UCSB Hist 133DProf. Marcuse
The Holocaust in German History Dec. 7, 1999

Lecture 19: Dissolution, Liberation and the Perpetrators

  1. Announcements
  2. The "final phase" of the concentration camps

Kommandant Kramer of Belsen:
You informed me by telegram of 23rd February, 1945, that I was to receive 2,500 female detainees as a first consignment from Ravensbrück. I have assured accommodation for this number. The reception of further consignments is impossible, not only from the point of view of accommodation due to lack of space, but particularly on account of the feeding question. .... [I]t was decided that the camp could not hold more than 35,000 detainees. In the meantime this number has been exceeded by 7,000 and a further 6,200 are now on their way. As a result all barracks are overcrowded by at least 30%. ... In addition to this question, a spotted fever and typhus epidemic has now begun, which is spreading every day. The daily mortality rate, which was still in the vicinity of 60-70 at the beginning of February, has now attained a daily average of 250-300 and will increase further in light of the prevailing conditions.

  1. Film (5 mins.) liberation of Dachau, shot by George Stevens (filmed "Diary of Anne Frank")

1941 letter home from a German policeman in an Einsatzkommando (textbook p. 189)
"We men of the new Germany must be strict with ourselves even if it means a long period of separation from our family. For we must finish matters once and for all and finally settle accounts with the war criminals, in order to create a better and eternal Germany for our heirs. We are not sleeping here. There are three or four operations a week. Sometimes Gypsies, another time Jews, partisans and all sorts of trash. … We are not carrying on a lawless regime here, but when an action requires immediate atonement we contact the SD and justice takes its course. If the official judicial system were operating, it would be impossible to exterminate a whole family when only the father is guilty."

Short version of exam source interpretation: select two quotations from this text and state which aspects of the "perpetrator mentality" they reflect or illustrate.