The War: Nebraska Stories
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The Horrors of War:
Concentration Camps
German storm troopers force Jewish people from the Warsaw ghetto to move with their hands up. Warsaw Ghetto — May, 1943.
From The Stroop Report: The Warsaw Ghetto is No More. Courtesy The Holocaust History Project.
One horrible by-product of war is that crimes against humanity sometimes occur away from the battlefields. A very sad example was the creation of concentration camps by Adolph Hitler's National Socialist political party. Racist, nationalistic, imperialistic, anti-communist, and militaristic, the "Nazis" claimed that Jewish people were members of an "inferior race". Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis murdered approximately 6 million Jews. This devastation became known as the Holocaust.
In order to accomplish this horrible task more "efficiently", the Germans shipped Jews (and other "undesirables", such as Gypsies or disabled people) to concentration camps. Here, killing was carried out in systematic ways, mostly with poison gas.

The Allies declared Victory in Europe (V-E Day) on May 8, 1945. In this video, Nebraskan Roy Long tells how he helped liberate one of the Concentration Camps.

Concentration Camps
Top left: Zyklon B, one type of lethal gas used
by the Nazis to murder people in concentration camps.
Courtesy Thomas J. Dodd Papers.
Bottom right: Roy Long, First Lieutenant, 66th Infantry, 71st Division, born in Blair, NE, resident of Omaha, NE.
Center: Long provided this photo of concentration camp victims lining up to receive clean, new clothes
after the Allies liberated their camp.
Left: Six-year-old war orphan with Buchenwald badge
on his sleeve. June 19, 1945.
Courtesy Defense Visual Information Center.
Right: Roger Peters in Germany. Corporal, Technician 5th Grade, 1143rd Engineer Combat Group, resident of Valley, NE. Courtesy Roger Peters.
The conditions in the camps were terrible. The prisoners had been starved, were often physically harmed, and suffered from disease due to neglect — no heat, no water for bathing, no health care, etc. When Nebraskan soldier Roger Peters had a small accident with a motor scooter in Germany after the Allied victory, he came across an ex-detainee of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and discovered a new meaning for the word, Freedom.

Freedom
Click here to see a
map of German concentration camps
in Europe during World War II.
For More Information within Nebraska Studies:
On the Home Front: Propaganda