As Allied troops moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Nazi Germany, they began to encounter and liberate concentration camps. Troops first found camp survivors, many of whom had survived death marches into the interior of Germany. Soviet forces were the first to approach a major Nazi camp, reaching Majdanek near Lublin, Poland, in July 1944. Surprised by the rapid Soviet advance, the Germans attempted to demolish the camp in an effort to hide the evidence of mass murder.
The Soviets liberated major Nazi camps at Auschwitz, Stutthof, Sachsenhausen, and Ravensbruck. U.S. forces liberated Buchenwald, Dora-Mittelbau, Flossenburg, Dachau, and Mauthausen. British forces liberated camps in northern Germany, including Neuengamme and Bergen-Belsen.