the Germans retreated from Eastern Europe, they left the concentration camps
and took any inmates that could still walk with them. They marched tens of thousands
of prisoners across hundreds of miles on what became known as death marches.
By this time the prisoners were starving, diseased and very weak. The winter
of 1944-1945 was a bitterly cold one and the prisoners were walking through
freezing temperatures, often sleeping in the snow outside. There was virtually
no food and no shelter. As a result of this mistreatment, prisoners fell by
the roadside and either were left to die, or were shot by the SS guards who
were escorting them.