Heinrich Himmler, Chief of German Concentration Camps Orders That “The Death Rate in the Concentration Camps Must be Reduced at All Costs”

Heinrich Himmler, chief of the Concentration Camps issued orders that “The death rate in the concentration camps must be reduced at all costs” (Reitlinger, “The Final Solution”). The camps had been hit with a deadly typhus epidemic that spread by fleas and body lice. Stomach pain, high fever, emaciation and death can quickly follow. All of the camps were factories and the loss of workers was hurting war production. Inspector of the camps, Richard Glucks responded to Himmler’s order on January 20, 1943, “Every means will be used to lower the death rates” (Nuremberg Tribunal Document No. 1523).

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