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February 16, 2011

New book and possible documentary film could clear up a lot of questions about the Holocaust

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:36 am

A book written in German by Holocaust survivor Leslie Schwartz is due to be translated into English this year and already plans for a documentary about Schwartz’s life are under way, according to a news article which you can read here.  The working title of the film is Lazarus, Schwartz’s camp nickname, referring to his ability to cheat death like the biblical character.  

Leslie Schwartz was 14 years old when he was sent, in the spring of 1944, from a ghetto in Hungary to Auschwitz, where he stayed for only 10 days before being sent to a sub-camp of Dachau. How did he manage to cheat death at Auschwitz? As every student of the Holocaust knows, everyone under the age of 15 was immediately gassed at Auschwitz.  But not Leslie. The news article explains that “he sneaked into the men’s barracks and was transported west to a smaller sub-camp of Dachau.”

At the sub-camp, he was forced to do heavy work — carrying 50 lb. sacks of cement. The news article didn’t identify the sub-camp, but I’m guessing that it was one of the 5 sub-camps that were under the name Mühldorf.

Shortly before Dachau was liberated on April 29, 1945, the prisoners in the Mühldorf sub-camps were evacuated to the main Dachau camp, under the supervision of the Commandant Martin Gottfried Weiss.  Weiss became the acting Commandant of the main Dachau camp after Commandant Eduard Weiter left with a group of prisoners that were evacuated to the South Tyrol.

This part of the news article intrigued me:

His lucky break came when one of the officers took an interest in him.

“There was nobody my age there, so he called me ‘Lazarus,’ ” Schwartz said.

Another officer, so cruel that even the other Nazis feared him, took on Schwartz as a manicurist.

“I used to say to myself, ‘Here is this brutal man, and I am manicuring his nails. There were rumors that he was a homosexual, but he never touched me. He never beat me.”

Could this be a reference to the Mühldorf commandant, Martin Gottfried Weiss, and his adjutant, Rudolf Heinrich Suttrop?

Martin Gottfried Weiss and Rudolf Heinrich Suttrop in a Dachau courtroom

In the photograph above, a prosecution witness, Michael Pellis, identifies Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert in the courtroom of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau. Martin Gottfried Weiss is sitting just below Ruppert and sitting next to Weiss is his adjutant, Rudolf Heinrich Suttrop, who is wearing the number 24. When I first saw this photo at the Dachau Memorial Site Museum, I noticed that these two men stood out from the others because of their uncommon good looks.

Rudolf Heinrich Suttrop on the witness stand at Dachau

Suttrop is the best looking war criminal that I’ve ever seen, which doesn’t prove that he was homosexual, but it does arouse suspicion.  Martin Gottfried Weiss was not married, which was unusual for an SS man. At his sentencing, after his conviction as a war criminal, Weiss asked for clemency because he was the sole support of his 71-year-old mother.

Weiss was considered to be a nice guy by the prisoners.  In fact, one of the prisoners at Dachau (Arthur Haulot) wanted to put in a good word for him at his sentencing, but this was not allowed by the American prosecutors.  Weiss and Suttrop were both convicted of participating in a “common plan” to commit war crimes, although there were no specific charges against either of them.

I can’t wait to read the English version of the book; I hope he names names. There are so many Holocaust survivor books already in circulation that any new book must have something unusual, or some new twist, in order to attract readers.

2 Comments

  1. […] big “Thank you” to the reader who made a comment on my previous blog post about Holocaust survivor Leslie Schwartz whose memoirs will be out in English soon, with a possible […]

    Pingback by Christof Ludwig Knoll — the Kapo who took an interest in a prisoner at Dachau « Scrapbookpages Blog — March 3, 2011 @ 9:59 am

  2. Christof Ludwig Knoll was the capo who took an interest in Leslie. Knoll was executed in the war crimes trials after the war. No prisoner would have said anything good about him. He was incredibly brutal and a sadistic killer.

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christof_Ludwig_Knoll&ei=tH9vTaLVDsP_lget48A7&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCgQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dchristof%2Bknoll%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1G1GGLQ_ENUS350%26prmd%3Divnso

    Comment by Marc — March 3, 2011 @ 3:51 am


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