Here the Nazi Butchers Wasted Nothing

In 1944 a journalist toured the Nazi death camp at Majdanek, giving many Americans their first glimpse into their horrors.

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In observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we look back at The Saturday Evening Post’s coverage of one of history’s darkest episodes.

Long before Americans had entered World War II, they knew about Nazis’ brutal treatment of Jews. But many weren’t ready to believe the news of death camps and mass slaughter. Reports of the Nazis’ program of exterminating Jews, which began in earnest in 1942, was greeted with skepticism or sheer disbelief. How could a civilized nation actually murder millions?

By 1944, though, American soldiers and journalists were entering the lands occupied by German forces, and they were seeing the Holocaust first-hand.

In this article from the October 28, 1944 issue of the Post, Edgar Snow wrote of what he’d seen at the Majdanek death camp and confirmed the unthinkable to Post readers. He was astounded to see how the Nazis conducted barbaric mass murder with scientific order, writing that the camps perverted “the very virtues of a once great people into the service of a machinery of crimes almost too monstrous for the human mind to accept.”

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