Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

Episode 5

Murder and Intrigue

Aired Unknown Feb 08, 2005 on BBC Two
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Episode Summary

The Hungarians have been unwilling to deport their Jews, but Adolf Eichmann is in charge after the German occupation of March 1944. Eichmann offers one of the most politically involved members of the Jewish community a chance to broker a deal with his contacts abroad -1 million Jewish lives saved for the provision of certain goods. Still, Eichmann continues to organize the deportations from Hungary to Auschwitz. Hoss guarantees that the ovens in Crematorium V are fully operational and that five ditches are dug next to this gas chamber complex. Within ten weeks, 437,000 Hungarian Jews are sent to Auschwitz. About 75% of them are killed on arrival. The Jewish envoy sent by Eichmann, Joel Brandt, meets Jewish Agency representatives in Syria, where he does not get the help he expects. News of the offer also reaches the Allies, but it is dismissed as blackmail. When confirmed news of the mass gassings reaches the Western Allies, they appear lukewarm about a bombing mission to the camp. Orders are given to liquidate the camp for Gypsy families, who have been kept separate from other inmates. The Sonderkommando, working in the gas chamber complexes, know that they will also be killed to protect the secret of their task - the processing of the bodies that are killed in the gas chambers. In October 1944 they revolt but are crushed by the SS guards. Meanwhile, the Red Army is approaching. In December 1944 and January 1945, the gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau are dismantled to cover the Nazis' tracks. Those prisoners who are well enough to walk are forced on a march in sub-zero temperatures back towards Germany, while Nazis prepare to go into hiding. A witness to the liquidation of the Gypsy family camp gives testimony, as well as members of the Sonderkommando who worked in the gas chamber complexes and a Hungarian Jew who survived by accepting a place on Eichmann's 'goodwill gesture' to the Allies - a train of Jews bound for neutral Switzerland.moreless

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