Why did the Nazi Reich burn and destroy everything near the end of the war?
Answered by: Luke Harrison,WWII Enthusiast
Once Himmler realized the war is pretty much lost with the advancing Soviets, he ordered the SS to destroy all evidence that can be used against them.
Reichsführer of the SS, Heinrich L. Himmler
The first thing he ordered was the destruction of evidence of genocide, like Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The Soviets were advancing so fast, that the SS did not have time to destroy everything.
They managed to destroy a few gas chambers and crematoriums using TNT. When they realized the Soviets were so close, they took all the prisoners they can to undergo a death march.
A death march was a march in harsh terrain and weather, with little to no food or water. Those who fell out of the march were executed on the spot while everyone else kept pushing forward.
Adolf Eichmann who was the architect of Auschwitz,
Executed one of his own soldiers because they killed a Jewish prisoner right before a death march. Kinda pointless, isn’t it? :(
Anyway, the Nazis did not have enough time and resources to destroy what they built to destroy “inferior” people.
Orders were destroyed.
Any orders in forms of documents were destroyed/burned. What orders you ask?
Orders that can be used against them in genocide or other war crimes.
In 1945, the allies went through every piece of documentation and other evidence to see who was responsible against the genocide of Jews and others.
They couldn’t find a single piece of evidence that proved Hitler ordered the deaths of all those people. The allies went through all of Hitler’s personal videos, and hired professional lip readers. There was no mention of the concentration camps or genocide. This is another thing used in Holocaust denial.
Said, in writing, something like, “The Führer has just ordered the final extermination of the Jews.”
It said that in 1942, Himmler was in a meeting with Hitler, where he ordered the Final Solution.
Final Solution, the mass extermination of Jews and other “undesirables” in large numbers
Hitler mostly gave oral orders, which maybe never made it on paper.
The SS tried saving themselves by destroying their documents and orders, saying they were SS. However; many SS soldiers had SS Blood Group Tattoos.
SS Blood Group Tattoo
This tattoo was only an indication of what blood type the soldier was. The allies were aware of this and used these tattoos as evidence to find who was SS, and who may had been responsible. Some SS soldiers tried getting rid of these tattoos by cutting into their own skin, covering it with makeup, using bandages, etc. The allies were aware of these tricks.
So to answer your question, the Reichsführer of the SS ordered all personnel to destroy any evidence that can be used against them.