Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

Episode 6

Liberation and Revenge

Aired Unknown Feb 15, 2005 on BBC Two
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Episode Summary

Liberation and Revenge
In January 1945 Red Army soldiers liberate the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. They are not warned about its existence in advance, and are shocked by the horrors that greet them. In the coming months, other camps are liberated and the British are unprepared to deal with the aftermath: 14,000 prisoners die days after their release; another 14,000 succumb within the month. Life for many liberated prisoners is still appalling: advancing Soviet soldiers rape women; Jewish survivors return home to find their property confiscated; and many face pogroms in their home cities. Still others head for Palestine, only to be stopped by British patrols and placed in British camps in Cyprus. Whilst Hitler and Himmler commit suicide, large numbers of perpetrators manage to remain hidden. The British capture ex-Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoss but they do not recognize him. He is then freed and finds work on a farm in northern Germany. Adolf Eichmann becomes a lumberjack in the same region, while Josef Mengele works as a farmhand in Bavaria. In the chaos of post-war Europe, some Jews take revenge into their own hands, creating groups of avengers to locate and murder Nazis. Hoss is found by the British, tried in Poland and later hanged at Auschwitz. Eichmann and Mengele flee to Argentina. In 1960 Eichmann is captured by the Israelis, brought to trial and executed in 1961. Mengele dies of natural causes in 1979, a free man. Relatively few of the SS-men from Auschwitz are ever found and put on trial. Many have never confronted their role in 'the Final Solution,' while those they persecuted will never forget. The Search for Redemption hears from a member of the SS garrison at Auschwitz who confronts Holocaust deniers. The program also follows individual tales of former prisoners who did not find peace after returning home, as well as the story of a Jewish avenger who admits to the murder of several Nazis and gives a first-hand description of Adolf Eichmann's capture.moreless

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