Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

Episode 3

Factories of Death

Aired Unknown Unknown on BBC Two
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Episode Summary

In 1942 the Nazis begin to comb Western Europe, taking Jews from as far as the British Channel Islands. France is the first western country to deport resident Jews: More than 4,000 Jewish children are separated from their parents, deported from France, sent to Auschwitz, and gassed on arrival. Himmler now orders that all Jews in the General Government are to be killed, and selects newly constructed death camps like Treblinka for the task. In order to lull new arrivals into a false sense of security, a fake railway station with flowers, timetables and signs to other towns are constructed. Bigger gas chambers are also built, capable of killing more than 3,000 people at once. Ninety-nine per cent of those arriving at Treblinka are dead within two hours. Treblinka, unlike Auschwitz, is a pure extermination camp, but its small gas chambers cannot keep up with demand. Despite burial in makeshift pits, bodies lie rotting in the summer heat. In order to make the camp more efficient, Hoss seeks advice from the SS expert in body disposal, SS-Colonel Paul Blobel, and examines his new field cremation units firsthand. German Lieutenant Albert Battel refuses to allow all the Jewish workers in the ghetto of the Polish town of Przemy_l to be deported. He even shelters some of them in the army headquarters. He is posthumously awarded the title Righteous Among The Nations by Yad Vashem in Israel. By March 1943 the crematoria at Auschwitz are fully operational. Two months later the camp gets a new physician - SS-Captain Dr Josef Mengele, soon to be known as The Angel of Death. Interviewees include two Jewish children who were separated from their mother by the French authorities and would have followed her to death in Auschwitz had she not arranged for their rescue. People speak fondly of one of the Jewish girls deported from Guernsey, with the co-operation of the British police, and a prisoner at Auschwitz recalls digging up the rotting corpses of those gassed in the camp.moreless

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