As the Allied troops began to advance, Soviet troops were able to liberate the Majdanek camp of Eastern Poland on July 24, 1944 where over 360,000 Jews had already been executed. Himmler then ordered for the complete ruination of the gas chambers in fear of the encroaching Soviet Army.
As Hitler’s Reich started to fall apart, the SS rounded up the surviving inmates of the outlying concentration camps in order to conduct death marches. The total numbers of the Nazi holocaust included about 66,000 from the Auschwitz camp. Many holocaust victims dropped dead during the march, collapsing from exhaustion, or were shot by the SS if they failed to keep up with the rest of the marchers.
By January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army had finally made it to Auschwitz but by then there was an estimated 1.5 million Jews dead along with 500,000 Polish prisoners, Gypsies, and Soviet POWs perished. The Western Allies forced their way into Germany in the spring of that year to liberate the holocaust victims in the camps Buchenwald, Dachau and Bergen-Belsen. The full extent of the terrible 12-year Nazi holocaust became realized as American and British soldiers found heaps of emaciated corpses and by listening to the horrifying accounts told by the surviving holocaust victims.
April 30, 1945 marked the final end to the holocaust as Berlin became surrounded by the Soviet Army. On the same day, Hitler had committed suicide, and the Reich collapsed soon after. The numbers after it was all over showed that most of Europe’s Jews had been killed, with four million lives being lost in gas chambers and another two million either shot dead or having suffered the imminent causes of starvation, exertion, disease, or trauma within the ghettos. The remaining surviving holocaust victims were left with the horrific and traumatic memories of the hardships endured and the remainders of a shattered race.