chapter  8
9 Pages

HUMANITY, MODERNITY, AND THE HOLOCAUST

The Allies claimed that they could contribute best to rescuing Jews by winning the war as quickly as possible. Indeed, in the end only the Allied victory put an end to the murder campaign. The gas chambers at Birkenau functioned until November 1944, when, in anticipation of immin-ent conquest by Soviet forces, the last remaining Jewish and non-Jewish prisoners from Auschwitz and other concentration and labour camps in Poland were evacuated and forcibly marched to Germany proper. Some 250,000 Jews and non-Jews died in these so-called death marches . Those who survived spent the fi nal weeks of the war in Dachau, Buchenwald, and other German camps, where they were liberated by British and US forces in April-May 1945. Photographs of these prisoners have become standard images of the Holocaust. At the time they were fi rst published they were greeted with shock and disbelief. They have continued to arouse horror and fascination ever since.