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Furthermore, the paper graphically shows for the first time that the great bulk of the killings occurred in a rapid 3-month pulse during August to October 1942 (see Fig. To support the analyses, this paper also explores the spatial and spatiotemporal dynamics of Operation Reinhard, as it took place in the GG and over the rail network; it presents simple indices for quantifying mass killings, with a particular focus on “kill rate,” and it improves documentation of historical events that took place over the Holocaust with the aid of visual time series, a spatiotemporal video, and basic data analysis.Reconstruction of Holocaust monthly kill rate in units of murders per month, totalled for Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka death camps and plotted as a green line from January 1942 to December 1944.
One of the aims of this paper is to demonstrate the importance of “quantifying” warfare and conflicts by taking the Holocaust as a particular case study.
An attempt is made to go beyond conventional questions, such as “How many victims perished? Instead, we quantify how the Nazi war against the Jews evolved in time over an important period during the Holocaust and the rate at which the genocide proceeded.
However, the tempo, kill rates, and spatial dynamics of these events were poorly documented.
Using an unusual dataset originating from railway transportation records, this study identifies an extreme phase of hyperintense killing when 1.47 million Jews—more than 25% of the Jews killed in all 6 years of World War II—were murdered by the Nazis in an intense,100-day (~3-month) surge.
The thick yellow box indicates the range of Holocaust kill rates based on recent erroneously published estimates that assume it to be one-third to one-fifth as intense as the Rwanda genocide kill rate.
As indicated, this study also relates to the broader framework that has sprung up in the social sciences over the last two decades, dealing with the patterns and dynamics of warfare, by learning from and by modeling past events ().In the process, we identify kill rates of extreme magnitude that are almost twice as high as the Rwanda genocide and roughly 10 times higher than commonly believed.This paper is generally concerned with Operation Reinhard, which has been referred to as “the largest single murder campaign within the Holocaust” ()—the region known as the General Government (GG).Developing a deeper understanding of genocides and mass killing events, including their causes, common characteristics, predictability, and mitigation, is thus considered by some as “the most important goal of social science” ().In this respect, lessons learned from the Holocaust continue to play a vital role, and the topic remains as timely as ever.Neither is this information easily found in specialist textbooks, given that they are not particularly specific and offer only limited characterization.However, this is not unexpected since the Holocaust was, after all, a highly complex and chaotic period in history.The superimposed red line is the total number of murders per month after inclusion of Auschwitz victims and Einsatzgruppen shooting victims (see section S1).The actual Holocaust kill rates for the months of August, September, and October 1942 are highlighted by red dots in the ellipse.The three Nazi “death camps” or “killing centers” were infamous for their industrial mass killings and their ability to rapidly liquidate entire Jewish communities with the aid of gas chamber technology, thereby resulting in a large-scale “Holocaust by Gas.” Detailed records of the killings are almost nonexistent because of the Nazis’ tight secrecy around Operation Reinhard.Any information that was recorded was deliberately burnt and destroyed by the Nazis during the war for fear of future incrimination.