New exhibition details brutality of death marches

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

New exhibition details brutality of death marches

The Wiener Library explores how hundreds of thousands were forcibly evacuated, with many dying due to exhaustion, being shot for failing to keep up, or randomly murdered

The brutality of the Nazi death marches and those who were forced to endure them is the focus of a new exhibition from The Wiener Library, which opened on Tuesday. 

Death Marches: Evidence and Memory explores how, towards the end of the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of inmates were forcibly evacuated in terrible conditions and ordered to walk for days from one camp to another, despite their already emaciated state. 

Tens of thousands of people died at the roadside of exhaustion, being shot for failing to keep up, or murdered in seemingly random massacres. 

These “mobile concentration camps” overturn the idea that the brutality of the camps was kept entirely separate from the German population. 

No one could fail to observe the emaciated, weakened inmates, the dead bodies that littered the roads and the brutality of the SS guards. Indeed, a broad spectrum of the German population persecuted these evacuated prisoners.

Eugene Black

Some civilians shot inmates, while others refused them food. Local people also denounced to the SS prisoners who had escaped from marches. While there are instances of civilians helping inmates by sheltering them in their homes, resistance was rare. 

Co-curated by professor Dan Stone and Dr Christine Schmidt, the exhibition features first-hand testimonies of those who survived, including from Eugene Black who, as a teenager, was sent to three camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau, before surviving a death march just a month before the war ended in April 1945.

Death Marches: Evidence and Memory runs until 27 August, Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am-5pm at The Wiener Holocaust Library, Russell Square, London.

Pre-booking is essential,

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: