As the Allied troops were closing in, the Germans made the murder of Jews a top priority.
June 1944: On the Eastern Front, the Russian army was mauling the German army. On the Western Front was "D-Day" and the Allies moving. It was clear to the Germans that the war was lost. And yet, when the German generals were desperate for supplies and reinforcements and troop trains, what did the Nazis do?
The Germans were losing the war, and it was more important to them to kill the Jews. The last great transport: 450,000 Hungarian Jews shipped to Auschwitz in eight weeks. For the murderous genius, Adolf Eichmann, this was the "piece d’resistance."
With German retreat, the evidence of genocide began to be uncovered. The Germans tried to cover up the evidence by removing bodies from mass graves, burning them, and plowing the area. They tried to destroy the camps by disassembling them. The site of some camps today are beautiful meadows. But where is there a rug big enough to cover up six million people?
During the final period of the war, the Nazis were focusing on killing the Jews. With the Allies and the Russians closing in, the Nazis conducted "Death Marches," deeper into German territory so they could wring a little more work out of these "bodies” and also cover up their crimes.
Finally, the end came. Hitler committed suicide in April 1945. Berlin was captured on May 1, 1945, and on May 8-9 the German forces surrendered. World War II was over.
Goebbels, when he was put to death, said, "I am happy to go to my death, because we brought down 6 million Jews with us."
The reality is horrifyingly clear: The Nazi war was targeted first and foremost against the Jews.
When the liberating armies finally entered the camps, they were met with scenes of unspeakable horror.
When the first GI's started returning home from the war, one of the things that drove them crazy was that no one would believe the stories of what they saw.
Scenes of horror and carnage – mountains of bodies awaiting cremation – met the eye at every turn. Pyres of wood and bodies remained unlit as the fleeing Nazis abandoned their attempts to cover up their atrocities.
Thousands of camp inmates, in a state of living death from starvation and disease, required immediate care. Alas, that care was too late in coming for too many; tens of thousands died from typhus or malnutrition.
The war was over. The Nazi horror had been stopped.
But where would the survivors go? Some tried to return to their old towns, and were killed by mobs or driven away by the "new" occupants of their house. In Kielce, Poland, 40 Jews were killed in a pogrom a year after the end of World War II.
Others tried to emigrate to the land of Israel, but were prevented by the British blockade and sent to camps in Cyprus. Conditions in the camps were very harsh, with poor sanitation, over-crowding, lack of privacy, and shortage of clean water.
Other survivors managed to emigrate to the West: the United States, Canada, England, France. There they built new lives, starting new families to replace those savagely murdered by the Nazi.