There are nearly 40,000 sites, in Germany and in countries which the Germans occupied between 1939 and 1945. There, the Nazis and their collaborators systematically murdered nearly six million Jews as well as a huge number of people from other groups considered by the Nazis to be inferior, racially or for ideological or political reasons. These groups included Roma, homosexuals, the mentally and physically disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists, and more than three million Soviet prisoners of war.
These sites persist today throughout these countries. Together they formed a pathway to genocide: destroyed communities and ghettos, internment camps, transit camps, labour camps, sub camps, concentration camps, extermination camps and displacement camps. They are connected by the landscapes that surround them, and the forced journeys made between them. At these sites, individual killings and slaughter on a mass scale took place, the numbers involved almost beyond our understanding. These are sites where literal life or death decisions were made, but they are also sites of hope, survival and memory.