The exhibition space will open to the public from Tuesday 18 May. Please note that entry to the Library is only permitted to those who have pre-booked. You can pre-book your tickets here. Please note our COVID-19 opening times and health and safety measures, including wearing a face-covering, before visiting.
The Library’s new exhibition will uncover how forensic and other evidence about the death marches has been gathered since the end of the Holocaust. It chronicles how researchers and others attempted to recover the death march routes – and those who did not survive them. Efforts to analyse and commemorate the death marches continue to this day.
Towards the end of the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of prisoners still held within the Nazi camp system were forcibly evacuated in terrible conditions under heavy guard. Prisoners were sent out on foot, by rail, in horse-drawn wagons, in lorries and by ship. Conveys split, dispersed and rejoined others, with routes stretching from several dozen to hundreds of miles long. Thousands of people were murdered en route in the last days before the war’s end, although it is impossible to know the exact numbers.
Many of these chaotic and brutal evacuations became known as ‘death marches’ by those who endured them. They form the last chapter of Nazi genocide.
You can now explore over sixty eyewitness accounts of those who experienced and survived the Nazi death marches on the Library’s new digital resource, Testifying to the Truth.
Join co-curators Professor Dan Stone (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Dr Christine Schmidt (Wiener Holocaust Library) as they walk through the Library’s new exhibition Death Marches: Evidence and Memory.
Eugene Black in focus
Eugene Black (formerly Jeno Schwartz, 1928-2016) was a Jewish teenager when he was deported from Hungary to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. There he was separated from his family, whom he never saw again. From Auschwitz, he was sent to Buchenwald and then Mittelbau-Dora camps, where he worked in an underground factory that manufactured rockets in brutal conditions. In March 1945, Eugene was marched to Nordhausen. He then spent seven days on a train travelling in the direction of Hamburg.
Eugene remembered that ‘the train would pull up, the doors would open, and we had to throw the dead bodies out.‘ The train stopped at Celle, and the prisoners were forced to march to Bergen-Belsen. The SS guards shot anyone who stopped walking. Eugene arrived in Bergen-Belsen with the remaining prisoners who survived the ordeal and was liberated in April 1945.
Watch Past Events
Virtual Exhibition Launch: Death Marches: Evidence and Memory
On Thursday 4 March 2021 the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership launched its inaugural exhibition, co-curated by Dan Stone (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Christine Schmidt (The Wiener Holocaust Library). The launch event included a gallery walk-through, short talks by the co-curators and insight from other guest speakers.
Virtual Talk: Iby and Trude: The Death Marches and Me
On Thursday 8 April 2021 the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership hosted an event with Iby Knill BEM and Trude Silman MBE in conversation with Tracy Craggs (Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association) where they discuss their experiences before, during and after the Holocaust, in particular, the effect that the death marches have had on their lives. This was then followed by a short Q&A.
Virtual Panel: On the Trail of the Death Marches
Dr Henning Borggräfe (Arolsen Archives), Dr Simone Gigliotti (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Ms Yona Kobo (Yad Vashem) discuss the sources and methodologies used to research and narrate the history of the death marches. Chaired by Professor Dan Stone (Royal Holloway, University of London).
Virtual Panel: The Politics of Dead Bodies
This virtual panel of speakers discussed the forensic turn in Holocaust and genocide studies. The panel addressed how forensic evidence, such as sites of mass burial and human remains, has informed research and remembrance of genocide, as well as political and ethical dealings with sites of mass atrocity.
Virtual Panel: Reckonings and Forced Confrontations after the Holocaust
In this panel discussion, our speakers explored the disintegration of the camps system; ‘forced confrontations’ between Allied militaries and the German civilian population; post-war trials of perpetrators involved in the death marches; and the lives of Holocaust survivors in the aftermath of liberation.
Virtual Panel: Remembering the Death Marches
This virtual panel of speakers discussed the different ways of commemorating the death marches, including pilgrimages, memorials at former Nazi camps and other sites of significance, and artistic and photographic responses to such sites.
Virtual Talk: Manfred Goldberg: My Death March Experience
For the final event in this exhibition series, we were joined by Holocaust survivor Manfred Goldberg BEM who shared his experiences of his own death march journey and liberation, led in conversation with Professor Dan Stone.
We have been delighted to receive the following press coverage for this exhibition:
- BBC News – Exhibition explores Holocaust ‘death marches’ (14.05.21)
- The Jewish Chronicle – Never to be forgotten (14.05.21)
- The Guardian – First-hand stories shed new light on Nazi death marches (16.05.21)
- Daily Mail – The death march diaries (17.05.21)
- Smithsonian Magazine – When the Nazis Murdered Thousands by Sending Them on Forced Death Marches (18.05.21)
- Jewish News – New exhibition details brutality of death marches (25.05.21)
- Memoria – A new exhibition at The Wiener Holocaust Library (June issue)
- BBC History Revealed – Death Marches: Evidence and Memory (June issue)
- AJR Journal – Remembering the marches (June issue)
- History Hit Warfare podcast – Death Marches: Evidence and Memory (11.06.21)
- UCL Pi Media – Exhibition Review: Death Marches: Evidence and Memory (18.06.21)
- The Times of Israel – London exhibition focuses on ‘overlooked and understudied’ Nazi death marches (28.06.21)
- Bradford Telegraph & Argus – In the footsteps of death marches that left a trail of blood across Europe (30.06.21)
- BBC History Magazine – A brutal end (July issue)
This exhibition is part of the new Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership.
Death Marches: Evidence and Memory is also on show until 1 September at the Holocaust Exhibition & Learning Centre at the University of Huddersfield.