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Majdanek Concentration Camp

(1941—1944)

The Majdanek concentration camp was not designed as an extermination camp, but during its operation, tens of thousands of Jews were killed in gas chambers, shooting operations, by disease, and starvation. Majdanek was a unique camp because of its close proximity to Lublin, Poland. The citizens of Lublin knew about the camp. During the mass executions of Operation “Erntefest” or “Harvest Festival,” where over 18,000 Jews within the Lublin-area camps were executed in a single day, music was played in the camp and town to drown out the sounds of dying human beings. Soviet troops liberated the camp on July 24, 1944. It was found nearly intact for reporters to view and write about the horrors occurring in the Nazi camps. Overall, approximately 110,000 people were killed in the main camp alone, 70,000 of those were Jews.

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Stories

Abraham Lewent Describes deportation to and conditions in Majdanek [1989 interview]

“We went to that Umschlagplatz. We were sitting three days over there, without water, without anything, for three days. And it was hot. On the third day they gave us water, and they said we're going to leave. Where we're going, we don't know. They put us on trains. I was together with my father, and with this man, and his wife, or his sister, was it? And they took us to Majdanek. Majdanek was a camp near Lublin, and over there was five fields. That means every field had eight or nine hundred people and it was barracks and there's nothing to do Majdanek. The only thing you were Majdanek you did, you sit sometime all day long, and sometime they took you out to work and a half of them never came back. They make you sit all day long and breaking up from big stones to make little stones, or digging holes, digging ditches, and covering the ditches up. That was the work. That's what you call, uh, a camp what actually is annihilation...they annihilate people, actually. Very little food. Very little food.”

 

Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_oi.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005190&MediaId=1088

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Place Details

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Location:
City: Lublin 1
Country: Poland 1
Construction begins on 2 gas chambers:
October 1942 2
Construction begins on Majdanek:
October 1941 2
Evacuation of prisoners begins:
January 1944 2
Himmler orders the construction of camp in Lublin:
21 Jul 1941 2
Majdanek becomes a forced-labor camp for Jews:
December 1941 2
Operation “Erntefest,” SS kills 42,000 Jews:
03 Nov 1943 2
Soviet forces liberate Majdanek:
23 Jul 1944 2
Victims:
80,000-92,000: Total Jews killed 2
95,000-130,000: Total killed in camp system 2

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