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Majdanek & Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin - MOTL 2011

  • Broadcast in Judaism
Josh Broide

Josh Broide


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Between April 29, 1942, and November 3, 1943, Jewish prisoners were the overwhelming majority of prisoners registered at Majdanek. Recent research indicates that the SS deported between 74,000 and 90,000 Jews to the Majdanek main camp (excluding subcamps). 

The SS killed tens of thousands of Jews at Majdanek. The majority of them arrived in Majdanek as forced laborers and either died as a result of the brutally inhumane living conditions or were killed in the gas chambers after the Germans determined that they could no longer work. Majdanek’s gas chambers were also used to kill prisoners from other camps in Lublin, such as the Lipowa Street camp in Lublin, who were no longer able to work. Some Jewish victims were killed in the gas chambers upon arrival, though presently available documentation does not permit estimates. Many, however, were killed in shooting operations. Many others died of disease, starvation, exposure and overwork.

In late July 1944, as Soviet forces approached Lublin, the Germans hastily evacuated Majdanek. The SS had evacuated most of the prisoners to concentration camps further west during the spring of 1944. Soviet troops captured Lublin and liberated Majdanek on July 24. The Germans did not have time to dismantle the camp entirely. Captured virtually intact, Majdanek was the first major concentration camp to be liberated. Soviet officials invited journalists to inspect the camp and evidence of the horrors that had occurred there.

During the Agudat Israel congress in Vienna, apart from Daf Yomi, Shapiro announced one more project concerning the creation of a modern Talmudic academy. Lublin was selected for its site because of its venerable traditions. A yeshiva had functioned there from the 16th century, and its sages became the patrons of the planned academy.