Death march

Death march

A death march is a forced march of prisoners of war or other captives or deportees. Those marching must walk over long distances for an extremely long period of time and are not supplied with food or water. Prisoners who collapse are left to die or killed by guards.

Examples of death marches

  • In 1835, Alexander Herzen encountered emaciated cantonists, Jewish boys (some as young as 8 years old) conscripted to the Imperial Russian army. Herzen was being convoyed to his exile at Vyatka, the cantonists were marched to Kazan and their officer complained that a third had already died.[1]
  • During the years 1914-1923, large numbers of Ottoman Greeks were subjected to death marches, in series of events that became known as the Greek genocide.[citation needed]
  • During the 1915 Armenian Genocide, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were forced into death marches through the desert of Deir ez-Zor where most of them perished, leaving few survivors. Today there is a memorial in Deir ez-Zor for the marchers.
  • "The March" refers to a series of death marches during the final stages of World War II in Europe when over 80,000 Allied PoWs were force-marched westward across Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany in winter conditions, lasting about four months from January to April 1945.
  • In the Brünn death march of Summer 1945, Sudeten Germans were expelled by Czechs from Sudetenland to Austria, killing at least 800 in the process.
  • During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, some 70,000 Palestinian Arabs from the cities of Al-Ramla and Lydda were forcibly expelled by Israeli forces, and an estimated 350 people died during what came to be known as the Lydda Death March.[3]

See also


  1. ^ (Russian) Alexander Herzen. "Былое и думы" (My Past and Thoughts), end of Chapter 13: "Беда да и только, треть осталась на дороге."
  2. ^ Marshall, Ian (1998). Story line: exploring the literature of the Appalachian Trail (Illustrated ed.). University of Virginia Press. ISBN 0813917980, 9780813917986. 
  3. ^ Holmes, Richard; Strachan, Hew; Bellamy, Chris; Bicheno, Hugh (2001). The Oxford companion to military history (Illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198662092, 9780198662099. "On 12 July, the Arab inhabitants of the Lydda- Ramie area, amounting to some 70000, were expelled in what became known as the 'Lydda Death March'."
  4. ^ Terence Roehrig (2001). Prosecution of Former Military Leaders in Newly Democratic Nations: The Cases of Argentina, Greece, and South Korea. McFarland & Company. pp. 139. ISBN 978-0786410910. 
  5. ^ Cilliers, Jackie (December 1984). Counter-Insurgency in Rhodesia. London, Sydney & Dover, New Hampshire: Croom Helm. p. 18. ISBN 978-0709934127. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • death march — noun : a march (as of prisoners of war) in which those unable to go on are left to die as they fall * * * death march, a long, forced march, usually of prisoners of war, under conditions exceeding the normal limits of human endurance: »The… …   Useful english dictionary

  • death march — forced march of prisoners for extended periods of time during which many prisoners die due to a lack of food or water or other proper supplies …   English contemporary dictionary

  • death march — /ˈdɛθ matʃ/ (say deth mahch) noun a forced march, as of prisoners, in which many people die from illness and deprivation …   Australian English dictionary

  • death march — noun A forced movement of people, on foot, in such circumstances that many die during the journey …   Wiktionary

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