Scrapbookpages Blog

January 25, 2014

Were former concentration camp prisoners forced to live in the camps after they were liberated?

Filed under: Holocaust — furtherglory @ 1:01 pm

Today, I found a comment on the Reddit website, which you can read at http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/18s90e/so_i_was_in_auschwitz_last_weekend/

The comment is quoted below:

[–]4ecohgie 1115 points 11 months ago

All 4 of my grandparents were sent to Auschwitz (among a number of other camps, through which they were transferred). What is particularly chilling for me is that, after the war, this is where most CC prisoners/refugees had to live for a number of years. I can’t imagine having to continue to reside in the same place that your entire family was murdered for years after liberation.

Adding to this. Not only did people live in the concentration camps after the war (until immigrating), but they also married and had children there. Both sets of grandparents married at the camps in 45 and 46, and my two uncles were born at Bergen-Belsen, if I remember correctly. So strange. Especially because each grandparent entered the camp with a different spouse (and some with young children), and left with a wholly different family.

I don’t know how they didn’t go completely insane.

It would have indeed been horrible if Jewish survivors in the Auschwitz camp had been forced to live there after Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Union on January 27, 1945. Most of the survivors of Auschwitz were marched out of the camp, BEFORE THE CAMP WAS LIBERATED, and taken to camps in Germany, including Bergen-Belsen.

Survivors at Bergen-Belsen were NOT forced to live for 5 years (1945 to 1950) in the barracks of the Bergen-Belsen camp.  This would not have been possible, because the lice-infested barracks were burned to the ground by the British, after the camp was voluntarily turned over to them.

Barracks at Bergen-Belsen were burned to the ground by the British

Barracks at Bergen-Belsen were burned to the ground by the British

According to Wikipedia, the survivors of Bergen-Belsen were moved to the SS training camp that was right next door to the Bergen-Belsen camp.

Over the next days the surviving prisoners [at Bergen-Belsen] were deloused and moved to a nearby German Panzer army camp, which became the Bergen-Belsen DP (displaced persons) camp. Over a period of four weeks, almost 29,000 of the survivors were moved there. Before the handover, the SS had managed to destroy the camp’s administrative files, thereby eradicating most written evidence.[12] The remaining SS personnel were now forced by armed Allied troops to bury the bodies in pits.[12]

A photo of the SS garrison, where the Bergen-Belsen survivors lived for 5 years, after the camp was turned over to the British on April 15, 1945, is shown below.

German Army garrison where Bergen-Belsen survivors lived for 5 years

German Army garrison where Bergen-Belsen survivors lived for 5 years

So why were the Bergen-Belsen survivors forced to live in an Army garrison for 5 years?

The survivors were NOT FORCED to live there.  They stayed at the German Army garrison for 5 years, while they waited to go to Palestine. For years, the British refused to allow the Jews to enter Palestine because they anticipated the trouble that is still going on in the Middle East.

Here is another quote from Wikipedia:

The survivors of the [Bergen-Belsen] concentration camp became the first residents of the future DP camp, which was around 2 kilometres from the main concentration camp area, in a former German Army barracks.[1][2]:60 Initially, the British medical staff used buildings in the former Panzertruppenschule (school for Panzer troops) as an emergency hospital to treat the former inmates away from the disastrous conditions of the concentration camp.[3] On April 21 the first patients were moved to the new location, disinfected and issued with new clothing.[3] This movement of people was completed by May 18 and at that point the former barracks had around 12,000 hospital beds.[3]

There are also claims that Holocaust survivors were forced to live in the former Dachau camp for 17 years. Actually, it was the Germans who were expelled from what is now the Czech Republic, who lived in the former barracks at Dachau for 17 years.

After 4 years of blogging and 1107 blog posts, the winner is “the surgeon of Birkenau”

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:37 am

I started my blog on February 5, 2010 with my very first blog post, which was about Tadeusz Borowski, a non-Jewish political prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau, who wrote a book about the camp, in which he famously told about the soccer games played by the prisoners, as the Jews were marching to their deaths in the Krema III gas chamber.

Since then, I have written a total of 1107 blog posts, and the post that has gotten the most hits is the one about the “surgeon of Birkenau” which you can read at http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/was-the-surgeon-of-birkenau-really-a-surgeon/

Why is this blog post so popular?  It must be because it is about the movie entitled The Debt, which seems to be based on the story of Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi that everyone loves to hate.

Left to right: Dr. Josef Mengele, Rudold Hoess, and Josef Kramer

Left to right: Dr. Josef Mengele, Rudold Hoess, and Josef Kramer

You can read about Dr. Josef Mengele on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Selection.html

and on this page of my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Selection2.html

Dr. Mengele made an unforgetable impression on the prisoners at Auchwitz-Birkenau because he was handsome and charming, and he whistled tunes from German opera, as he waved the Jews to the right or to the left, to live or to die.

There are numerous Holocaust survivors, who are still alive today, because Dr. Mengele was too distracted by his whistling to pay attention to the ages of the children that he was waving to the right to live.

January 24, 2014

Why is Sacramento, CA the only major city that does not have a Holocaust Museum?

Filed under: California, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:19 pm

Sacramento is the Capital city of California. The city has many famous museums, including a Railroad Museum, an Automobile Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, and the State Indian Museum.  But no Holocaust Museum.  Why is that?

Many years ago, there was a proposed Holocaust Museum for Sacramento, but the plan was canceled when the Armenians wanted to be included.  Holocaustians do not want to acknowledge that there was an Armenian genocide because this would take away from the Holocaust, which is the worst crime ever committed in the entire history of the world.

Now California wants to adopt a “Genocide Curriculum Measure,” which would mandate the teaching of the Armenian Genocide in California schools.  California is one of the 5 states in America which has mandatory Holocaust education.

The following quote is from an article in today’s news, which you can read at http://www.armenianweekly.com/2014/01/24/california-assembly-panel-adopts-genocide-curriculum-measure/:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Standing strong against Armenian Genocide denial, the California State Assembly Education Committee unanimously adopted AB-659 on Jan. 15 a measure introduced by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian which would bolster the commitment of the State of California to teach of the Armenian Genocide to public school students in Grades 7-12.

Following the hearing, Nazarian said, “It was with great pride that I introduced AB 659, a bill that will call for the adoption of an oral testimony component in teaching students about the Armenian Genocide. I would like to thank the ANCA-WR for their assistance with this bill and look forward to their continued support as AB 659 makes its way to the Assembly floor. I would like to also commend my fellow colleagues on the Assembly Committee on Education in voting unanimously on the side of truth and justice”

Testifying forcefully in support of the measure was ANCA Western Region Legislative Affairs Director Haig Baghdassarian. Turkish American groups presented a diatribe of genocide denial, which compelled Committee Chairwoman Joan Buchanan and fellow Committee members Rocky Chavez and Shirley Weber to set the record straight about the importance of speaking clearly about genocide and historical injustices.

I previously blogged here about the “Fresno Indians” which is what Armenians living in California are sometimes called.  Note that the new legislation was sponsored by Adrin Nazarian, who is Armenian.

You can read more about the Armenian Genocide controversy on this blog: http://armeniangenocideblog.wordpress.com/tag/armenian-genocide-recognition/

January 22, 2014

If Hitler were still alive, would Oprah interview him?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:50 am

Every morning, I check my blog stats to see where readers of my blog are (literally) coming from.  This morning, I found that some readers had been directed to my blog by a website, which features a fake interview, that Oprah might have conducted with Hitler if he were still alive; you can read it here.  I love this ingenious fake interview with Hitler, but there is one tiny mistake and one big mistake in the article.

The tiny mistake is this:  Two photos are shown with the caption “During the war, the Americans were very concerned about lice and typhus.”

A sign that was put up by the British at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

A sign that was put up by the British at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

One of the photos on the website is shown above; it is purported to be a sign in the USA, but this is actually a sign that the British put up at Bergen-Belsen, which had a huge epidemic of typhus at the end of the war.

America did not have any typhus epidemics during World War II.  America had a typhus vaccine and all of the American soldiers were vaccinated against typhus before going overseas.

DDT was first used in Italy in 1943 and during World War II, it was being sprayed every where in America.  German doctors had already discovered that DDT is harmful and they were not using it.  Instead, the Germans were killing the lice in clothing by using Zykon-B gas in a machine, such was the one pictured below.  The photo was taken at the Dachau concentration camp.

Machine used at Dachau to kill lice in clothing

Machine used at Dachau to kill lice in clothing

German doctors were working on developing a typhus vaccine at the Buchenwald concentration camp; you can read about this on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Buchenwald/Atrocities1.html

Now for the big mistake in the fake Oprah interview with Hitler, which is contained in this quote:

Oprah: But my understanding is that the Holocaust was well documented.

Hitler: Be careful with the use of that term, “well documented”. Propagandists will often use it as a tool of persuasion, when in fact, there is no documentation. Not only is there no documentation of this fictitious genocide, but two separate forensic tests of the ruins of the Auschwitz “gas chambers” came back negative!

Oprah: Ruins? But the gas chamber is still there at the Auschwitz museum.

Hitler: No. The Auschwitz gas chamber is a post war propaganda reconstruction. The museum curator will even tell you that, but only if you ask. What they claim was the original gas chamber lies in a pile of ruins. These ruins were indeed tested. There is therefore no forensic evidence to support the big lie.

Two photos are shown at this point in the narrative of Oprah’s interview of Hitler.

One photo shows  the ruins of Krema II (crematorium #2) at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which “lies in ruins,” and the other photo shows the gas chamber at the Auschwitz I camp, which was not blown up. You can see photos of the ruins of Krema II on one of my previous blog posts at http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/are-the-ruins-of-auschwitz-collapsing/

The photo of the Auschwitz I gas chamber on the fake Oprah interview website is similar to the photo below.

View of what tourists see inside the reconstructed gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp

View of what tourists see inside the reconstructed gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp

Ruins of the oven room in Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau

My 2005 photo of the ruins of the oven room in Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The photo above shows the ruins of the oven room in Krema II, not the  ruins of the alleged Krema II gas chamber.  The ruins of the alleged gas chamber in Krema II were “indeed tested” by Germar Rudolf and Fred Leuchter, both of whom  climbed down into the ruins of the alleged gas chamber and did not find enough evidence of Zyklon-B residue, which would prove that it was a gas chamber.

The ruins of the alleged Krema II gas chamber are shown below.

Ruins of alleged gas chamber in Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Ruins of alleged gas chamber in Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The alleged gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp was converted into a bomb shelter by the Germans.  For 50 years, the tour guides at Auschwitz told visitors that the alleged gas chamber was original, although it is really a reconstruction, done by the Soviet Union.

You can see photos of the reconstructed gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz08.html

January 15, 2014

Memorial in Tel Aviv honors gays and lesbians

A news article in The Times of Israel tells about a new memorial in Tel Aviv, which is shown in the photo below:

Monument to gays and lesbians in Tel Aviv

Pink Triangle Monument to gays and lesbians in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv unveils memorial to gay Holocaust victims
Landmark is the first in Israel to deal universally with Jewish and non-Jewish individuals persecuted by the Nazis

TEL AVIV — Israel’s cultural and financial capital has unveiled a memorial honoring gays and lesbians persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.

Authorities in Tel Aviv unveiled the memorial Friday. It shows a pink triangle — the symbol gays were forced to wear in concentration camps. Writing on it in English, Hebrew and German reads: “In memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Did those hateful Nazis actually persecute innocent men and women for their “sexual orientation and gender identify”?  NO!  They persecuted criminals who broke the German law, known as Paragraph 175, which had been on the books since 1871 when the German states were first united into a country.  Many other countries, including the United States of America, had similar laws which made homosexual acts a crime.

Did the evil Nazis go around peeking through bedroom windows to find men who were breaking the law known as Paragraph 175?  NO!  They arrested men who were having gay sex in public, in bathhouses and on stage in night clubs.  As far as I know, women were not arrested in Germany, nor in any other country, for being lesbians.

The main concentration camp, where homosexual men were sent, was Sachsenhausen, the camp in Oranienburg, near Berlin.  When I visited the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site in 1999, I picked up an Information Leaflet, which told about  the Klinkerwerk [brick works], which was a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen.

According to the leaflet, the Klinkerwerk satellite camp was used for “… the deliberate annihilation of certain prisoners groups.”

“From July to September 1942, the systematically planned murders of some 180 to 200 homosexual prisoners were carried out in the Klinkerwerk satellite camp.” according to the Information Leaflet.

As the closest concentration camp to Berlin, Sachsenhausen had more homosexual prisoners than any of the other camps. A total of approximately 10,000 homosexuals were sent to all the Nazi concentration camps combined during the 12 years of the Third Reich, according to a display which I saw in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. in the year 2000.

In an era when homosexuals were still in the closet in all the countries of the world, Berlin was a mecca for gays. The movie Cabaret depicts the gay scene in Berlin before the Nazis came to power. It was based on a book entitled Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood, who lived an openly gay lifestyle in Berlin, the capital city of Germany.

After the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, male homosexuals who broke the German law, by flaunting their lifestyle in public, were arrested. After their second arrest and the completion of their second prison term, homosexual men were sent to a concentration camp for six months.  As far as I know, no lesbians were ever sent to a concentration camp, solely for being a lesbian.

Some of the young men, who were sent to Sachsenhausen after they had been imprisoned for public homosexual activity, were actually Strichjunge, or male prostitutes, from Berlin.

This quote is from the memoirs of Rudolf Höss:

The strict camp life and the hard work quickly reeducated this type [ male prostitutes]. Most of them worked very hard and took great care not to get into trouble so that they could be released as soon as possible. They also avoided associating with those afflicted with this depravity and wanted to make it known that they had nothing to do with homosexuals. In this way countless rehabilitated young men could be released without having a relapse.

In 1943 the brick factory [Klinkerwerk] was partly converted into an armament factory where hand grenades were produced. On April 10, 1945, an Allied bombing raid destroyed the armament factory and the brick factory. About 200 prisoners of the concentration camp lost their lives in the raid.

Homosexuals were also sent to Dachau, but when the Dachau camp was converted into a Memorial Site, they were not honored.

Pink triangle memorial in Dachau Museum

Pink triangle memorial in the Dachau Museum

Notice the pick triangle on the right in the photograph above, taken at Dachau in 2003.  At the bottom of the plaque, the words read “To the homosexual victims of National Socialism, the homosexual initiatives of Munich, 1985.” The inscription at the top reads “Beaten to death, killed again by silence.”

The inscription on the triangle refers to the fact that homosexuals in all the Nazi concentration camps received very harsh treatment from their fellow prisoners, and after the war, the homosexuals were not included in the commemoration of the victims. The pink triangle at Dachau was first placed, in a small room, inside the Museum on June 18, 1995.

In the early days of the Dachau camp, the Kapos, who supervised the other prisoners, were German criminals, who typically treated the homosexuals very badly. Later the internal administration of the Dachau camp was taken over by the Communist inmates, who did not honor the homosexuals.

After the war, it was the Communists who designed and supervised the Dachau Memorial Site, which was set up in 1965. There is no pink triangle on the bas relief sculpture at the International Monument at Dachau, and also no green triangle in honor of the German criminals. The new 2003 Dachau museum included  both the homosexuals and the German criminals as victims of the Nazis.

This quote from the news article in The Times of Israel explains why the city of Tel Aviv was chosen for a memorial to the gays and lesbians, who were persecuted by the Nazis:

The landmark joins similar memorials in Amsterdam, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney dedicated to gay victims of the Holocaust. While Israel has scores of Holocaust monuments, the Tel Aviv memorial is the first that deals universally with Jewish and non-Jewish victims alike.

“This will be the first and only memorial site in Israel to mention the victims of the Nazis who were persecuted for anything other than being Jewish,” Lev told Haaretz. “As a cosmopolitan city and an international gay center, Tel Aviv will offer a memorial site that is universal in its essence. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a monument, but a place — a place of quiet that will invite visitors to sit, contemplate, reflect and be in solitude.”

Tel Aviv has a vibrant gay scene and is a top international destination for gay tourists.

Many Germans referred to Hitler’s Germany as a paradise.  Hitler tried to clean up the country.  The YouTube video below is from the movie Cabaret.

January 12, 2014

The Military Channel on TV tells the story of a British SOE woman who was burned alive at Natzweiler

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:00 pm

This morning, I watched a TV show on the Military Channel (Channel 274 on my TV) which was entitled “The Nazis Hunters.”  It was all about how the British hunted down German war criminals after World War II.

I watched the show to the end and was shocked to learn that a British SOE woman had been burned alive at the Natzwwiler concentration camp. As she was being shoved into the oven, she managed to scratch the face of a man named Peter Straub, scarring him for life.  The woman was not named on the Military Channel show, but I know, from my research on this subject, that the woman who was allegedly burned alive at Natzweiler was Andrée Borrel.

I  previously blogged about Andrée Borrel here.

The following quote is from Flames in the Field, by Rita Kramer:

The most dramatic testimony [about Andrée Borrel] came from Walter Schultz, who had been an interpreter in the camp’s Political Department. It was here the orders came regarding prisoners transferred to the camp by the Gestapo for ‘special treatment,’ a euphemism the meaning of which was clearly understood by all. It was not necessary for files to be made for new arrivals accompanied, like the four women, by requests for special treatment.

Hearsay testimony, such as the testimony of Walter Schultz, which would not have been allowed in a normal trial, was acceptable at the Allied Military Tribunals. Walter Schultz claimed that Peter Straub was very drunk on the day of the secret execution of the four women and that Straub had told him all about the women being killed by phenol injection. One of the women had regained consciousness after the injection and had scratched his face, as she fought being put into the oven alive.

According to Rita Kramer, the author of Flames in the Field, when Straub was interrogated by Vera Atkins, he still had scars on his face from the scratches inflicted by Andrée Borrel.

On the show, the Natzweiler camp was called a “secret camp.” This was news to me.  I thought that it was a concentration camp, like any other.

I had tuned in to the Military Channel show a few minutes late, and the first thing that I heard was something about “the Vosges mountains.” I was immediately interested because I knew that the Natzweiler concentration camp in Alsace had been located in the vicinity of the Vosges mountains.

Entrance into Natzweiler concentration camp

Entrance into Natzweiler concentration camp

A photo, very similar to my photo above, was shown on the Military Channel show, although it was not immediately identified as the entrance into the Natzweiler camp.

Vera Atkins

Vera Atkins

Then a photo of a woman was shown.  I immediately recognized the face of Vera Atkins, who was in the British SOE during World War II.  At this point in the show, her photo was not yet identified. Way to build up suspense!

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Vera Atkins:

Vera Atkins was born Vera-May Rosenberg to Max Rosenberg, a German Jewish father and his British Jewish wife, Zeftro Hilda, known as Hilda in Galai, Romania.  [...]

Her position as a woman, a Jew and a non-British national in SOE would also explain Atkins’ defensiveness during and after the war.

Atkins persuaded M.R.D. Foot, SOE’s official historian, not to reveal her Romanian origins in his history.

She remained to her death a strong defender of F Section’s wartime record, and ensured that each of the 12 women murdered in the three concentration camps of Natzweiler-Struthof, Dachau and Ravensbrueck are commemorated by memorial plaques close to where they were killed.

Strangely, the Military Channel show entitled “The Nazi Hunters” ended before it was revealed that Vera Atkins later changed her mind and claimed that one of the four women, who were allegedly executed at Natzweiler and burned in the oven there, had actually been executed and burned at Dachau.

A photo of the sinister looking oven at Natzweiler, similar to my photo below, was shown on the Military Channel show.

The one cremation oven at the Natzweiler camp

The one cremation oven at the Natzweiler camp

The following information about Natzweiler is from my own website, based on my research (Some of this information was also mentioned on the Military Channel show):

The Trial of Werner Röhde and 8 others in a British Military Court at Wuppertal, Germany began on May 29, 1946 and ended on June 1, 1946. The nine men were charged with the murder of four British SOE agents on July 6, 1944 at the Natzweiler concentration camp in Alsace.

Werner Röhde was a medical doctor who had allegedly murdered the four SOE agents by giving them a lethal injection. (It was the custom of the Allies to strip the title of Doctor from the accused in war crimes proceedings.)

The 8 others in the dock were Fritz Hartjenstein, the Commandant at Natzweiler, Max Wochner and Wolfgang Zeuss from the Political Department at Natzweiler, Peter Straub who was the man in charge of executions, Franz Berg who was a prisoner in the camp, Emil Brüttel, Emil Meier and Kurt aus dem Bruch. Dr. Heinrich Plaza, who had also allegedly participated in the lethal injection of the women, was not on trial because he had not been captured.

In all of the Allied Military Tribunals, the concept of a “common plan” or co-responsibility for war crimes was used. This meant that anyone, who was present when a war crime was committed, was equally guilty because the accused should have acted to prevent the crime from taking place.

The evidence for the prosecution had been gathered by Major Bill Barkworth of the SAS War Crimes Investigation team and Vera Atkins, a Squadron Officer of the British SOE, who had interrogated the Natzweiler staff and some of the Natzweiler prisoners, who were also captured SOE agents.

The four SOE agents, who were allegedly murdered at Natzweiler, had been captured by the German Gestapo and had not returned after the war ended. The key prosecution witnesses, Albert Guérisse, Brian Stonehouse and Dr. Georges Boogaerts, who were all members of the SOE, had a motive for wanting these 4 women SOE agents to go down in history as heroines, not as missing persons.

The first witness for the prosecution was Vera Atkins, who testified on May 29, 1944 that Andrée Borrel, Vera Leigh, Diana Rowden and Noor Inayat Khan had been murdered at Natzweiler.

It was not known until much later that Noor Inayat Khan was allegedly executed at Dachau and that Sonia Olschanezky was the fourth victim at Natzweiler. However, before her testimony, Vera Atkins had made sure that the Court would not allow the names of the victims to be published. Atkins herself was referred to in the press as a “WAAF officer” and her name was withheld.

According to Sarah Helm, who wrote a biography of Vera Atkins, entitled A Life in Secrets, Atkins did not want the SOE to be “exposed to any close scrutiny as a result of the case.” The SOE was a secret organization, also known as Churchill’s Secret Army, and it was engaged in espionage and sabotage behind enemy lines. The four women agents had been in the F section which operated as illegal insurgents in France after that country had signed an Armistice with Germany in 1940.

The attorney for the defense, Dr. Grobel, argued in court that “international law allowed for the execution of irregular combatants” and that the court should “consider this case from the point of view that it was a normal and simple execution of spies.” Vera Atkins was quoted by the press as saying that “the women were not spies.”

One thing the Allied Military Tribunals would not tolerate was any mention by the defense that the Allies had committed similar acts. During World War II, the British executed 15 German spies. The last person to be executed at the famous Tower of London was Josef Jacobs who was captured after he broke his leg during a parachute jump. He was shot on August 15, 1941. In America, 8 captured German saboteurs were sentenced to death and 6 of them were executed in the electric chair. The other two sentences were reduced because the men had turned against their countrymen and cooperated with the Americans. Although the 8 Germans were caught before they had the opportunity to commit any acts of sabotage, 6 of them were executed because they had violated the Laws of War by going behind enemy lines to commit hostile acts without being in uniform.

According to Rita Kramer, who wrote a book entitled Flames in the Field, the proceedings of the British Military Court were widely publicized by the press, but the names of the women who had been allegedly executed at Natzweiler were not published until two years later, and even then it was not revealed that they had been the subject of a British Military Court where nine men had been prosecuted for their alleged execution.

In 1958, a series of articles in a British newspaper, which was a condensed version of a book entitled Death be not Proud by Elizabeth Nichols, accused the authorities of keeping the names of the dead women secret as a “War Office cover-up of official blunders,” according to Rita Kramer.

The alleged “cover-up” was for the purpose of keeping secret the accusation that the British SOE had deliberately sent radio operators to France to be caught so that the British could transmit false information to their radios after the agents were captured by the Germans.

If the execution of the 8 women SOE agents had been authorized, the order would have been given to Herman Rösner of the Karlsruhe Gestapo to carry out. Rösner would have then instructed Max Wassmer and Christian Ott to take the women to Natzweiler.

Under the “common plan” concept used by the Allies in all their war crimes trials, Rösner would have been guilty of murder, but he was never prosecuted. In the 1960ies, he was hired by the British to provide intelligence for NATO, according to Sarah Helm’s book.

The procedure, in a war crimes trial, was to interrogate the accused before the proceedings began and to obtain depositions which the accused would then repeat before the Court. However, in the British and American proceedings, the accused were allowed to have an attorney to represent them. Their attorneys were allowed to use any means to defend them, including the accusation that their clients had been unduly persuaded to give incriminating information in their depositions which they now wanted to recant on the witness stand.

Testimony or confessions about prior bad acts could be admitted, even though it had nothing to do with the crime that was being prosecuted. For example, one of the accused, Peter Straub, who had worked for a number of years in Auschwitz before being transferred to Natzweiler, had supposedly told Walter Schultz, a prisoner at Natzweiler, that he had “put four million people up the chimney.”

According to Rita Kramer, all of the accused would “later deny their complicity,” after giving depositions beforehand in which they stated that they had been involved in the execution of the four SOE agents at Natzweiler. The fact that all of the accused wanted to change their previous testimony, given in their depositions, indicates that they had somehow been induced to incriminate themselves before the proceedings began.

Peter Straub, the executioner at Natzweiler, denied everything, claiming that he was not present when the executions took place. Straub was the hangman; executions at Natzweiler were normally carried out by hanging and all the prisoners were required to watch.

The following quote is from Flames in the Field, by Rita Kramer:

During the period of their detention together at Recklinghausen awaiting trial, several of the defendants had second thoughts about the statements that they had made to Barkworth and sworn to earlier. At the trial they expressed the wish to revise some of the evidence they had given in their affidavits implicating each other. Some lost their memories, others refreshed theirs. This led to some retractions having to do with just exactly who was present in the crematorium that night. But it didn’t matter. There was ample evidence to convince the court of the guilt of those in the dock.

Ms. Kramer used the expression “ample evidence,” when what she obviously meant was “ample testimony.”

There were four women SOE agents missing and presumed dead. There was no hard evidence whatsoever that these four women had been executed at Natzweiler: no death records, no execution order, no autopsy report, no bodies, not even the correct name of one of the alleged victims. Vera Atkins had to prevail upon Dr. Röhde to sign death certificates for the four women because there were no official records of their deaths.

One of the accused at the proceedings of the British Military Court was Franz Berg, who was a Kapo or one of the prisoners who assisted the guards at Natzweiler. It was his job to stoke the crematorium furnace.

During the proceedings, Berg told the incredible story that he had been ordered by Peter Straub, who was in charge of executions, to heat up the oven in the crematorium and then to disappear. At 9:30 p.m. Berg was still stoking the oven when Dr. Werner Röhde and the camp Commandant, SS-Obersturmbanführer Friedrich “Fritz” Hartjenstein, came into the crematorium. Both Dr. Röhde and Hartjenstein had previously worked at the Auschwitz II camp, also known as Birkenau, before being transferred to Natzweiler. Dr. Röhde had just arrived at Natzweiler; he was replacing Dr. Heinrich Plaza, who was already wearing civilian clothes in preparation for his departure.

Accompanying them were Obersturmführer Johannes Otto, the adjutant to the Commandant, and Wolfgang Zeuss, who worked in the Political Department. A medical orderly named Emil Brüttel and Robert Nietsch were also in the group.

Berg was ordered by Dr. Röhde to go to his quarters in a dormitory room in the crematorium. He pretended to be asleep when Commandant Hartjenstein and his adjutant, Johannes Otto, came to check on him a few minutes later. They locked the door from the outside to keep Berg from witnessing the secret execution of the four women. However, Georg Fuhrmann, a prisoner in the top bunk of the dorm room, was able to see through the transom over the door into the corridor.

Berg testified that Fuhrmann whispered to him, giving him a running commentary on what was happening in the corridor. There was the noise of bodies being dragged across the floor and the sounds of heavy breathing and low groaning combined. The fourth woman resisted and Dr. Röhde told her that she was being given an injection for typhus, according to Berg’s account.

Part of Berg’s deposition was quoted by Rita Kramer in Flames in the Field:

From the noise of the crematorium oven doors which I heard, I can state definitely that in each case the groaning women were placed immediately in the crematorium oven. When [the officials] had gone, we went to the crematorium oven, opened the door and saw that there were four blackened bodies within. Next morning in the course of my duties I had to clear the ashes out of the crematorium oven. I found a pink woman’s stocking garter on the floor near the oven.

As the photo of the oven at Natzweiler above shows, the bodies were put inside by means of a stretcher. Berg testified that afterwards, he had seen four blackened bodies inside, apparently not completely burned. The bodies had been undressed before they were cremated, and Berg had found a tell-tale piece of feminine clothing right beside the oven.

Berg referred to the women as “Jewish” in his testimony, according to Rita Kramer, but only one of the four women, Sonia Olschanezky, was Jewish. There were 29 Jewish women who had been brought to Natzweiler from Auschwitz in the Summer of 1943 to be gassed, but their bodies had not been cremated.

There were medical experiments being done at Natzweiler, including experiments done on Gypsy women. One of the experiments was an attempt to find a vaccine for typhus, which the Germans had not yet successfully developed. The four women SOE agents were allegedly told that they were being given an injection for typhus, but were instead given phenol injections.

Dr. Heinrich Plaza was leaving the Natzweiler camp on the day of the alleged execution of the women, and there was a party for him that night. This could explain why Peter Straub was drunk, as Schultz testified at the trial. Could the four “well-dressed” women who arrived in the camp at 3 p.m. that day have been the wives of the SS men, or perhaps prostitutes, who were brought to the camp for the party? According to several witnesses who saw the women when they arrived, each of them was carrying a box or a small suitcase. Who brings a suitcase to an execution?

It was not until 1956 that the public learned the fate of the men who were brought before the British Military Court at Wuppertal on May 29, 1946. The British had kept the sentences and the execution of the accused secret.

Peter Straub, the SS officer in charge of executions at Natzweiler, was convicted and was subsequently sentenced to 13 years in prison on June 1, 1946. This was a remarkably short sentence, considering that Straub had told a prisoner named Walter Schultz that he was responsible for killing 4 million people at Auschwitz and that he had shoved a woman into a crematory oven alive and had the scars to prove it.

Straub was tried again by another British Military Court at Wuppertal for complicity in the hanging of an RAF pilot who was a prisoner at Natzweiler in the Summer of 1944. He was convicted of this crime and on June 5, 1946 he was sentenced to death. He was hanged on October 11, 1946.

Magnus Wochner was sentenced to 10 years in prison for carrying out the alleged order from RSHA to execute the four SOE women. He was then turned over to the French for prosecution but was released.

According to Sarah Helm’s book “A Life in Secrets,” Franz Berg was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Other sources say that Berg was sentenced to death and hanged on October 11, 1946. He may have been tried again on other charges for which he received the death penalty.

Max Wassmer and Christian Ott, the two Gestapo men from Karlsruhe, who allegedly accompanied the four women SOE agents to Natzweiler and also accompanied four other women SOE agents to Dachau, were never charged with a crime for their part in the alleged murders of the eight women. They were rewarded for giving information to their interrogators by being released from custody. Both were in their late fifties and were highly experienced in Gestapo work; they knew how to tell investigators what they wanted to hear.

The Military Channel show ended before telling us that one of the British SOE women, Noor Inayat Khan, who was allegedly killed at Natzweiler, was later allegedly executed at Dachau.

Thus ends the credibility of the Military Channel.

January 10, 2014

At last, the truth about war criminal August Eigruber comes out

In preparation for a new movie, coming out in February 2014, I am reading the book by Robert M. Edsel, entitled The Monuments Men.  The movie, also entitled The Monuments Men, is based on the book.

I ordered the book from Amazon.com and started reading it two days ago.  The book is 540 pages long, so of course I didn’t start reading it on page one.  No, I went straight to the index and started looking up words that would lead me to the important parts of the book.

The first word that I looked up in the index was Ohrdruf.  I have written extensively about Ohrdruf on my website and on my blog.  I found the name August Eigruber while I was looking up something else.

August Eigruber on the witness stand, Lt. Col. Denson on the right

August Eigruber on the witness stand, Lt. Col. Denson on the right

August Eigruber was put on trial by American prosecutors in an American Military Tribunal proceeding against the war criminals associated with the Mauhausen Concentration camp. In the photo above, Lt. Col. William Denson, the American prosecutor, seems to be amused by Eigruber’s testimony.

Several years ago, I wrote about Eigruber on my website.

The following quote is from my website:

The “big fish” among the accused in the Mauthausen case was August Eigruber, the former Gauleiter of Upper Austria. He was charged with participating in the common design to violate the Laws and Usages of War because, along with other alleged crimes, he had been involved in helping Heinrich Himmler to acquire the property where the Mauthausen camp was built. Hartheim Castle, near Linz, was also under Eigruber’s jurisdiction and he had leased it to the Reich. Prisoners from Mauthausen had been taken to the castle to be gassed, according to confessions obtained by the American military interrogators from several of the accused men.

Eigruber was an associate of such top Nazis as Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Adolf Eichmann and Adolf Hitler, all of whom were from Austria. He was also a friend of Martin Bormann, who was Hitler’s deputy. When he refused to talk after he was captured, Eigruber was sent to Washington, DC for questioning. Eigruber’s importance was such that he was originally slated to be among the men who were tried at the Nuremberg IMT.

According to Joshua Greene’s book Justice at Dachau, the chief prosecutor at Dachau, Lt. Col. William Denson, put in a call to Robert Jackson, the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg IMT and told him, “Send me Eigruber. I’ll hang him high as Haman.” Haman was the villain in the biblical story on which the Jewish holiday of Purim is based. Denson made good on his boast: Eigruber was hanged on May 28, 1947.

On February 18, 1946, August Eigruber was brought from Nuremberg to Dachau and turned over to Lt. Paul Guth for interrogation. Lt. Guth testified on the witness stand that he had not coerced or threatened Eigruber in any way. Although he had previously refused to talk, Eigruber voluntarily signed a statement for Lt. Guth the next day, in which he admitted that he was responsible for leasing Hartheim Castle to the Reich in 1939 for the killing of mental patients who were incurably ill or unable to work. He also admitted to inspecting the Mauthausen gas chamber once and to participating in the execution of ten prisoners of unknown nationality during the night in March or April 1945. Eigruber’s statement ended with the following words:

“This statement was made by me on three pages on the 19th of February 1946, in Dachau, Germany, of my own free will and without compulsion. To save time, a clerk wrote it down on a typewriter. I have read through it, and I have made corrections that appeared necessary to me. The above declaration contains my statements, and I swear before God that it is the entire truth. Signed, August Eigruber.”

[...]

Lt. Col. William Denson became famous for his 100% conviction rate in the first four proceedings conducted by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau. He died in 1998 at the age of 85 and in his obituary, he was quoted as saying that August Eigruber was “one of the most arrogant defendants I have ever encountered.” Eigruber was allegedly tortured to force him to confess, and there is even a rumor that he was “mutilated and castrated” after he was captured, but apparently even that didn’t humble him.

On page 505 of The Monuments Men, I read this about August Eigruber:

[Eigruber] was found guilty of war crimes committed at the Mauthausen concentration camp, including the execution of prisoners of war.

Much of the evidence used to convict [Eigruber] was from archives found in the salt mine at Altausee, probably another reason [Eigruber] was so keen to destroy the mine.

Altaussee salt mine where German art was stored

Altaussee salt mine where German art was stored

The photo above is from Wikipedia which has this caption on the photo:
Altaussee, May 1945 after the removal of the Nazi-bombs at the Nazi stolen art repository (Altaussee salt mine)

So maybe Eigruber actually did try to blow up the salt mine where German art treasures were stored.  This brings up the question:  Was he brought to America to be tortured into confessing that he had planted a bomb to destroy evidence against himself?

I wrote about the Prisoners of War, who were killed at Mauthausen, on my website here.  The Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention of 1929, and they were killing German POWs, so the Germans did not think that they were obligated to observe the Geneva Convention with regard to the Soviet Union.

August Eigruber did not personally commit any war crimes at Mauthausen. He didn’t personally execute POWs. He was charged with crimes at Mauthausen under the “common plan” concept that was invented by the Allies AFTER the war.  Under this concept, anyone who had anything whatsoever to do with a concentration camp was a war criminal.

Apparently Eigruber’s real crime was that he wanted to blow up the Altaussee salt mine to destroy the “spoils of war” to which the Americans felt that they were entitled.

On page 371 of The Monuments Men, I read this:

… [Bernard] Bernstein (one of the Monuments Men) was proceeding under the assumption that everything in the [Merkers] mine, including the [German] artwork, was captured enemy loot.  It would be months before he was disavowed of that notion.

On page 374, I had read that the Merkers mine (near Ohrdruf) was in the part of Germany that had been promised to the Soviet Union.  So Bernard Bernstein was proceeding under the assumption that Americans would not only steal all the German art treasures from the Germans, but they would also steal everything from the Soviets, who were entitled to the loot from their future zone of occupation of Germany.

So it turns out that Eigruber’s crime was that he wanted to destroy art that belonged to Germany, rather than see it go to the enemy as the “spoils of war.”  Strangely, that was not mentioned in the book about the trials of the German war criminals.

On page 371, just after the quote about Bernard Bernstein, we find this information about the Ohrdruf labor camp:

A[n Allied] guard showed us how the blood had congealed in coarse black scabs where the starving prisoners had torn out the entrails of the dead for food.

In all my research about Ohrdruf, I never learned about the starving prisoners eating the entrails of the dead for food.  I had to look up the word entrails to make sure of the meaning of the word.  Entrails are the intestines or guts of an animal or human being.  The food in the intestines has been digested and is on its way to being shit.  I can’t think of anything more likely to kill a person than eating entrails.

American officer Hayden Sears talks to Ohrdruf survivors

American officer Hayden Sears talks to Ohrdruf survivors

The photo above shows well dressed and well fed survivors of Ohrdruf talking to an American Army officer.  Apparently, eating entrails had not affected them.

The story of eating entrails at Ohrdruf was told by “an Allied guard.”  Why did the Germans have an “Allied guard” at a labor camp?  Could this have been a Kapo, that was an illegal combatant imprisoned at Ohrdruf, who helped the German guards?

The photo below shows a Kapo, standing on the left, who acted as a guide for General Eisenhower and other American military officers at Ohrdruf.  The next day, this man was killed by the other prisoners.

The man on the far left is a Kapo who worked as a helper at the Ohrdruf camp

The man on the far left is a Kapo who worked as a helper at the Ohrdruf camp

Finally, I started reading the book, starting with Chapter 1, which is about Harry Ettlinger, a Jew from Karlsruhe, Germany who escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, and came to America, where he settled in Newark, New Jersey.  The book tells about how Ettlinger had a hard time getting out of Germany because no country wanted to take the Jews who were fleeing the Nazis. As a German Jew, Ettlinger was the perfect candidate for the group, known as The Monuments Men.

General Eisenhower inspects the gold in the Merker mine near Ohrdruf

General Eisenhower inspects the gold in the Merkers mine near Ohrdruf

In the photo above, the soldier on the far left is Benjamin B. Ferencz.  Strangely, he is not included in the index of the book The Monuments Men. In 1945, Ferencz was transferred from General Patton’s army to the newly created War Crimes Branch of the U.S. Army, where his job was to gather evidence for future trials of German war criminals. A Jew from Transylvania, Ferencz had moved with his family to America at the age of 10 months.

January 9, 2014

First Anne, then Liese, go into hiding from the Nazis, and two Holocaust books are the end result

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:37 am

My blog post today is about a book, written by Dr. Nelly Toll, which you can read about in a news article here.

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

In her most recent book, “Beyond the Hidden Walls,” the story concentrates on Liese — based on Toll’s aunt — who is expelled from a tuberculosis sanatorium in Switzerland in the middle of winter in 1942.

Before I went to visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, several years ago, I studied up on Anne’s story and her book The Diary of Anne Frank, which was published by her father after her death.

I learned that Anne Frank’s full name was Anneliese, which was a very popular name for girls in Germany back in those days, and probably still is. As was the case with many girls, back then, she went by the nickname Anne.  She could have just as easily chosen the name Liese for her nickname. The fact that the Franks named their daughter Anneliese indicates that they were assimilated.  Otherwise, they would have named their daughter Sara or Leah or some other popular Jewish name.

There is a famous German song about Anneliese, which you can hear on the YouTube video below, and learn how to pronounce the name.  If you are getting bored, reading my blog post, you can stop and dance the polka, as you listen to the music.

I learned, before I went to visit the famous rooms where Anne hid from the Nazis, that the name Anne is correctly pronounced, in German, with the final e pronounced like the final e in Porsche.  This stood me in good stead on my visit because the attendants at the Museum immediately knew that I was no ordinary American tourist: I pronounced the final e.

Sign at the entrance to the Anne Frank house at 267 Prinsengracht street

Sign at the entrance to the Anne Frank house at 267 Prinsengracht street

The tourist entrance to the Anne Frank house is through the house next door, as shown in the photo above.  It is possible to get into the Annex without climbing the steep steps up to the third floor, but the attendants at the Museum don’t tell you that — not even if you pronounce the name Anne correctly.  You have to be a very important person in order to be allowed to take the elevator.

AnneFrankHouse
The photo above shows a cross section of the annex, where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis, and the house in front of the Annex. The house is on the left, and the annex  is on the right. Tourists enter the house through a door that has been cut into the wall of the passageway which connects the house and the annex on the ground floor.

The room, where Anne Frank hid, is on the 2nd floor (3rd floor in American terms) on the side nearest to the viewer. The tiny window on the side of the attic in the annex had a view of the Westerkerk (church).

The folks, who own the Anne Frank house, are very protective of it.  Tourists are not allowed to take photos inside the house, nor the annex, because the folks who own the house want to make money off the books and videos that they sell to tourists.  Anyone who dares to put up a photo of the interior of the house, on the Internet, will immediately be ordered to remove the photo.  Fortunately, no one can stop you from taking photos outside the house.

The house in front of the annex where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis

The house in front of the annex where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis

This quote is from the news article about Dr. Toll’s book:

Nelly Toll, a Voorhees resident, painter and author, is herself a Holocaust survivor. She began writing when she was just a child hiding from the Nazis.

Toll’s parents decided, after more and more people they knew were being taken by the Nazis, to go into hiding. Her father searched their village and finally found a man who once lived in their building to agree to hide her and her mother in a room on the third floor of their home.

Toll has written four books, and her novel, “Behind the Secret Window,” as well as a lot of her artwork, was about her time in hiding. More than 50,000 copies of “Behind the Secret Window” were sold. And the book received eight awards.

In case you are wondering:  Yes, I know how to polk.  I have danced the polka many times to the song about Anneliese.

January 8, 2014

American soldier, who liberated Mauthausen, saved woman who was on the steps of the crematorium

Marsha Kreuzman is a Holocaust survivor of the Plaszow, Auschwitz, and Mauthausen concentration camps.  The story of her liberation from Mauthausen is told in a recent news article which you can read here.

The Mauthausen concentration camp was liberated by American soldiers on May 5, 1945.  General Eisenhower ordered a re-enactment of the liberation on May 6, 1945 so that photographs could be taken. This was the day that American soldiers, from the 11th Armored Division, including Joe Barbella, arrived at the camp.

The liberation of Mauthausen was re-enacted on May 6, 1945 when soldiers of the 11th Armored Division arrived

The liberation of Mauthausen was re-enacted on May 6, 1945 when soldiers of the 11th Armored Division arrived at the camp

The photograph above was taken on May 6, 1945, the day after the official liberation of the Mauthausen main camp on May 5, 1945. The photo shows prisoners surrounding an M8 Greyhound armored car.

According to Pierre Serge Choumoff (a prisoner at the camp), the liberation of Mauthausen, as shown in the photo above, was reenacted for photographers at the request of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Nazi eagle over the gate had already been removed by the prisoners and a banner, written in Spanish, had been put up by the Spanish political prisoners. The English translation reads “The Spanish Anti-Fascists Salute the Liberating Forces.”

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

LIVINGSTON, N.J., (RNS) It’s been almost 70 years, but Marsha Kreuzman still remembers the moment she lay outside the steps of a Nazi crematorium wishing she could die.

Kreuzman had already lost her mother, father and brother to the Holocaust, and death seemed inevitable, she said.

But then an American soldier picked up her 68-pound body and whisked her to safety.  [...]

On May 5, 1945, U.S. soldiers from the 11th Armored Division would cross the Linz border in Austria and liberate Mauthausen. [Joe] Barbella wouldn’t enter the camp with the medical unit until the day after it was liberated, he said.

“When we got there, we saw all these people were skin and bones,” Barbella said.

Kreuzman said she remembers lying down just outside the camp’s crematorium when the soldiers arrived. She heard the words: “You’re free.”

She fainted and a soldier carried her to a field hospital, where doctors would start nursing her back to health, she said.

Apparently, 68-pound Marsha had been lying on the steps down into the crematorium for one whole day before Joe Barbella arrived and the liberation of the camp was re-enacted for the benefit of the press.  Or was she placed on the steps for the re-enactment?  Hopefully, the Communist prisoners, who had helped to liberate camp, had picked her up, on May 5th, and had taken her inside the camp hospital which was located right next to the crematorium.

The white building in the photo is the camp hospital

The white building on the left is the former Mauthausen camp hospital, which is now a Museum.  The steps down into the crematorium are shown in the center of the photo

Steps down into the Crematorium at Mauthausen

Steps down into the Crematorium at Mauthausen are shown in the center of the photo

The photo above shows a view of the Mauthausen crematorium chimney. I took this photo from across the street, where I was standing at the open gate into the Quarantine camp where prisoners were confined for two weeks upon their arrival in an attempt to prevent epidemics. The green building, on the right side, is the bunker or camp prison. An outside stairway, at the end of the green building, leads to the execution area underground where prisoners were shot or hanged.

The gas chamber is located underground in the area to the left of the chimney. In the foreground is the opening into the Quarantine camp.

Marsha Krauzman says that she was lying on the steps down into the underground crematorium, when she was rescued by an American soldier on May 6, 1945. She had been taken to the crematorium by the German guards, presumably to be killed in the gas chamber.

On May 5, 1945, the date given for the official liberation of the Mauthausen main concentration camp, a platoon of 23 men from the 11th Armored Division of the US Third Army, led by Staff Sgt. Albert J. Kosiek, had arrived at the main camp near the town of Mauthausen. They had been guided there by Louis Haefliger, a Red Cross representative who was staying in the camp, and two German soldiers, after first liberating the Gusen sub-camp, 6 kilometers to the west.

Haefliger had taken it upon himself to go out and find American soldiers fighting in the area. He brought them first to the Gusen sub-camp because of the rumors that Hitler had instructed Ernst Kaltenbrunner to give the order to kill all the prisoners by blowing them up in the underground tunnels of the munitions factories there.

After the prisoners in the Gusen sub-camp were released by the American liberators, fighting broke out among the inmates and over 500 of the prisoners were brutally killed by their fellow inmates, according to Sgt. Kosiek. The platoon of American soldiers was unable to control the released prisoners, so they left the Gusen camp and proceeded to the main camp, where the Communist prisoners had already organized an International Committee that was ready to take control of the main camp.

For many years, the Mauthausen camp had only one oven

For many years, the Mauthausen camp had only one oven

Although Mauthausen allegedly had a gas chamber, which was underground, in the crematorium building, there was only one cremation oven, which is shown in the photo above.  The prisoners had been working to build a second double oven in the last few weeks before the camp was liberated.

Marsha Kreuzman was lying on the steps that led to the underground gas chamber, which doubled as a shower room.

In the YouTube video below, you can hear a young Marcha Kreuzman tell the story about how she was taken, along with many other prisoners, to the Mauthausen crematorium. She implies in her talk that the prisoners were taken to the crematorium to be killed and then burned. Or was she actually taken to the camp hospital which was right next door to the crematorium?

January 7, 2014

A letter to Irma Grese, from Batsheva Dagan, not her real name

Batsheva Dagan (real name Isabella Rubinstein) is an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor, who is out on the lecture circuit, telling the story of her victory over the Nazis. She says that she was a prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau for two years.  (Scroll way down to read her life story, as published in the The Jerusalem Post.)

In a recent lecture to school children in Ireland, which you can read about in The Jerusalem Post online news here, she said that she is amazed to re-read the “fire and brimstone” letter that she wrote to Nazi war criminal Irma Grese; her letter was published in The Palestine Post in October 1945.

Irma Grese, a notorious guard at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen

Irma Grese, a notorious guard at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen

The letter, which she did not mail, was written to a 21-year-old German girl who had worked as a guard at Auschwitz-Birkenau and later, for one month, at Bergen-Belsen.  Irma Grese became famous when she was put on trial by the British in 1945, after the Bergen-Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over to them in April 1945.

Irma Grese, who was not very sophisticated, nor highly educated, had stayed behind at Bergen-Belsen, to help the British with the typhus epidemic, that had caused an unmitigated disaster in the former Bergen-Belsen Exchange camp, which had become a concentration camp in the last months of the war.

Sign put up by the British at Bergen-Belsen after the camp was turned over to them

Sign put up by the British at Bergen-Belsen after the camp was turned over to them

When the British arrived at the Belsen camp, Irma Grese was standing at the gate into the camp, along with the Belsen Commandant Josef Kramer, offering her help.

Commandant Josef Kramer was arrested and put in leg irons.

Commandant Josef Kramer was arrested and put in leg irons after he offered to help the British

Most of the Belsen guards had run away before the British arrived, but not the brave German girl, Irma Grese, who took her life in her hands to help the British during a typhus epidemic. To her surprise, Irma was immediately arrested by the British, and a few months later, she was put on trial as a war criminal. Josef Kramer was also arrested and put into a dark prison cell.

Irma Grese and Josef Kramer after they were arrested by the British

Irma Grese and Josef Kramer after they were arrested by the British at Bergen Belsen

In recent years, Irma Grese has become a cult figure among neo-Nazis. She is considered by them to be a heroine because of her stoicism at her trial and the fact that she showed great courage in going bravely to her death. She is regarded by the neo-Nazis as a martyr, who died for her country, since the neo-Nazis don’t believe that she was the sadistic, sexually-depraved killer that she was portrayed to be by Holocaust survivors at her trial.

In the world of Holocaust trivia, Irma Grese ranks alongside Amon Goeth and Dr. Mengele, as the famous Nazis that the Jews most love to hate.

As quoted from The Jerusalem Post, here is the letter that Batsheva Dagan wrote in 1945, but did not send, to Irma Grese:

“We, your victims, do not want you to die,” read the letter addressed to Grese, which the newspaper ran in full on October 29, 1945. “We would much rather that you live, as we had to, with billows of filthy black smoke from the chimneys of the crematoria [at Auschwitz] constantly before your eyes.

“We want to see you dragging heavy stones, barefoot and in rags. We want to see you beaten, cruelly and mercilessly as you, cruel and without mercy, beat us [with a cellophane whip].

“We want you to go so hungry that you cannot sleep at night, as we could not. We want to see your blonde hair shaved off, as you made us shave our heads [to get rid of any lice].”

I have written extensively, about the trial of Irma Grese and the other guards, who were put on trial by the British in 1945.  The Belsen Trial was the very first trial of Nazi war criminals, long before the Nuremberg IMT and the AMT trials conducted by Americans at Dachau.

The trial, which was conducted by the British, was eagerly followed by the press and the defendant, who attracted the most attention, was the notorious 21-year-old Irma Grese, who was accused of participating in selections for the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Auschwitz II death camp.

Despite her young age, Irma had achieved the rank of Oberaufseherin, or Senior SS Overseer, by the fall of 1943. In this role, she was in charge of supervising around 30,000 women prisoners, mostly Polish and Hungarian Jews, at Auschwitz-Birkenau. She was transferred to Bergen-Belsen in March 1945, only a month before the camp was turned over to the British, and she was also charged with beating prisoners in that camp.

Some of the inmates at Bergen-Belsen had been transferred to Belsen from Auschwitz-Birkenau, so they were able to testify against the defendants with regard to both camps. Grese was the highest ranking woman among the defendants at The Belsen Trial, but she was also the youngest. She was, by far, the most hated by the former prisoners who submitted affidavits against her at her trial.

Quoted below is Irma Grese’s testimony at her trial, under direct examination, about her background:

I was born on 7th October, 1923. In 1938 I left the elementary school and worked for six months on agricultural jobs at a farm, after which I worked in a shop in Luchen for six months. When I was 15 I went to a hospital in Hohenluchen, where I stayed for two years. I tried to become a nurse but the Labour Exchange would not allow that and sent me to work in a dairy in Fürstenburg. In July, 1942, I tried again to become a nurse, but the Labour Exchange sent me to Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, although I protested against it. I stayed there until March, 1943, when I went to Birkenau Camp in Auschwitz. I remained in Auschwitz until January, 1945.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau survivors testified that Grese habitually wore jack boots, and carried a plaited cellophane whip and a pistol. Survivors testified, in affidavits, that she was always accompanied by a vicious dog. The survivors claimed that Irma was sadistic and that she derived sexual pleasure from beating the women prisoners with her cellophane riding crop.

Survivors claimed that she had beaten women prisoners to death at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and that Irma had shot other prisoners in cold blood. These accusations of murder were made in affidavits, and none of accusations were corroborated.

The most serious charge against Irma Grese was that she had been present when inmates at Birkenau were selected for the gas chamber and that she had participated by forcing the women to line up for inspection by Dr. Mengele.

Irma denied having a dog, beating prisoners to death or shooting anyone, although she did admit to hitting prisoners with her cellophane whip even though it was forbidden for the Overseers to beat the prisoners. She stated that she continued to use her whip even after being ordered not to by Commandant Kramer.

Irma also admitted to being aware that prisoners were gassed at Birkenau; she stated that this was common knowledge in the camp and that she had been told by the prisoners about the gassing. She admitted that she was present when selections were made and that she had helped to line up the prisoners, but she denied making the selections herself.

Quoted below is her testimony, regarding the gas chamber selections, under direct examination, by her defense lawyer, Major Cranfield (page. 249 in the trial transcript):

Cranfield: Where did the order come from for what we call “selection parades”?
Grese: That came by telephone from a RapportFührerin or from Oberaufseherin Dreschel.
Cranfield: When the order came were you told what the parade was for?
Grese: No.
Cranfield: What were the prisoners supposed to do when the whistle went?
Grese: Fall in fives, and it was my duty to see that they did so. Dr. Mengele then came and made the selection. As I was responsible for the camp my duties were to know how many people were leaving and I had to count them, and I kept the figures in a strength book. After the selection took place they were sent into “B” Camp, and Dreschel telephoned and told me that they had gone to another camp in Germany for working purposes or for special treatment, which I thought was the gas chamber. I then put in my strength book either so many for transfer to Germany to another camp, or so many for S.B. (Sonder Behandlung). It was well known to the whole camp that S. B. meant the gas chamber.
Cranfield: Were you told anything about the gas chamber by your senior officers?
Grese: No, the prisoners told me about it.
Cranfield: You have been accused of choosing prisoners on these parades and sending them to the gas chamber. Have you done that?
Grese: No; I knew that prisoners were gassed.
Cranfield: Was it not quite simple to know whether or not the selection was for the gas chamber, because only Jews had to attend such selections?

Grese: I myself had only Jews in Camp “C.”
Cranfield: Then they would all have to attend the selection for the gas chamber, would they not?
Grese: Yes.
Cranfield: As you were told to wait for the doctors you would know perfectly well what it was for?
Grese: No.
Cranfield: When these people were parading they were very often paraded naked and inspected like cattle to see whether they were fit to work or fit to die, were they not?
Grese: Not like cattle.
Cranfield: You were there keeping order, were you not, and if one ran away you brought her back and gave her a beating?
Grese: Yes.

To get back to Batsheva Dagen, here is her Holocaust story, as printed in The Jerusalem Post:

Dagan was born in 1925 in Lodz, the eighth of nine children. When the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939, her large family scattered. One brother went to Palestine, another joined the Polish Brigade, others sought refuge in the Soviet Union. Dagan moved with her parents and younger siblings to the relative safety of the central Polish city of Radom.

“My father heard they were setting up a ghetto in Lodz and he didn’t like the sound of it,” she said, “so we moved to Radom and were spared being put in one for a little over a year.”

But in 1940, a ghetto was set up in Radom and life suddenly became mean.

“You would not believe the deprivation, the lows that humans can sink to,” she said.
Dagan joined the ghetto’s resistance movement and on one occasion traveled under the guise of a gentile to Warsaw – where she personally delivered a dispatch to Mordechai Anielewicz, the heroic leader of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – and then back again. When, in 1942, the Radom ghetto was about to be liquidated, she escaped using fake documents. She took on the identity of a non-Jewish maid and went to work for a family in Germany.

“I worked for a fervently Nazi family where I took care of two teenagers,” she recalled. “Many years after the war I met them in Hamburg. The daughter was very cold to me, but the son was warm. They could not believe I survived.”

Her ruse did not last long. Her real identity was discovered by the Gestapo and she was sent to Auschwitz in April 1943. There, she survived the worst horrors imaginable. She was given tasks like collecting prickly nettles, which were used to make tea, barehanded, and removing precious items from the bodies of those killed in the gas chambers. She survived by relying on the camaraderie of a group of eight women and a strict regimen of self-discipline.

Note that Dagen (not her real name) claims that she removed items from the bodies in the gas chambers.  She also claims that she was a Resistance fighter (illegal combatant) in the Warsaw ghetto.

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