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Study reveals more Jewish ghettos in Europe

Even after decades of in-depth Holocaust research, excruciating details are only now emerging about more than 1,100 German-run ghettos in Eastern Europe where the Nazis murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews. And there were about 200 more ghettos than previously believed, said Martin Dean, editor of the recently published Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, Volume II.

It's part of a long-term effort to document every site of organised Nazi persecution, beyond the well-known extermination camps like Auschwitz. It 'gives us information about ghettos that would slip into historical oblivion and be forgotten forever if we didn't have this volume,' Holocaust scholar Lawrence Langer said.

'Who knew there were more than 1,000 ghettos?' More Jews died during World War II in Poland and the western Soviet Union today's Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania than the estimated 1 million gassed in Auschwitz, Langer said.

'The people are dead, but at least we have the memory of the place where they lived and some knowledge of who killed them,' said Langer, an 83-year-old professor of English emeritus at Boston's Simmons College. Researchers at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington painstakingly collected details for the encyclopedia's more than 2,000 pages from the communities where Germans herded Jews and killed them if they tried to escape.

Researchers and writers scoured the world to find new witnesses, study archives opened after the fall of communism and survivors' texts and testimonies in many languages. For town after town, village after village, and even just spots in the countryside, Dean and his team assembled pieces of a grisly puzzle, which he said 'shows that the Nazis made a concerted effort to find every last Jew in every last place' and eliminate each one. Dean is a Holocaust scholar at the museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.
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