Methods of Murder
Hi I am doing a report on the different way that the nazis exterminated all of the victims of the holocaust, such as what they used and how they did it. If you could provide me with any information, I would really appreciate it. Can you please answer me as soon as possible, if its not much to ask can it be before Friday the 3rd of may. thanks for all your help.
Harry W. Mazal OBE Responds:I am one of the persons in the Holocaust History Project that responds to questions from our readers. It is possible that you will receive other responses from my colleagues.
Jews -- and other people were murdered by the Nazis in a variety of different ways. The most important methods were:
I.- Overwork, Starvation and Disease
1.- Able-bodied Jews who were not initially selected for annihilation were put to work at very hard labor. One example was hauling rocks in a quarry up a steep staircase in Mauthausen.
2.- Many Jews, especially young children, died in the ghettos because the Nazis did not distribute enough food for them to survive. Prisoners in the labor camps were given very small food rations that eventually caused their demise.
3.- Sanitary conditions were appalling in both the ghettos and the concentration camps. Countless numbers of Jews and others died of dysentery, typhoid and typhus.
For more information on how these methods were employed, use the following link to one of the many camps: The first page will describe hard labor and it has links to "hunger""and "disease as well:
Over one-million Jews were shot by SS commandos known as the Einsatzgruppen. These commandos followed the troops when they were invading the various European countries, rounded up all of the Jews, shot them and dumped them into ditches.
You can read a description on how this was accomplished at:
The most horrifying method of murdering the Jews was the use of Gas Chambers and Gas Vans
III. Gas Chambers
The following are the major death camps in Poland and the gases employed by the Nazis to murder innocent victims:
1. Treblinka: Carbon monoxide emanating from internal combustion engines, in purpose-built gas chambers.
2.- Belzec: Carbon monoxide emanating from internal combustion engines, in purpose-built gas chambers.
3.- Sobibor.- Carbon monoxide emanating from internal combustion engines, in purpose-built gas chambers.
4.- Auschwitz (including Birkenau) Hydrogen cyanide in the form of Zyklon-B, a commercial preparation, in purpose-built gas chambers.
5.- Majdanek: Hydrogen cyanide in the form of Zyklon-B, a commercial preparation, and carbon monoxide from commercial high-pressure cylinders, in purpose-built gas chambers.
Other camps and locations in Poland that occasionally used gases for murdering people were:
6.- Chelmno: Carbon monoxide emanating from internal combustion engines, in mobile vehicles known as "gas vans."
7.- Natzweiler-Struthof: Hydrogen cyanide produced on site by mixing Sodium cyanide with an acid. This took place in an adapted chamber to kill Jews for a "skeleton collection.":
Gassing with carbon monoxide of insane, feeble-minded, and crippled people also took place in various camps and mental institutions in Germany as part of the so-called "Euthanasia Program". Many of the victims, particularly children, were killed by lethal injection.
Although the number of people that died as a result of medical experimentation was not as high as with the methods described above, the cruelty that they imposed on their victims knew no equal:
IV. Medical Experiments
The Nazi doctors used concentration camp inmates for a number of horrifying and useless experiments. The subjects, including very small children, were made to suffer indescribable pain.
You can find a list of some of these experiments in the Table of Contents for "The Medical Case" starting on page 92:
Some fairly gruesome photos can be seen at:
and subsequent pages.
I hope that this information helps you in your project.
Harry W. Mazal OBE
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Last modified: January 3, 2004