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Korrien Richards
Mr. Hawkins
Modern World History-P, Period 3
April 8, 2016
Liberation of the Concentration Camps
The liberation of the Jews and other prisoners, to most, was far from a cheerful
time. By 1944, the Germans were losing territory rapidly. As the Allies advanced, Hitlers troops
began to retreat. The Americans, along with the Russians and British, came across numerous
labor and death camps. Through 1945, theyve liberated thousands and would continue to
liberate more in the years following. Liberation included the many freedoms attained, the
atrocious experiences, and the after effects of this freedom.
The many freedoms attained were outstanding. Unfortunately, it was documented
that over 90% of the Jewish community in Poland, the largest in Europe, had perished
(website 2). These concentration camps were most likely the last place the prisoners saw in their
lives. The inhumane actions of Hitler will forever leave a mark on the world. While storming
camps and freeing the emaciated in Nordhaussen, the American Timberwolf Division found
3,000 corpses and 700 starving, ill, and war-wounded survivors who were slaves in the V-2
rocket factories (website 1). There was not much left to save. Neglect had taken its toll on
these slaves and would dampen this American victory. Seeing Soviet forces nearing Majdanek
and surprised by the rapid Soviet advance, the Germans attempted to hide the evidence of
mass murder by demolishing the camp (website 3). The heinous acts of the Nazis could

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never be covered up or hidden. It was completely futile to destroy the camps since they were not
at all a secret.
The atrocious experiences during liberation were dreadful and horrific. When
General Patton sent his military police to bring civilians to the camps to see what they supported,
the MPs were so outraged, they brought back 2,000; some turned away, some fainted
(website 1). It does not make any sense how the people could be oblivious to what they so
fiercely stood by and supported. The sight of the prisoners in the concentration camps was more
than any person could handle; to Nazis, the Jews were beneath the lowest creatures of the earth.
At Ohdruf camp, Eisenhower found a shed piled to the ceiling with bodies, various torture
devices, and a butchers block for smashing gold fillings from the mouths of the dead
(website 1). These scenes fueled American hatred toward the German people and most of all,
Hitler. There were humans, who went into these camps, but they were not in the least bit treated
accordingly; the majority came out in pieces. Russian troops, in liberating Auschwitz
discovered, for example, hundreds of thousands of mens suits, more than 800,000
womens outfits, and more than 14,000 pounds of human hair (website 3). No could deny
the mass murder and genocide occurring here. Other than the multitude of the scarred and
traumatized remnants of European Jews, there was substantial evidence against the Nazis.
The aftereffects of liberation were both beyond sad and a relief. A Polish-Jew
survivor stated, It was a dream. As much hot water as you want, to wash with soap, with
soap! You could even wash your head, your body, it was heaven, it was heaven on earth!
(website 2). Further documentation shows the horrible states these liberated prisoners were
discovered in. It is appalling that they were not allowed any cleanliness, not even hot water.
British soldiers, while liberating Bergen-Belsen, were shocked to find that more than 10,000 of

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them died from the effects of malnutrition or disease within a few weeks of liberation
(website 3). Following their freedom, most of the Jews conditions were too far past terrible to
come back from. They camp occupants were treated so nefariously that they died within days
and weeks on attaining freedom; inevitably, their diseased, frail bodies wouldnt last long. In this
monumental time, the Jewish people were not gleeful or celebratory; more than anything else,
however, with liberation the survivors were struck suddenly by the immensity of their
losses (website 2). Many of the survivors found themselves alone and without family. With
their liberation, distraught and an overwhelming sadness rushed in.
The many freedoms attained, the atrocious experiences, and the after effects of
this freedom make up liberation of the concentration camps. Liberation by the Americans,
Soviets, and British uncovered what the concentration camps were like. The sights those soldiers
see would be unforgettable and engraved in their memories. The positive side is how many
people were able to be freed from their hell. However, liberation did was not the beginning of a
new, glorious era; to the survivors, they would recuperating from the loss and despair.