 42,000, were annihilated in a massacre which was euphemistically referred to as Aktion Erntefest - Operation Harvest Festival. This action included the machine-gunning of 18,000 Jews in a single day. They were shot on the 3rd of November 1943. They were made to line up in front of ditches the victims had to dig themselves. Toward the end of the war the SS tried to obliterate all traces of this massacre, using prisoners who had been brought in from nearby labor camps. When Russian soldiers liberated Majdanek on 24 July 1944, only a few hundred prisoners of various nationalities were alive.

 

 

 

Red Army forces entering Majdanek discovered a well used crematorium 

 Lublin city center in the
middle of photo was only 3 KM due north of camp Majdanek

How could anyone possibly say to not have known?


      This US reconnaissance photo shows that Majdanek was surrounded by a wire fence, with at least 50 houses on the camp's west side and the Lublin to Chelm highway on the camp's east side. Aerial view of the camp shows that the gas chamber building is located in the upper left of the photo, outside the barbed wire fence. The crematorium is located at the bottom of the photo adjacent to the outside of the fence. The housing complex in the lower left corner of the photo belongs to a Lublin suburb from where residents had a clear view of the entire camp.

       Conclusion: Most buildings within the barbed wire fence, the gas chambers and crematoria that were outside the fence, were visible to thousands of the Lublin suburb residents each day. Yet, the well oiled Nazi machine chose this location to physically mistreat and/or murder Jews and other inmates. No objections nor words of sympathy from the neighboring population of the town of Majdanek were ever voiced or recorded, neither during nor following the war years. However, some resistance movements were active within the camp at various times. Where and when possible they extended help to Polish prisoners. Nevertheless, close to 500,000 persons from 28 countries and belonging to 54 different nationalities passed through Majdanek. Of these, according to current estimates, between 100,000 and up to 275,000 Jews and between 250,000 and up to 500,0000 non-Jews perished. It is impossible to trace the number Russian POWs killed by the Nazi's in camps such as Majdanek.