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August 25, 2013

Did the Nazis actually steam Jews to death in a Sauna?

Filed under: Health, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:16 am
The Central Sauna at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The Central Sauna at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The large brick building at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, which was called “die zentrale Sauna,” is shown in the photo above.   I previously blogged about the Sauna at http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/why-was-there-a-sauna-at-auschwitz/

For 60 years, the Central Sauna building was not open to tourists. During that time, visitors to Auschwitz could only speculate about what the Auschwitz Sauna looked like.  I imagined that the Auschwitz prisoners had the luxury of taking steam baths.  After all, the prisoners were playing soccer and attending concerts.  Would it have been so unusual for the Nazis to provide steam baths for the soccer players after a game?

The online Free Dictionary gives this definition for the word “sauna”:

A Finnish steam bath in which the steam is produced by pouring water over heated rocks.
A bathhouse or room for taking such a steam bath.

I imagined that the Auschwitz-Birkenau Sauna building had individual steam baths for the prisoners.  In the old days, a health resort typically had a canvas box, in which a person would sit inside, with their head sticking out of a hole in the top.  In the 1940s, in America, a “sauna” looked something like the modern sauna box in the photo below.  I have actually taken a steam bath inside a canvas box, with my head sticking out.  I have also had a “mud bath” but I don’t think the Nazis provided mud baths for the prisoners.

An individual sauna box for a steam bath

An individual sauna box for a steam bath

Yesterday, I read an article, in the online Guardian newspaper, about the Ovitz family of dwarves, who were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944.

Members of the Ovitz family of dwarves who were sent to Auschwitz

Members of the Ovitz family of dwarves who were sent to Auschwitz

According to this article, the dwarves had a close call when they mistakenly thought that they had been sent to the gas chamber:

What actually happened was that the Ovitzs and their neighbours were taken to the camp sauna for disinfection, where the water poured over heated stones produced much steam and fumes, as well as temperatures intense enough to cause someone to faint. The sauna had a particularly traumatic effect on both small children and fragile dwarves that might easily have created the impression of being gassed.

So it turns out that the Ovitz family of dwarves, and their neighbors who were falsely claiming to be related to them, were actually sent into a steam room, which they mistakenly thought was a gas chamber.

In October 2005, I had a chance to see the inside of the Sauna building at Auschwitz-Birkenau. There were no steam rooms inside the Sauna building.  The building was called a Sauna because it had iron boxes in which the prisoners’ clothes were steamed to kill the lice that spreads typhus.  These boxes looked something like the individual saunas used at health resorts at a time when rich people would routinely go to a spa town to “take the waters.”

The photo below shows a box for steaming clothes, inside the Central Sauna at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

A steam chamber for disinfecting the clothing of prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau

A steam chamber for disinfecting the clothing of prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau

This quote from the Guardian explains the gassing operation at Auschwitz-Birkenau:

Though we had five first-hand eyewitness accounts [of the gas chamber, given by 5 dwarves], we wanted to verify the story. The only way to do so was to study the procedures and manuals of operating a gas chamber. These were designed to kill between 500 and 2,000 people at once, depending on the size of the hall. Cyclone B was effective only at a room temperature of 27C, which was achieved by cramping a mass of people together. Gas chambers were simply not operated for merely 22 people; small groups were shot.

Furthermore, according to the camp’s rigid safety orders, SS personnel had to wear gas masks when operating Cyclone B. Although the victims died within 15 minutes, the SS men routinely waited half an hour before turning on the powerful fans that dispersed the gas from the chamber. Only then were the doors opened. The operators themselves did not enter; instead, Jewish inmates from the Sonderkommando were sent in to drag out the bodies for cremation. Once the extermination process had begun, it could not be halted, because by then it would have been impossible to open the doors.

What actually happened was that the Ovitzs and their neighbours were taken to the camp sauna for disinfection ……

Every Holocaust survivor has to have a story about how they were saved from the gas chamber.  Even the 22 members of the Ovitz family, which included their fake relatives, had to make up a story about why they were not gassed.

Dr. Josef Mengele was over-joyed to have this family available for his research into hereditary conditions; he would never have allowed them to be gassed, but still the dwarves had to make up a lie.

This quote from the Guardian article, and the links provided by the Guardian, explains the Nazi policy:

When the Nazis came to power, the Ovitzs were doubly doomed: under the Aktion T-4 euthanasia programme, the Germans set out to kill people who were physically or mentally disabled, whose lives were considered “unworthy of living”, “a burden on society”; and, as Jews, the Ovitzs were the target of the Final Solution.

On 19 May 1944, they were brought to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp because they were Jews. But, by a twist of fate, their disability played for them. It was rare that one person from an entire family survived the camp, let alone two, but all 12 members of the Ovitz family – the youngest a baby boy just 18 months old, the oldest his 58-year-old dwarf aunt – emerged alive.

I have to give the Guardian credit for exposing the lies told by Holocaust survivors.  This quote is from the Guardian:

In her autobiography, Auschwitz: True Tales From A Grotesque Land, Sarah Nomberg-Przytyk describes in appalling detail the horrible death of two members of the Ovitz group, one of them an 18-month-old baby boy who died as a result of one of Mengele’s experiments: “Around him, like pillars of stone, stood a large woman, along with the child’s mother, slim and frail; the three midgets sat in miniature chairs.” In the evening, the dead toddler was placed outside the block with the other corpses to be taken to the crematorium. Nomberg-Przytyk also recounts the death of Avram Ovitz, the leader of the group: “The old midget wanted his wife” and tried to slip through the barbed wire; a guard spotted him and, when Avram got close enough, shot him. “He never made it to his wife.”

But the little boy and his uncle Avram were not killed, and lived to see liberation day. What, then, caused Nomberg-Przytyk to make such grave mistakes? Most likely she was compressing a number of events, and attributed to the dwarves two common occurrences in the daily life of the camp: the death of a child in his mother’s arms and the shooting of an inmate who approached the electrified fence.

And there were others, such as Renee Firestone, who described the death of the Ovitz dwarves: “The Germans found a community of midgets, transported them to Auschwitz, shot them en masse and then were forced to let them sit in a pile for three days until the crematoria could take them.”

One plausible explanation for the discrepancy between fact and remembrance is that the survivors, who regarded their own deliverance as miraculous, found the chances slim that someone as helpless as a dwarf could escape death. The fact that the Ovitzs were transferred several times from one side of the camp to the other caused their fellow inmates to lose touch with them, and in Auschwitz, when you stopped seeing someone, it could mean only one thing.

The seven dwarves, as well as their entourage, all survived the war, and emigrated to Israel in May 1949.

The first story about the Treblinka camp, told by the Soviets who came across the remains of the camp, was that the prisoners were steamed to death in steam chambers.  You read about it at http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v12/v12p133_Allen.html

August 23, 2013

The number of Jewish prisoners at Dachau: Figures don’t lie, but liars figure

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:05 am

Almost every news story, or website, that you will ever read, mentions that 2/3 of the prisoners at Dachau were Jews.  This is very misleading; it implies that Dachau was a camp for Jews, instead of a camp that held mainly political prisoners.

When the Dachau concentration camp was liberated on April 29, 1945, there were 2,539 Jews among approximately 32,000 survivors in the main camp, located just outside the town of Dachau.  By what slight of hand does 2,539 figure out to be two thirds of 32,000?

Political prisoners at Dachau after the camp was liberated

Political prisoners at Dachau after the camp was liberated

According to Paul Berben, a former prisoner, who wrote a book called Dachau: 1933 – 1945: The Official History, there were 67,649 prisoners in the main Dachau camp AND IT’S 123 SUB-CAMPS when the last census was taken on April 26, 1945, three days before the US 7th Army arrived to liberate the MAIN camp.  Most of the Jews were in the sub-camps, not the main camp.

Many of the sub-camps, which Berben refers to as “Kommandos,” had already been evacuated and the prisoners had been brought to the main camp at Dachau.  Before the evacuation of the sub-camps, there were virtually no Jews in the main camp.

The largest number of prisoners in the whole Dachau system were classified as political prisoners, who numbered 43,401; the majority of the political prisoners were Catholic. The political prisoners included Communists, Social Democrats, anarchists, spies, and anti-Fascist resistance fighters from the Nazi occupied countries such as France, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, and Poland.

Dachau survivors pose in a barracks building after they were liberated

Dachau survivors pose in a barracks building after they were liberated

There was a total of 22,100 Jews in the Dachau system on April 26, 1945 and most of them were in the sub-camps. Many of the Jews in the main camp had just arrived a few days before from the sub-camps that had been evacuated.

On April 26th, approximately 3,400 Jews had been death-marched out of the main camp, headed south toward the mountains where it is believed that the Nazis intended to hold them as hostages to use in surrender negotiations with the Allies. Another 1,735 Jews had been evacuated from Dachau by train on April 26th.

The evacuation of prisoners from the sub-camps to the main Dachau camp had begun in March 1945, in preparation for surrendering the prisoners to the Allies. The evacuated prisoners had to walk for several days to the main camp because Allied bombs were destroying the railroad tracks as fast as the Germans could repair them. The few trains that did bring prisoners to Dachau, including a train load of women and children, were bombed or strafed by American planes, killing many of the prisoners.

Women prisoners who had recently arrived at Dachau

Women prisoners who had recently arrived at Dachau

Most of the prisoners in the sub-camps of Dachau were Jews who had survived Auschwitz and had been brought on trains to Germany in January 1945 after a 50-kilometer death march out of the camp. By the time that the survivors staggered into the Dachau main camp in the last weeks of April, they were emaciated, sick and exhausted. Other Jews at Dachau in 1945 had been brought from the three Lithuanian ghettos in the Summer of 1944 to work in the Dachau sub-camps. The American liberators got most of their information about the Dachau camp from these Jews who had only recently arrived and were eager to tell their stories about abuse at the hands of the Nazis.

Since March 1945, around 15,000 new prisoners had been accommodated in the Dachau main camp, which had been originally designed for 5,000 men. By the time that the American liberators arrived, there were over 30,000 prisoners in the main camp, although the exact number was unknown.

According to Paul Berben’s account, the prisoners who arrived at Dachau were particularly numerous in 1944, as the inmates in other camps were evacuated from the war zone. He wrote that the last prisoner number at the end of 1943 was 60.869.

By the end of 1944, the last prisoner number was 137.244, which indicates that 76,375 new prisoners were brought to Dachau in 1944; most of them were sent to the sub-camps to work in the factories. The last prisoner numbers registered at Dachau were around 161.900. It was at this point that life in the Dachau concentration camp began to deteriorate.

In the final desperate days of trying to evacuate prisoners from the camps to prevent them from being released by the Allies, there were around 6,000 prisoners brought to Dachau from Flossenbürg, Buchenwald and Leipzig. These prisoners were not registered at Dachau, nor given a number, according to Paul Berben.

Throughout the 12 years that the Dachau camp was in existence, there were approximately 206,000 prisoners brought to the main camp and it’s 123 sub-camps.  There were 31,951 recorded deaths.  The Dachau Memorial Site estimates that there were at least 41,000 deaths, including the deaths, during the last days, which were not recorded.

In her speech at Dachau on August 20, 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the following:

“At the same time, this place [Dachau] is a constant warning: how did Germany reach the point of taking away the right of people to live because of their origin, their religion… or their sexual orientation?”

Dachau was primarily a place where the right of people to live was taken away because they were political enemies of the German government, or their right to live had been taken away because they had broken the law, for example, the law known as Paragraph 175 which made it a crime to have homosexual sex in public.  Most of the prisoners at Dachau were Catholic, but they were not imprisoned because of their religion.  There were numerous prisoners at Dachau who were incarcerated because they were fighting in a war as illegal combatants.

August 21, 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel can’t win for losing (visit to former Dachau concentration camp)

Angela Merkel lays a wreath at the International Monument at Dachau

Angela Merkel lays a wreath at the International Monument at Dachau

The news today is filled with stories of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the grounds of the first Nazi concentration camp near the town of Dachau. Then it was on to a beer fest in the town. Chancellor Merkel is being heavily criticized for combining a trip to the Memorial Site at the former camp with a trip to the town of Dachau to drink beer.

Angela Merkel was accompanied by Max Mannheimer, a survivor of Dachau

Angela Merkel was accompanied by Max Mannheimer, a survivor of Dachau

In the photo above, Chancellor Merkel looks as though she has the weight of the world on her shoulders as she walks beside Max Mannheimer, a survivor of two Dachau sub-camps at Allach and Mühldorf.  I don’t begrudge Chancellor Merkel a glass of beer after going through this ordeal.

Not mentioned in any of the news stories is that beer drinking does not have the same connotation in Germany, as it does in America.  Literally everyone in Germany drinks beer; it is considered to be good for one’s health.

There is nothing wrong with going to a beer fest, after visiting a Memorial Site.  If Hilary Clinton were president of the United States, and she visited an internment camp, where German-Americans were imprisoned during World War II and for two years afterwards, she might go to a beer joint afterwards and some people might legitimately complain.  Beer drinking has a low-class connotation in America, but not in Germany.

None of the stories, that I have read, about Chancellor Merkel’s visit, mentioned that Max Mannheimer is a controversial figure because of his “später Tagebuch,” which means a diary written later.

This quote from Wikipedia is about Mannheimer writing his Tagebuch or diary of his time in Nazi concentration camps at a later time.

Seine Erinnerungen wurden zum ersten Mal 1985 in den Dachauer Heften abgedruckt.[13] und erschienen 2000 vollständig unter dem Titel Spätes Tagebuch.

In other words, Max Mannheimer miracaculously remembered his time in Nazi concentrations camps, and wrote his memoir many years later.  Because Mannheimer never said a word about his time in the camps until many years later, some people are suspicious of his “später Tagebuch.” In any case, he was not a prisoner in the main Dachau camp, which Chancellor Merkel visited.

This quote about Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Dachau is from a news article which you can read in full here:

Ms Merkel’s tour of Dachau, which was the first Nazi concentration camp, included a meeting with Max Mannheimer, one of its few remaining survivors. More than 200,000 people including Jews, homosexuals, Roma and political prisoners were imprisoned, forced to work and used for medical experiments at Dachau which opened in 1933. It was liberated by US troops in April 1945

The Chancellor was shown the camp baths and a room where prisoners were stripped of their clothing and identity and henceforth referred to only by numbers. Ms Merkel said her visit was accompanied by feelings of “shame and dismay”.

She visited the camp baths (plural)?

What camp baths?  One of the exhibits at Dachau is located in a former shower room, as shown in the photo below.

Former shower room at Dachau is now used for Museum displays

Former shower room at Dachau is now used for Museum displays

The photo above shows a room in the Museum at Dachau which was formerly a shower room.  The shower fixtures, which were formerly on the left side of the room, have been removed. The photo below shows what the room looked like when Dachau was a Nazi concentration camp.

Shower room at Dachau had shower heads hanging down from the ceiling

Shower room at Dachau had shower heads hanging down from the ceiling

The only other shower room at Dachau was converted into a gas chamber when the American liberators lowered the ceiling and stuck shower heads into the ceiling.  The so-called Dachau gas chamber, as it looks today, is shown in the photo below.

Dachau shower room in BarackeX was converted into a gas chamber in 1945

Dachau shower room in BarackeX was converted into a gas chamber in 1945

Surely, Chancellor Merkel was not shown the shower room in the BarrackX building and told that this was a “camp bath,” not a gas chamber.

What about the room where Dachau prisoners were “stripped of their clothing?”  That could only be the undressing room in BarackeX.  The two photos below show the undressing room.

The wall of the undressing room at Dachau

The wall of the empty undressing room at Dachau

Door into shower room which was converted into a gas chamber at Dachau

Door into shower room which was converted into a gas chamber at Dachau by the American liberators

Did Max Mannheimer tell Chancellor Merkel that the room shown in the photo above was the undressing room where incoming prisoners undressed before going into the shower?  Mannheimer would have taken a shower in BarackeX before being sent to a sub-camp of Dachau.

Surely, the German people are not saying that the gas chamber at Dachau was a shower room!  That is against the law and will get you 5 years in prison.

Another criticism that I have, of the news stories about Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Dachau, is the claim that Dachau had “prisoners of war” in the camp.  This quote is from Fox News:

More than 200,000 Jews, gays, Roma, political opponents, the disabled and prisoners of war were imprisoned in Dachau during World War II.

Yes, it is true that there were “prisoners of war” incarcerated at Dachau during World War II, but they were NOT prisoners of war at the time that they were sent to the camp.  They only became “prisoners of war” after the Allies created ex-post-facto laws AFTER the war.

The so-called “prisoners of war” at Dachau were illegal combatants under the rules of the Geneva Convention of 1929.  They were resistance fighters who were fighting after their country had surrendered and promised to lay down their arms and stop fighting.  The main camps where illegal combatants were sent were Buchenwald and Natzweiler, but there were some prisoners at Natzweiler who were transferred to Dachau in the last days of the war.  These prisoners were designated at “prisoners of war” after the German camps were taken over by the Allies.

German prisoners of war, who were actual soldiers, not illegal combatants, were designated by General Eisenhower as Disarmed Enemy Forces and held in camps where they were not treated according to the rules of the Geneva Convention.

The only real POWs at Dachau were German POWs who were imprisoned, after World War II, in War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 at Dachau.  Surely, Chancellor Merkel did not honor these men on her visit.

August 20, 2013

What was the role of the U.S. Army Evacuation hospitals in World War II?

Filed under: Buchenwald, Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:45 am

In case you are having trouble answering the question in the title of my blog post today, I will make it a multiple choice question:

1. Did the U.S. Army Evacuation Hospitals search out the Nazi concentration camps and liberate them?

Or 2. Did the Evacuation Hospitals follow the infantry and the tanks to the concentration camps, after the camps had been liberated, and set up hospitals in the barracks of the camps to treat the inmates who were sick with typhus and other diseases?

Soldiers of the 139th Evacuation Hospital take sick prisoners out of Ebensee

Soldiers of the 139th Evacuation Hospital take sick prisoners out of Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen

Date:    Saturday, May 12, 1945 – Wednesday, May 30, 1945
Locale:    Ebensee, Austria
Credit:    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Fred Anderson
Copyright:    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Healthy German prisoners at Ebensee march out of the camp after it was liberated

Healthy German prisoners at Ebensee march out of the camp after it was liberated

The correct answer, to the question in the title of my blog post, is No. 2.

For example, three days after the Buchenwald camp was officially liberated by U.S. Army soldiers, the 120th Evacuation Hospital arrived in the city of Weimar with a staff of 273 service personnel to take care of 3,000 sick prisoners at Buchenwald.  Prior to that, the 120th Evacuation Hospital had been taking care of soldiers who had been wounded on the battlefield.

A hospital was set up at Buchenwald, by the 120th Evacuation Hospital, in the barracks of the German SS soldiers who had been stationed at the German Army garrison at Buchenwald. The staff members of the 120th Evacuation Hospital stayed in a beautiful castle, which had formerly been the summer home of German royalty. A path through the woods connected the castle to the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Typhus ward set up by the 120th Evacuation Hospital at Dachau

Typhus ward set up by the 116th Evacuation Hospital at Dachau

On 2 May 1945, the 116th Evacuation Hospital arrived at Dachau and set up operations. The Dachau camp had been liberated on April 29, 1945.

According to a U.S. Army report, made on 20 May 1945, there were 140 prisoners dying each day in the Dachau camp AFTER the camp had been liberated.  The principle causes of death were starvation, tuberculosis, typhus and dysentery. Before the Americans arrived, there had been 4,000 sick prisoners in the Dachau hospital and an unknown number of sick prisoners in the barracks who had been receiving no medical attention.

Warren Priest, a soldier with the 120th Evacuation Hospital, told about how he himself had contracted typhus at Buchenwald, but was saved by recently discovered medicinal drugs which the Germans did not as yet have available.

The subject of my blog post today was inspired by a comment made by a reader named “The Black Rabbit of Inlé“.  He mentioned a new book, written by Dr. Richard MacDonald, which tells the story of how the 139th Evacuation Hospital liberated the Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen, but has never been given credit for the liberation.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum gives the credit for the liberation of Ebensee to the 80th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army.

You can read the list of liberators of the camps on the website of the USHMM here.  No Evacuation Hospitals are listed as liberators.  To be counted as liberators, an Army unit had to have been at a concentration camp within 48 hours of the first soldiers to arrive.

There is a great deal of confusion, about who liberated which camp, because General Eisenhower ordered that every soldier in the U.S. Army, who was anywhere near a concentration camp, should be transported to the closest camp so that they could see the dead bodies of prisoners who had died in the typhus epidemic.  As a result, virtually every U.S. soldier, who served in World War II in Europe, can claim to be a liberator of a concentration camp.

You can read about Dr. Richard MacDonald’s new book on this website.

This quote is from the website, cited above:

The Konzentrationslager (KZ) Ebensee Concentration Camp was established to house prisoners tasked to further the research and production of the V-2 missile program run by Nazi SS Officer Wernher von Braun. This camp was liberated on May 6, 1945. Most historical accounts state that the Eightieth Infantry Division liberated this camp; however, this particular division was around forty miles behind the tanks of the actual group that brought freedom to the 16,694 labor inmates in KZ Ebensee. The Third Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron of the Third Cavalry Group came up the road to the camp at around 10AM on that fateful Sunday; at 2:45PM, the Third Platoon of F Company opened the gates.

Unfortunately for the men of these military units they, together with the U.S. Army 139th Evacuation Hospital, became phantom units in historical archives. Their contributions to the liberation of the camp were never recorded. Inside the Gates hopes to change this by detailing the 139th Evacuation Hospital’s involvement in freeing the thousands of inmates in the said Austrian Concentration Camp.

Ebensee was not in Austria, when it was liberated, because Austria was not a country at the time that the Ebensee camp was liberated. Ever hear of “der Anschluss”?  It’s a long story, but Dr. MacDonald can catch up on history by reading this page of my website.

Sick prisoners at Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen

Sick prisoners at Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen

According to Martin Gilbert, the author of a book entitled Holocaust, Ebensee was an “end destination” for Jewish prisoners who were evacuated from camps farther east as the Soviet Army advanced toward Germany. In the last months of the war, the Ebensee camp was seriously over-crowded with these exhausted prisoners, many of whom had just arrived in the weeks prior to the liberation.

Gilbert wrote the following regarding the evacuations and the death marches:

Jews who had already survived the “selections” in Birkenau, and work as slave laborers in factories, had now to survive the death marches. Throughout February and March [1945] columns of men, and crowded cattle trucks, converged on the long-existing concentration camps, now given a new task. These camps had been transformed into holding camps for the remnant of a destroyed people, men and women whose labor was still of some last-minute utility for a dying Reich, or whose emaciated bodies were to be left to languish in agony in one final camp.

According to Gilbert’s book, a train loaded with 2,059 Jews arrived at Ebensee on March 3, 1945. They had survived the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau and had first been sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp, then on to Ebensee.

Forty-nine of the Jewish prisoners died on the train, according to Martin Gilbert, and on their first day in the Ebensee camp, 182 died during the disinfection procedure. New arrivals had to be disinfected to kill the body lice which spreads typhus. There was a typhus epidemic in Mauthausen and the sub-camps and, according to Martin Gilbert, 30,000 prisoners died in these camps in the last four months of the war.

Ebensee survivors have shaved heads to prevent the spread of lice

Ebensee survivors have shaved heads to prevent the spread of lice

According to Martin Gilbert, the last death marches of the war began on May 1, 1945 as the American Army approached; prisoners from the main camp at Mauthausen and the sub-camps at Gusen and St. Valentin were marched to Gunskirchen and Ebensee. Hundreds of them died from exhaustion, or were shot because they couldn’t keep up, or as they attempted to escape.

When American troops in the 80th Infantry Division arrived on May 4, 1945, there were around 60,000 prisoners from 25 different countries at Ebensee.

Evelyn le Chene, the historian of Mauthausen, wrote that, as the American armies approached Ebensee, all thirty thousand prisoners in the camp were ordered into a tunnel packed with explosives. There were similar reports of plans to kill all the prisoners at other camps, such as Nordhausen, and even Dachau, but none of these plans was ever carried out.

Hitler did not want the prisoners in the concentration camps to be released to get revenge on German civilians. In fact, the Russian liberators at Theresienstadt did release the Jewish prisoners there, and according to Theo Richmond, the author of the book Konin, One Man’s Quest For a Vanished Jewish Community, the former inmates did get “nekomeh” or Revenge. Richmond quotes Louis Lefkowitz, a Jewish survivor of Buchenwald and Theresienstadt, who recounted the following story regarding German civilians who were trying to flee from the Russian soldiers who were also exacting vengeance on the Germans:

I saw nekomeh in Theresienstadt. For two days after the liberation, the Russians let us do whatever we want. I was too weak to join in, but I saw our boys bring in Germans who were running away on horse and wagons. They brought them in – whole families on the wagons. They put gasoline over the people and burned them up. Wagons with whole families were burning day and night for two days.

The following quote, regarding the plan to force all the Ebensee prisoners into a tunnel, is from Evelyn le Chene:

The prisoners, to a man, blankly refused. The SS guards were paralyzed with indecision. The hordes of humans swayed and murmured. For the first time since their arrest, the prisoners who were not already dying saw the possibility that they might just survive the war. Understandably, they neither wished to be blown up in the tunnel, nor mown down by SS machine guns for refusing. But they knew that in these last days, many of the SS had left and been replaced by Ethnic Germans. [...] With the war all but over, they were thinking of the future, and the punishment they would receive for the slaughter of so many human beings was something they still wished – even with their already stained hands – to avoid. And so the prisoners won the day.

Ebensee was the last chance for the Allies to spread lies and propaganda.  The photo below shows the movie cameras that were brought in to photograph the liberation of Ebensee.

Film crew is ready to film the Ebensee camp

Film crew is ready to film the Ebensee camp

August 19, 2013

Edward D. Royce took photos at Dachau that “have long served as rebuttal to Holocaust deniers”

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 3:15 pm

Edward D. Royce is the father of Republican Congressman Ed R. Royce.  In the news today is an article in the Orange County Register, about Edward D. Royce, which you can read in full here.

This quote is from the news article in the online Orange County [California] Register:

Former Stanton Mayor Edward D. Royce, whose photographs of corpses at the Dachau concentration camp have long served as rebuttal to Holocaust deniers, was honored Monday with the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Distinguished Service Award for his role in helping liberate the camp when he was an Army private.

Royce, father of Republican Congressman Ed R. Royce, took the podium at the Museum of Tolerance ceremony and recalled being among the first liberating forces to arrive at the camp on April 29, 1945.

So Edward D. Royce was one of the American soldiers who arrived at Dachau on April 29, 1945, the day that the camp was surrendered to American soldiers under a white flag of truce.  That means that he was either with the 45th Division or the 42nd Division, the two outfits that are credited with liberating the Dachau camp.  I did a quick check on the internet to determine which outift he was with and found this website:  http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/48477

This quote, regarding the military service of Edward D. Royce is from the website, cited above:

Branch of Service:
Army
Unit of Service:
3rd Field Artillery Observation Battalion

Oops! This means that Edward D. Royce was not at Dachau on the day that the camp was liberated.  He might have been among the soldiers who were brought in trucks to see the camp, long after it was liberated.

This quote from the Orange County Register tells about what Edward D. Royce saw at Dachau:

“I saw heaps of clothes in front of the building with bad – German for bath – painted on the door, the shower heads that pumped deadly gas instead of water, the room filled halfway to the ceiling with naked bodies and the room with ovens for burning the bodies,” said Royce, 88. [...]

Royce’s black-and-white photos, taken with a camera borrowed from his brother, documented the ovens and corpses at the camp. An estimated 6 million Jews were killed during World War II, and an estimated 30,000 prisoners died at Dachau, including deaths from extermination, disease, starvation and suicide.

I did an Image search on Google and found this page for Edward D. Royce:

I found only one photo of Dachau in the search results for Edward D. Royce, and it is not a photo that was taken by any of the American soldiers.

The photo, which is shown below, was one of the pictures in a packet of photos that were available for purchase when the U.S. soldiers were brought to Dachau in trucks, long after liberation day, so that they could go home and tell their relatives that they had participated in the liberation of Dachau.

Photo that was available for purchase at Dachau

Photo from Google Image search results for Edward D. Royce

The photo, from the Image search, has been cropped so that it does not show the logo that is in the bottom left hand corner. This is supposed to be a photo, taken by Edward D. Royce at Dachau.

I have the same photo on this page of my website.  The photo below shows the full picture before it was cropped.

Photo taken long after Dachau was liberated was available for sale

Photo, taken long after Dachau was liberated, was available for sale

Notice the logo in the lower left hand corner. This photo was taken long after the Dachau camp was liberated.

A small Museum was set up by the former prisoners at Dachau, shortly after the camp was liberated.  On this page of my website, you can see a photo of the original small museum that was set up by the prisoners.

So it appears that another “liar, liar, pants on fire,” has been caught lying about his role in the liberation of Dachau.

August 18, 2013

American soldier, who saw Dachau, also remembers “starving German children, who were homeless orphans.”

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:22 pm

Alvin Law is a 90-year-old veteran of World War II, now living in a retirement home in Plainview, TX.  He recently gave an interview, to an online Plainview newspaper, which you can read in full here.

This quote is from the Plainview newspaper article:

Alvin was near Munich when he remembers coming up to the Dachau Concentration Camp. The camp was the first concentration camp established by the Nazis, and was responsible for the deaths of 31,951 Jews, ordinary Germans, Austrian criminals and foreign nationalists.

By that time, Nazis were in the process of evacuating prisoners to other camps as Americans advanced into Germany. The Nazis were also trying to hide or destroy evidence of gas chambers, in a vain attempt to hide the horrific crimes.

In April 1945, U.S. Army troops were able to liberate the camp.

“They were overjoyed,” said Alvin, as he described seeing freed prisoners.

But the experience was bittersweet, as Alvin described seeing the mountains of dead bodies in the camp.

“It was horrible,” said Alvin.

Alvin also remembers the starving German children, who were now homeless orphans.

It’s a miracle!  A newspaper article, which actually mentions that Germans were suffering during World War II. You can read here about how the Allies starved German people to death AFTER World War II ended.

The starving German children, who were homeless orphans, might have been in the DP camp that was set up near the town of Dachau.

The article mentions that “The Nazis were also trying to hide or destroy evidence of gas chambers…”

Actually, there was not much effort to destroy the evidence of gas chambers at Dachau.  The Nazis left behind a large shower room, at Dachau, that was perfect for turning into a gas chamber, AFTER the camp was liberated.  But you can’t expect an American newspaper to point this out.

I wrote about how the American liberators of Dachau made a film on May 3, 1945, which showed the gas chamber which they had just constructed. This film was shown during the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as proof that there was a gas chamber at Dachau.  You can read about it on one of my previous blog posts here.  You can read here about what tour guides tell visitors now about Dachau.

Photo of the mountain of dead bodies at Dachau was taken in May 1945

Photo of the mountain of dead bodies at Dachau was taken in May 1945

There was only one “mountain” of dead bodies at Dachau, when the Americans arrived.  This mountain of bodies was at the crematorium, awaiting cremation, but the Nazis had run out of coal to burn the bodies.

Pile of bodies at Dachau on the day after American liberators arrived

Pile of bodies at Dachau on the day after American liberators arrived

The photo above shows American soldiers looking at a pile of bodies, which includes a small pile of bodies of German soldiers, that the Americans had killed when the camp was surrendered to them.  I previously blogged here about Alfred de Grazia, Commanding Officer of the Psychological Warfare Propaganda Team attached to headquarters of the US 7th Army, who arrived at Dachau on May 1, 1945 to supervise the construction of a gas chamber at Dachau.

The faded color photo below shows that on May 1, 1945, the pile of dead bodies had been removed and, in it’s place was a pile of sand, ready to be used for construction of some kind.  By May 3, 1945, the Dachau gas chamber was ready for inspection by a group of American congressmen.

The photo below is on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, along with this caption:

Date: Tuesday, May 01, 1945
Locale: Dachau, [Bavaria] Germany
Photographer: Colonel Alexander Zabin
Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Colonel Alexander Zabin
Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Photo of Dachau crematorium building, taken on May 1, 1945 shows no pile of bodies

Photo of Dachau crematorium building, taken on May 1, 1945 shows no pile of bodies

In the month of May 1945, an additional 2,226 Dachau prisoners died, of typhus and other diseases, after the camp was liberated. There were 196 more deaths in June before the typhus epidemic was finally stopped by the use of DDT and the vaccination of all the prisoners.

Alvin Law was probably among the American soldiers, stationed near Munich, who were brought in trucks to see the Dachau atrocities, weeks after the camp had been surrendered.

Still, I give the reporter on the Plainview newspaper a lot of credit for looking up the exact number of deaths at Dachau and including this in his article.  I think that most American reporters would have written that 100,000 died at Dachau, or maybe 500,000.  The reporter did mention the Jews first in the list of prisoners who died at Dachau.

August 15, 2013

Survivor of the Stutthof camp was not sent to the gas chamber because she pinched her cheeks and stood tall in order to look healthy

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:01 pm

During the Holocaust, the Nazis didn’t gas prisoners who were capable of working.  Nor did they gas anyone between the ages of 15 and 45.  The secret to avoiding the gas chamber was to look healthy enough to work, and to lie about your age.

The Stutthof gas chamber

The Stutthof gas chamber

One of the little known camps that had a gas chamber was the Stutthof camp near the city formerly known as Danzig.  A photo of the gas chamber is shown above.  Notice the small structure to the left of the door.  This looks like a place where coal was burned to heat the gas chamber hot enough to release the gas from the Zyklon-B pellets.

The photo below shows the inside of the Stuffhof gas chamber.  The stains on the walls are proof that this is a Gaskammer.

Stains cause by Zyklon-B gas inside the Stutthof gas chamber

Stains cause by Zyklon-B gas inside the Stutthof gas chamber  Photo credit: Germar Rudolf

Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin recently gave a talk to workers at Northrop Grumman Technical Services in Herndon, VA.  You can read about her talk here.

This quote is from the news article about Ms. Godin’s talk:

In 1944, Godin said the few Jews remaining in the Siauliai ghetto were deported to the Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig, Poland. Godin said she became prisoner “number 54015” and was separated from her mother and brother Jecheskel. Her other brother, Menashe, evaded deportation with the help of a gentile friend, and remained in hiding, she said.

In the camp, Godin said older Jewish women looked after her, protecting her and advising her on how to survive. “They would make me stand tall and pinch my cheeks to get the blood flowing in them when the Germans came around to take sick people away to the gas chambers,” she said. “If you looked sick, there was a good chance you would be chosen to die. Those women saved my life. ”

The gas chamber at Stutthof is little known, but I mentioned it in a previous blog post about the gas chambers that are still in existence.

This photo of Stutthof Concentration Camp is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Gas chamber and crematorium - Picture of Stutthof Concentration Camp, Sztutowo
This photo of Stutthof Concentration Camp is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Wikipedia confirms that there was a homicidal gas chamber at Stutthof, although it could hold only 150 prisoners at a time.  Zyklon-B was a dangerous gas.  It hardly seems worth it to have a homicidal gas chamber that could gas only 150 prisoners at a time.  It would have been more efficient to just shoot the sick prisoners at Stutthof.

This quote is from Wikipedia:

A crematorium and gas chamber were added [at Stutthof] in 1943, just in time to start mass executions when Stutthof was included in the “Final Solution” in June 1944. Mobile gas wagons were also used to complement the maximum capacity of the gas chamber (150 people per execution) when needed.

This quote is also from Wikipedia:

The evacuation of prisoners from the Stutthof camp system in northern Poland began in January 1945. When the final evacuation began, there were nearly 50,000 prisoners, the majority of them Jews, in the Stutthof camp system. About 5,000 prisoners from Stutthof subcamps were marched to the Baltic Sea coast, forced into the water, and machine-gunned. The rest of the prisoners were marched in the direction of Lauenburg in eastern Germany. Cut off by advancing Soviet forces the Germans forced the surviving prisoners back to Stutthof. Marching in severe winter conditions and brutal treatment by SS guards led to thousands of deaths.

In late April 1945, the remaining prisoners were removed from Stutthof by sea, since the camp was completely encircled by Soviet forces. Again, hundreds of prisoners were forced into the sea and shot. Over 4,000 were sent by small boat to Germany, some to the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg, and some to camps along the Baltic coast.

Fortunately, Ms. Godin was sent out of the Stutthof camp before the evacuation of the camp.  This quote is from the news article about her talk:

In January 1945, when she was 16, Grodin said she was sent on a forced death march with a group of approximately 1,000 fellow female prisoners that lasted six weeks, marching from sunup to sundown with inadequate shoes and clothing in terrible weather conditions.

“When the Soviet army liberated the group on March 10, 1945, only 200 women, including me, were still alive,” she said. “On my 17th birthday —18 days later — I only weighed 69 pounds, but I had survived and I was free.”

If you ever read the story of a Holocaust survivor, who does not know how much he or she weighed when they were liberated, you will know that they are not a real survivor.

Assuming that Nesse was around 5 feet tall and weighed only 69 pounds, she was 30 pounds underweight.  In other words, a skeleton.

August 14, 2013

90-year-old survivor of Treblinka death camp unveils foundation stone for future Treblinka education center designed by his daughter

Original sign on entrance to Treblinka camp

Original sign on entrance to Treblinka camp

Treblinka was one of the three Nazi camps, which were called “the Operation Reinhard camps,” named after Reinhard Heydrich, the man who was the chairman of the Wannsee Conference held on January 20, 1942.  According to the official Holocaust history, these three camps were allegedly set up, following the conference, to carry out “The Final Solution,” which is now claimed, by the Holocaustians, to be the plan to genocide the Jews.  The other two Reinhard camps were Belzec and Sobibor.  (The Nazis called these three camps “transit camps,” from which Jews were “transported to the East,” never to be seen again.)

I previously blogged about Treblinka here.  I quoted some of the testimony of other Treblinka survivors in a blog post here.

Treblinka is second only to Auschwitz in the number of Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. The number of Jews killed at Treblinka is holding at 870,000 while the number of Jews killed at Auschwitz has dwindled down to 900,000.  (An additional 200,000 non-Jews were killed at Auschwitz, bringing today’s estimated total deaths to 1.1 million.)

A news article, which you can read in full here, tells about Samuel Willenberg, the lone survivor of the 750 Jews who were selected to work in the Treblinka camp.  (When I took a guided tour of Treblinka in 1998, I was told that there were 1,000 workers in the camp.)

This quote is from the news article:

On this anniversary Samuel Willenberg began the realisation of a long-held dream. He unveiled a foundation stone for a future Treblinka education centre designed by his architect daughter, Orit.

Treblinka sorely needs an “education centre.”  The Nazis left no evidence behind, except the ashes of the 870,000 Jews who were killed.  Sadly, the ashes have been covered over by a “symbolic cemetery,” which is shown in the photos below.

Monument at Treblinka stands in the spot where a gas chamber was located

Monument at Treblinka stands in the spot where a gas chamber was located

The ashes of 870, 000 Jews are covered by a symbolic cemetery

The ashes of 870, 000 Jews are covered by a symbolic cemetery

A huge sculpture represents the train tracks and the train platform

A huge sculpture represents the train tracks and the train platform

The photograph above shows a stone sculpture where a railroad spur line ended, with a stone platform to the left. When the camp was in operation, there was a real train platform in this spot and behind it was a storehouse, disguised as a train depot, which was used to store the clothing and other items which the victims had brought with them to the camp.

In the background of the photo above, you can see a line of 10 stones which mark the boundary line of the camp. The stones represent the different countries, from which the Jews were transported by train to be exterminated here in this remote, God-forsaken spot in the forest.  These countries included German-occupied Greece, Bulgarian-occupied Greece, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, and Yugoslavia.

Why not just shoot the Greek Jews in Greece, and the Belgian Jews in Belgium, you ask?  The Nazis never did anything in an efficient way.  There was a war going on, and the Nazis were using valuable trains to transport the Jews to some remote spot, along the Bug river, to kill them.

Bridge over the Bug river, which is shown on the right

Railroad bridge over the Bug river, which is shown on the right

After the joint conquest of Poland by the Germans and the Russians in September 1939, the river Bug (pronounced Boog) became the border between the German-occupied General Government of Poland and the Russian zone of occupation.  The bridge, shown in the photo above, does not cross the river into the Russian zone; this is a bridge across a bend in the river.

Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 and conquered the strip of eastern Poland that was being occupied by the Russians. Treblinka is located in the former General Government.

The Treblinka camp was divided into three sections. On the far left of the train platform where the Jews arrived was the section where the guards and administrators lived. The Jews, who worked at Treblinka, lived in Camp 1, next to the SS barracks. Today, only the area where the Jews were gassed and burned, has been preserved; the rest of the camp is now covered with trees. The whole Treblinka camp covered about 22 acres, but today’s visitors see an area that is about 7 acres in size.

The photo below was copied from the BBC article about Treblinka.

Mr Willenberg's drawing of the Treblinka infirmary shows mass shootings

Mr Willenberg’s drawing of the Treblinka infirmary shows mass shootings

The photo above, which was printed in the BBC article, shows the Treblinka INFIRMARY, aka hospital, and a large pit containing some bodies from MASS SHOOTINGS.  What happened to the gas chambers?  Does Samuel Willenberg deny the gas chambers at Treblinka?

No. Don’t panic.  The lone survivor of Treblinka is not denying that there were gas chambers at Treblinka.

I vaguely recall reading, in the pamphlet that I got from the Visitor’s center in 1998, something about the “hospital” at Treblinka.  The map in the camp pamphlet, which I obtained on my trip to Treblinka in 1998, is similar to the map shown below.

Map of the Treblinka camp

Map of the Treblinka camp

Near the bottom of the map shown above, you can see the curved “Tube” which led to the “gas chamber.”  No. 36 on the map designates the fake “train station” where the Jews got off the trains which were backed into the camp, a few cars at a time, on a railroad spur line, built by the Nazis.

To the right of the spot where the train platform once stood, and in front of you as you are looking into the camp with the platform on the left, is the location of the “burial pits for those who died during transportation,” according to the camp pamphlet. The victims were brought to the camp in freight cars, except for a few Very Important Jews, who arrived in passenger cars.

Near the burial pits, according to the pamphlet, was an “execution site (disguised as a hospital).” This is where the Jews, who were too weak or sick to walk into the gas chambers, were shot and then buried in the pits, according to the pamphlet.

Half way up the gentle slope to where the symbolic graveyard now stands, there were “3 old gas chambers” according to the pamphlet, and a short distance to the south of them were built “10 new gas chambers.”

According to my 1998 tour guide, the first gas chambers used carbon monoxide. The 10 new gas chambers used the poison gas known as Zyklon-B, according to the pamphlet that I purchased at the Visitor’s Center. Treblinka apparently did not have delousing chambers; all the clothing taken from the prisoners was sent to the Majdanek camp to be disinfected with Zyklon-B before being sent to Germany.  Two of the “gas chambers” at Majdanek have now been down-graded to disinfection chambers, and the number of Jewish deaths at Majdanek have dwindled down to 59,000.

A short distance, farther up the slope, to the east of the gas chambers at Treblinka, was located the “cremation pyres” according to the map in the camp pamphlet. None of the three Operation Reinhard extermination camps had a crematorium for burning the bodies of the 1.5 million Jews who were allegedly killed in these camps.

Of the other five extermination camps, which were in operation during the same period (Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau), only Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek, which also functioned as forced labor camps, had crematoria with ovens for burning the bodies.

It seems that Treblinka is now being promoted as the most important “extermination camp” in the Holocaust, as the number of deaths in the other camps dwindle down, down, down.

Why Treblinka?  Because the Nazis left no evidence there.  This means that the Holocaustians can make up any story about Treblinka.

This quote is from the BBC article:

When the Nazis left Treblinka in 1943 they thought they had destroyed it. They had knocked down the buildings and levelled (sic) the earth. They had built a farmhouse and installed a Ukrainian “farmer”. They had planted trees, and – contemporary reports suggest – lupins.

But if they thought they had removed all evidence of their crime, they hadn’t. For a forensic archaeologist, there is a vast amount to study.

Sadly, there is also a “vast amount” for revisionists to study at Treblinka.  Read this article at the Inconvenient History website: http://revblog.codoh.com/2012/01/comment-sturdy-colls/

August 12, 2013

When assigned to write a report on the Holocaust, where do students go for answers?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 7:56 am

Every morning, I check my “site stats” to see what websites directed readers to my blog posts on the previous day.  This morning there was a link from Yahoo Answers that sent readers to my blog.  What could I have possibly written that would direct students to my blog?

I found that the answer on this link on Yahoo Answers was used to find my blog:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120328213254AAOcz5x

The link to my blog on Yahoo Answers is a link to this blog post:  http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/holocaust-gas-chambers-were-designed-by-topf-und-sohne-company-who-knew/

The title of that blog post has the words “Who knew?”  I thought that this would signal to readers that what I was writing was not the gospel truth, and that I was writing facetiously.

My sophisticated, highly educated regular readers would have known in an instant that Topf and Sons had not designed the “gas chambers.”  Topf and Sons was a German company that designed crematory ovens.

I thought that anyone with any sense at all would know that there were no homicidal “gas chambers” used anywhere, except in places like Missouri and California, during World War II.  It was not my intention to mislead young students.

My advice to students is this:  Don’t use Yahoo Answers to get information for a school report. Stick to Wikipedia, which is a kosher website.  Anything that you read on Wikipedia will be the official history of the Holocaust, not some facetious revisionist writing.

August 11, 2013

Holocaust survivor Steve Ross, recovering from a stroke, can’t remember details of Dachau liberation

Steve Ross is the young boy on the far left, standing at the barbed wire fence around Dachau

Steve Ross is the young boy on the far left, standing at the barbed wire fence around Dachau

According to a news article, which you can read in full here, Holocaust survivor Steve Ross, shown in the photo above, is recovering from a debilitating stroke that he suffered late last November.  I can relate because I suffered a stroke a little over three years ago.  There are a lot of things that happened in 1945, which I can’t remember, due to brain damage caused by the stroke.

Steve Ross (real name Szmulek Rozental) is famous for being a Jewish boy who survived 10 different concentration camps in 5 years.

According to the news article:

In places like Budzyn, Krasnik, Czechna in Radon, Bietigheim, Vaihingen, Unterriexingen, Grossachsenheim, Neckarsulm, Auschwitz, and lastly, Dachau. Nazi concentration camps where he was imprisoned, tortured, starved, and beaten for five years, from the age of nine to 14. Yet try as they did, the Nazis couldn’t break him. And in the end, Steve survived.

Note that Steve Ross survived Auschwitz, although he was under the age of 15.  Why wasn’t he sent to one of the Auschwitz gas chambers?  This is easily explained.  Dr. Mengele could not estimate age to within 5 years, so many children got through the selection process by lying about their age.

This quote is also from the news article:

As a boy, [Steve Ross] watched as those big green tanks with white stars crashed through the gates of Dachau that spring morning in 1945, followed by lots of tall men in uniforms he’d never seen, shouting a language he’d never heard. They fanned out around the fence perimeter, then like some rapid parade in motion, poured into the camp. There were so many, so fast. Yet he and dozens of his fellow prisoners could only watch from their barracks, for they were too weak from starvation, overwork, disease, and injuries to move.

It is understandable that, after having a stroke, Steve Ross can’t remember everything about the day that he was liberated from Dachau.  I can relate.  So I am going to help him to remember what actually happened.

There were no big green tanks with white stars that crashed through the gates of Dachau.  The photo below shows the scene just after General Linden had accepted the surrender of the camp by a tall  SS soldier, Lt. Wicker, accompanied by a Red Cross man, wearing an arm band.

General Linden standing at the gate into Dachau after the camp was surrendered

General Linden standing at the gate into the Dachau camp after the camp was surrendered

American tanks had not been able to get to Dachau, to crash through the “Arbeit macht Frei” gate, which is shown intact in the photo above.

This quote, about the time line on the day of the liberation of Dachau, is from this website:

09:30 Tanks of the 101st Tank Battalion enter the city of Dachau after an alternate river crossing is found.

10:30 I Company and elements of M Company (3rd Battalion) are dispatched in the direction of the concentration camp. Tanks are held up by a bridge over the Amper River which is blown when armor is within 20 yards, killing a large number of German soldiers who are unable to cross in time.

10:45 1st Lt. L.R. Stewart and 1st Sgt. Robert Wilson of L Company find a footbridge defended by a lone German machine gunner. After firing one belt of ammunition the German retreats and I Company then crosses. Tanks and L Company remain behind to clear Dachau and continue the attack toward Munich.

The news article continues with this quote:

He saw the guards put up their hands, as if to surrender. But wait, was he seeing things? Was his chronic malnutrition causing him to be delusional? No, this time it was real. But who were these strange big men whom his all-powerful Nazi overlords were cowering before? As if to answer his thoughts, one of his fellow prisoners shouted one word.

Americans!

The American Army had arrived. His long nightmare was finally over. He would live. The American soldiers had saved him from certain death. And as 14-year-old Steve Ross walked out of Dachau that day in 1945, a tall American soldier on a big American tank called him over. The soldier gave him some cans of food, smiled, and warmly touched his head. Steve cried. For the first time in five years, he cried. His emotions, bottled up through a half decade of hell, had finally poured out. The soldier told him something he couldn’t understand, then handed him a colorful cloth with stars and stripes.

The regular guards at Dachau had fled the night before the Americans arrived.  The “guards” who put up their hands, “as if to surrender” were SS men who were inside the SS garrison next to the camp.  Steve Ross was in the concentration camp, where he could not have seen the SS men with their hands in the air.  He might have seen the guards, who were in Tower B, come down with their hands in the air.  These guards, who had surrendered in good faith, were shot by the Americans and their bodies thrown into the moat, where the Americans continued to shoot at their dead bodies.

Steve Ross could not have walked out of the Dachau camp on the day that it was liberated.  The prisoners had to be kept inside until the typhus epidemic, that was going on, could be brought under control.

Fortunately, I wrote about Steve Ross on my website before I had a stroke that wiped out some of my memory.  The following information is from my scrapbookpages.com website:

The young boy at the far left in the photograph [at the top of my blog post] is Stephen Ross, a 14-year-old Jewish orphan from Poland, who said that he had survived 10 different concentration camps in 5 years before he was liberated at Dachau. Standing next to him is Juda Kukieda, the son of Mordcha Mendel and Ruchla Sta.

According to the book “Dachau 29 April 1945, the Rainbow Liberation Memoirs,” edited by Sam Dann, Stephen Ross (real name Szmulek Rozental) was one of the lucky few who was rescued in the nick of time when Dachau was liberated. Ross was interviewed for the book and according to his own story, he was one of the 1,800 prisoners who were crowded into one quarantine barrack, which was designed to hold only about a hundred prisoners.

Ross said that the prisoners in the quarantine barrack had not been fed for two weeks before the Seventh Army arrived. Food was scarce, and according to Ross, the prisoners were fed only occasionally when they were given “a biscuit, hard as a rock and covered with mold.”

From the quarantine block, Ross said that 80 to 100 prisoners a day were carried out and put on the pile of dead bodies near the barbed wire fence, from where they were taken to the crematory. According to Ross, the quarantine block was where the German SS Doctors Sigmund Rascher and Klaus Schilling selected prisoners for their ghastly experiments. The doctors “removed thirty to forty prisoners on a daily basis for experiments” according to Ross.

Ross said that he “had been isolated in quarantine for experiments since 1944.” On the day of liberation, Ross made his way to the main gate, although he “was very weak and hardly able to walk.” With the help of his brother, who was also in the camp, Ross made it to the front of the crowd and was included in one of the most famous photographs of the liberation, shown at the top of this page.

After the liberation of Dachau, Ross had to stay in the camp until the typhus epidemic was brought under control. When he was released, he made his way to Munich where he was hospitalized for 6 months and treated for tuberculosis. He was then sent to a Displaced Persons camp for orphans at a former forced labor camp in Landsberg am Lech, near Munich. Finally, he was brought to America where he was able to recover his health.

Here’s my advice to young people:  Write down everything that you want to remember, because when you get old, you might have a stroke, and make a fool of yourself by telling stories about events that never happened.

The following quote is also from my website:

The following information about Stephen Ross is from The New England Holocaust Memorial:

The effort to build the New England Holocaust Memorial began with a Holocaust survivor, Stephen Ross (Szmulek Rozental), who was imprisoned at the age of 9 and whose parents, one brother and 5 sisters were murdered by the Nazi’s. Between 1940 and 1945, he survived 10 different concentration camps.

Like so many others Stephen Ross suffered terribly. His back was broken by a guard who caught him stealing a raw potato. Tuberculosis wracked his body. He once hid in an outhouse, submerged to his neck in human waste, to save himself from being shot. At one time he was hung [by his arms] for eating a raw potato. At age fourteen he was liberated from the infamous torture camp Dachau by American troops. Stephen will never forget the soldiers who found him, emaciated and nearly dead. They liberated him from a certain death.

When Stephen and his older brother, Harry, the only other surviving family member, were released from the Dachau Camp to seek medical attention, they came upon a U.S. Tank Unit. One of the soldiers jumped off his tank, gave Stephen and Harry his rations to eat and put his arms around Stephen. Stephen fell to his knees, kissed the G.I.’s boots and began to cry for the first time in five years.

The soldier took out of his pocket a piece of cloth and gave it to Stephen to wipe his tears. Stephen later found out that it was a small American Flag with 48 stars. This small flag is a treasured item and it will be kept by Stephen and his children as a symbol of freedom, life, compassion and love of the American soldiers.

At the age of 16, Stephen was brought to America in 1948 under the auspices of the U.S. Committee for Orphaned Children. He was illiterate, having had minimal education prior to the Nazi occupation of Poland in 1939. Over the years, he managed to earn three college degrees. Steve made a new life in the Boston area and has worked for the City of Boston for over forty years.

He provides guidance and clinical services to inner-city underprivileged youth and families. He eventually achieved the level of Senior Staff Psychologist.

Note that Steve Ross came upon a U.S. Tank unit AFTER he was released from Dachau.

Note that Steve mentioned that he had been hung by his arms at Dachau.  The “tree hanging” punishment was used at Buchenwald, not Dachau.  I blogged here about Martin Sommer, the guard who originated this atrocity.  Martin Sommer was put on trial by the Germans in the court of Dr. Konrad Morgen. After being convicted, Sommer was sent to the Eastern front, where he was wounded, losing an arm and a leg.

Note also that Steve was submerged up to his neck in human waste in an outhouse.  Where did this happen?  Dachau had flush toilets, but no outhouses.  Steve was obviously remembering what he saw in a Spielberg movie, not what he suffered at Dachau.

However, he could have sunk down into a flush toilet at Dachau because the toilets had no seat. The photo below shows a toilet in one of the cells in the bunker, a prison within the Dachau camp.

The toilets at Dachau had no seat

The toilets at Dachau had no seat

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