This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. You can assist by editing it. (April 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Armenian people are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Ottoman soldiers during the Armenian genocide. Kharpert, Ottoman Empire, April 1915.

A death march is a forced march of prisoners of war or other captives or deportees in which individuals are left to die along the way.[1] It is distinguished in this way from simple prisoner transport via foot march. Article 19 of the Geneva Convention requires that prisoners must be moved away from a danger zone such as an advancing front line, to a place that may be considered more secure. It is not required to evacuate prisoners that are too unwell or injured to move. In times of war such evacuations can be difficult to carry out.

Death marches usually feature harsh physical labour and abuse, neglect of prisoner injury and illness, deliberate starvation and dehydration, humiliation, torture, and execution of those unable to keep up the marching pace. The march may end at a prisoner-of-war camp or internment camp, or it may continue until all the prisoners are dead.


Before World War II

Arab-Swahili slave traders and their captives on the Ruvuma River
Long Walk of the Navajo

David Livingstone wrote of the East African slave trade:

We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer.[4]

During World War II

See also: Death marches (Holocaust)

American and Filipino prisoners of war use improvised litters to carry fallen comrades following the Bataan Death March.
May 11, 1945, German civilians are forced to walk past the bodies of 30 Jewish women murdered by German SS troops in a 500-kilometre (300 mi) death march from Helmbrecht to Volary.
Croatian civilians and ustashe in death march during the Yugoslav death march of Nazi collaborators

During World War II, death marches of POWs occurred in both Nazi-Occupied Europe and the Japanese Empire. Death marches of Jews and others held in concentration camps were common in the later stages of The Holocaust as the Allies closed in on concentration camps in occupied Europe.

After World War II

French soldiers who were captured at Điện Biên Phủ were force-marched over 600 km (370 mi). Of 10,863 prisoners, only 3,290 of them were repatriated four months later.

See also


  1. ^ "Definition of DEATH MARCH".
  2. ^ Falola, Toyin; Warnock, Amanda (2007). Encyclopedia of the Middle Passage. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 97. ISBN 978-0313334801. OCLC 230753290.
  3. ^ Friedman, Saul S (2000). Jews and the American Slave Trade. Transaction Publishers. p. 232. ISBN 978-1412826938.
  4. ^ Livingstone, David (2006). The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death. Echo Library. p. 46. ISBN 184637555X.
  5. ^ "Trail of Tears". Choctaw Nation. Archived from the original on 2016-03-12.
  6. ^ Foreman, Grant (1974) [1932]. Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. University of Oklahoma Press. Archived from the original on April 13, 2012.
  7. ^ "Creeks".
  8. ^ Marshall, Ian (1998). Story line: exploring the literature of the Appalachian Trail (Illustrated ed.). University of Virginia Press. ISBN 978-0813917986.
  9. ^ Dizard, Jesse A. (2016). "Nome Cult Trail". ARC-GIS storymap. technical assistance from Dexter Nelson and Cathie Benjamin. Department of Anthropology, California State University, Chico – via Geography and Planning Department at CSU Chico.
  10. ^ Immanuel, Marc (21 April 2017). "The Forced Relocation of the Yavapai".
  11. ^ Mann, Nicholas (2005). Sedona, Sacred Earth: A Guide to the Red Rock County. Light Technology Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 978-1622336524.
  12. ^ Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold's Ghost A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Mariner Books. p. 135.
  13. ^ "回族 – 广西民族报网". Archived from the original on 2021-01-22. Retrieved 2022-12-22.
  14. ^ "Exiled Armenians Starve in the Desert". The New York Times. Boston. August 8, 1916.
  15. ^ Winter, Jay, ed. (2004). America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511497605. ISBN 978-0521829588.
  16. ^ Bruce Pannier (2 August 2006). "Kyrgyzstan: Victims Of 1916 'Urkun' Tragedy Commemorated". RFE/RL.
  17. ^ Beevor, Antony (1998). "25 'The Sword of Stalingrad'". Stalingrad. London: Viking. ISBN 978-0141032405.
  18. ^ Griess, Thomas E. (2002). The Second World War: Europe and the Mediterranean (The West Point Military History Series). West Point Military Series; First Printing edition. p. 134. ISBN 978-0757001604.
  19. ^ Steiner, K., Lael, R. R., & Taylor, L. (1985). War Crimes and Command Responsibility: From the Bataan Death March to the MyLai Massacre. Pacific Affairs, 58(2), 293.
  20. ^ Maguire, Peter. Law and War: International Law and American History. Columbia University Press (2010), 108
  21. ^ "Death marches". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Archived from the original on 2009-08-25.
  22. ^ Gilbert, Martin (May 1993). Atlas of the Holocaust (Revised and Updated ed.). William Morrow & Company. ISBN 0688123643. (map of forced marches)
  23. ^ Pohl, J. Otto (1997). The Stalinist Penal System. McFarland. p. 58. ISBN 0786403365.
  24. ^ Pohl, J. Otto (1997). The Stalinist Penal System. McFarland. p. 148. ISBN 0786403365. Pohl cites Russian archival sources for the death toll in the special settlements from 1941-49
  25. ^ "UNPO: Chechnya: European Parliament recognises the genocide of the Chechen People in 1944".
  26. ^ Naimark, Norman M (2011). Stalin's Genocides. Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity. Princeton University Press. p. 131. ISBN 978-0691147840. OCLC 587249108.
  27. ^ Rosefielde, Steven (2009). Red Holocaust. Routledge. p. 84. ISBN 978-0415777575.
  28. ^ "Ukraine's Parliament Recognizes 1944 'Genocide' Of Crimean Tatars". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 12 November 2015.
  29. ^ Corsellis, John, & Marcus Ferrar. 2005. Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival After World War II. London: I.B. Tauris, p. 204.
  30. ^ Vuletić, Dominik (December 2007). "Kaznenopravni i povijesni aspekti bleiburškog zločina". Lawyer (in Croatian). Zagreb, Croatia: Pravnik. 41 (85): 125–150. ISSN 0352-342X. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  31. ^ Morris, Benny; Benny, Morris (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. ISBN 978-0521009676.
  32. ^ "Israel Bars Rabin from Relating '48 Eviction of Arabs". The New York Times. 23 October 1979.
  33. ^ Holmes, Richard; Strachan, Hew; Bellamy, Chris; Bicheno, Hugh (2001). The Oxford companion to military history (Illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0198662099. On 12 July, the Arab inhabitants of the Lydda-Ramle area, amounting to some 70,000, were expelled in what became known as the 'Lydda Death March'.
  34. ^ Terence Roehrig (2001). Prosecution of Former Military Leaders in Newly Democratic Nations: The Cases of Argentina, Greece, and South Korea. McFarland & Company. p. 139. ISBN 978-0786410910.
  35. ^ Lewis H. Carlson (2002). Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War: An Oral History of Korean War POWs. St Martin's Press. pp. 49–50, 60–62. ISBN 0312286848.

Further reading