Death march

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Arab slave traders and their captives along the Ruvuma river (in today's Tanzania and Mozambique), 19th-century engraving.

A death march is a forced march of prisoners of war or other captives or deportees with the intent to kill, brutalize, weaken and/or demoralize as many of the captives as possible along the way. It is distinguished in this way from simple prisoner transport via foot march. Death marches usually feature harsh physical labor and abuse, neglect of prisoner injury and illness, deliberate starvation and dehydration, humiliation and torture, and execution of those unable to keep up the marching pace. The march may end at a prisoner-of-war camp or internment camp, or it may continue until all the prisoners are dead (a form of "execution by labor", as seen in the Armenian genocide among other examples).

The signing of the Geneva Convention[when?] made death marches a form of war crime.

Examples[edit]

Before World War II[edit]

We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer.[1]

  • In 1836, after the Creek War, the United States Army deported 2,500 Muskogee from Alabama in chains as prisoners-of-war.[3][dead link] The rest of the tribe (12,000) followed, being deported by the Army. Upon arrival in Oklahoma, 3,500 died of infection.[4]

During World War II[edit]

May 11, 1945 German civilians are forced to walk past bodies of 30 Jewish women starved to death by German SS troops in a 300-mile march across Czechoslovakia.

The term 'death march' was used in the context of the World War II history by victims and then by historians to refer to the forcible movement between fall 1944 and April 1945 by Nazi Germany of thousands of prisoners, from Nazi concentration camps near the advancing war fronts to camps inside Germany.

  • An infamous death-march occurred in January 1945, as the Soviet Red Army advanced on occupied Poland. Nine days before the Soviets arrived at the death camp at Auschwitz, the SS marched nearly 60,000 prisoners out of the camp toward Wodzisław Śląski (German: Loslau), 35 miles away, where they were put on freight trains to other camps. Approximately 15,000 prisoners died on the way.[6][7]
Dead soldiers on the Bataan Death March

After World War II[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Livingstone (2006). "The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death". Echo Library. p.46. ISBN 1-84637-555-X
  2. ^ http://www.choctawnation.com/history/choctaw-nation-history/trail-of-tears/
  3. ^ http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=638; see also Grant Foreman. Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. University of Oklahoma Press: 1974 [1932]
  4. ^ http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Creeks.html#b
  5. ^ Marshall, Ian (1998). Story line: exploring the literature of the Appalachian Trail (Illustrated ed.). University of Virginia Press. ISBN 978-0-8139-1798-6. 
  6. ^ "Death marches", United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  7. ^ Martin Gilbert (May 199). Atlas of the Holocaust (map of forced marches). William Morrow & Company. ISBN 0688123643. 
  8. ^ Holmes, Richard; Strachan, Hew; Bellamy, Chris; Bicheno, Hugh (2001). The Oxford companion to military history (Illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780198662099. "On 12 July, the Arab inhabitants of the Lydda-Ramle area, amounting to some 70,000, were expelled in what became known as the 'Lydda Death March'." 
  9. ^ Terence Roehrig (2001). Prosecution of Former Military Leaders in Newly Democratic Nations: The Cases of Argentina, Greece, and South Korea. McFarland & Company. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-7864-1091-0.