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Concentration Camp Sourcework

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Question 5 In Source 5 Reitlinger says that "more than a hundred thousand people must have known". If this is correct then why did no-one take the blame for it at the end of the war? Or even do anything to help the Jews? How well supported this claim is depends on the other sources. Source two agrees with Reitlinger's claim as it says "All the same rumours did circulate about dreadful deeds in the East" this concurs with "...had not heard the same story..." in Reitlinger's source. Also in Source 2 it says "Because of the Nazis much publicised resettlement plans..." this again agrees with "...Jews had disappeared..." in Reitlinger's source. In conclusion Reitlinger is supported, by Source 2, about rumours being spread and that people had seen Jews disappear. ...read more.


Source 6 contains much information and it supports Reitlinger's claims as it contains information concerning an SS man declaring on a train that "2000 Jews were being murdered every week at Auschwitz" if this SS man was concerned about secrecy would he have said it on a busy train? Source 6 also goes into some detail about the BBC laughing a broadcast campaign on the extermination of the Jews which provided information for any Germans that held a radio and it also says that "The leaflets dropped by Allied planes also relayed information on the annihilation policy" I think that the German people would have had enough information to confirm the rumours they might have heard. Source 8 contradicts Reitlinger as it says "All swore that during the past few years they had no idea what had been going on ...read more.


I would have to conclude that Reitlinger was probably correct in his estimate of German knowledge of the concentration camps as a good portion of the evidence in the sources tells us that it is plausible to estimate figures as grand as a hundred thousand people. I think many of the Germans did in fact know about the camps either by the rumours or by radio or by information pamphlets and therefore it begs the question as to why they didn't do anything to help the suffering Jews. Were they afraid of the strict penalties? Some had put their lives on the line by telling people about the camps why didn't they do anything? The answer to this is that although the people may have known there was nothing that they could have done to stop it completely and therefore could not be really held responsible for not helping. Charlene Harwood ...read more.

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