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March 31, 2011

the strange case of Martin Sommer, the “Hangman of Buchenwald”

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:29 am

I am currently reading a new book entitled The Beasts of Buchenwald written by Flint Whitlock, which has just been published.  You can read about the book here.  A lot of research has gone into this book and it has lots of good information and rare photos. The author reveals the real name of Ilse Koch’s son, who was conceived while she was a prisoner at Dachau, awaiting trial by the American Military Tribunal. He also reveals the name of the alleged father of her son.  I’m not going to tell you the names.  Get your own copy and read it yourself.

One thing that caught my attention in the book was this sentence on page 263:

Martin Sommer: The sadistic warden of the Bunker at KL Buchenwald volunteered for combat duty.

Martin Sommer, the hangman of Buchenwald

Martin Sommer was put on trial by Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, an SS judge, in 1943.  I always thought that Sommer was sent to the Eastern front as punishment for his crimes at Buchenwald.  It seems really strange that Martin Sommer was not punished for his horrific crimes.

I previously blogged about Martin Sommer here.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia about Martin Sommer:

In 1943 Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler appointed SS judge Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen to investigate charges of cruelty and corruption at the Buchenwald camp. Due to his excessive brutality and sadism, Sommer was indicted and tried before Morgen. Commandant Karl Koch and his wife Ilse Koch were also put on trial.

According to Morgen, Sommer had a secret compartment underneath the floor under his desk. He kept his private instruments of torture concealed within this compartment such as the needles he used to kill his victims after he was done torturing them, he would inject them with carbolic acid, or inject air into their veins causing their death by embolism. On occasions, after private late night torture sessions Sommer would hide his victim’s bodies under his bed until he could dispose of them in the morning.

Among his acts of depravity were beating a German pastor, hanging him naked outside in the winter then throwing buckets of water on him and letting him freeze to death. On another occasion Sommer beat a Catholic priest to death for performing the Sacrament of Penance for a fellow inmate.

With all this evidence against Martin Sommer, as told by Dr. Morgen himself, why wasn’t Sommer executed like Karl Otto Koch?  Whether he was sent to the Eastern front or volunteered, it doesn’t matter.  The question is Why did he get off so lightly after killing prisoners so cruelly?

Dr. Morgen put 5 of the concentration camp Commandants on trial in his court and sentenced 2 of them to be executed.  Yet he let Martin Sommer off with no punishment at all.

Harry Stein wrote a book entitled Gedenkstätte Buchenwald which was sold at the Buchenwald Memorial Site when I visited in 1999.  Stein wrote that Martin Sommer was arrested in connection with the proceedings against Karl Otto Koch, but that Sommer “was not sentenced.”  If he was “not sentenced” but went to the Eastern front in 1943, this indicates that he volunteered and was not forced to go.

But why was Martin Sommer not sentenced in Dr. Morgen’s court?  His crimes were far more horrible than the crimes of Koch and he had killed more people than Koch, who was only charged with ordering the deaths of two people. Koch did not personally kill anyone, but Martin Sommer had allegedly killed hundreds of prisoners with his own hands.  Heinrich Himmler, the man who authorized the trial of Koch, had given an order that the SS men were forbidden “to lay violent hands” on the prisoners.  Among Sommer’s alleged crimes was the charge that he had personally crucified two Catholic priests upside down.  How did he get by with this, without being sentenced?

The only reason that I can think of is that Karl Otto Koch enriched himself by stealing from the prisoners.  That money belonged to the Reich.  Martin Sommer didn’t get rich off of killing prisoners in the bunker, so his crimes were not so serious in the eyes of Himmler.  Frau Koch had her own bank account, which was suspicious, but that was not enough evidence for Dr. Morgen to convict her. Ilse Koch was acquitted in Dr. Morgen’s court.

Martin Sommer was finally convicted in a German court in 1958.  You can read about it in a New York Times article here.

After the war, Dr. Morgen was put into the Bunker at Dachau because he was a “war criminal” as far as the Americans were concerned.  He had a chance to hobnob with some of the SS men that he had prosecuted in his court and to learn what it feels like to be a prisoner in a Bunker in a concentration camp.

Dr. Morgen was a member of the SS, which had been designated as a criminal organization by the Allies, so that automatically made him a “war criminal.”  Besides that, anyone who had any connection whatsoever to a concentration camp came under the new Allied concept of co-responsibility, which was known as the “common design” or “common plan” to commit war crimes.  Dr. Morgen was an SS judge who investigated the camps for criminal activity, so he had a connection to the concentration camps and was thus a war criminal.

Dr. Morgen told historian John Toland that he was beaten several times in an attempt to get him to say that Ilse Koch had personally selected the victims whose tattooed skin was made into lampshades for her home, but he refused.

Flint Whitlock’s new book includes lots of quotes, from the testimony given in 1947 at the American Military Tribunal by Buchenwald survivors, that Ilse Koch did, in fact, have prisoners killed for their tattoos.

March 30, 2011

The urns used for ashes at Dachau and other concentration camps

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:06 am

This morning, I was looking at the blog of a former German soldier which you can read here.  He mentioned the clay pots, which resembled flower pots, that the Germans used for the ashes of the prisoners who were cremated at Dachau.  Hundreds of these pots were found at Dachau by the American liberators, but for some reason, the pots are nowhere to be seen now.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought I would show you what the urns found at Buchenwald and Natzweiler looked like.

Clay pots for the ashes of prisoners who were cremated

According to stories that I have read, the clay pots at Dachau were red, just like the pots shown in the photo above; I took this photo at the Natzweiler Memorial site at Natzweiler in Alsace, which is now in France.

The photo below shows urns that are displayed at Buchenwald.  What happened to the urns found at Dachau?  Were they just thrown out?

Clay urns found at the Buchenwald concentration camp

Before October 1944, the bodies of prisoners who died in the Dachau concentration camp were either buried in the Old Cemetery in the town of Dachau or they were cremated in the double oven of the old crematorium or the four ovens inside Baracke X, the new crematorium. When the American Seventh Army liberated Dachau, the inmates told them clay pots were used to send the ashes to the relatives. Only the ashes of German prisoners were sent to the families, and only if the relatives paid a small fee.

After October 1944, when the supply of coal ran out, the Dachau victims of the typhus epidemic were buried on the hill called Leitenberg, which is a few miles from the camp.

As you enter the gate into the crematoria area at Dachau, you will see straight ahead of you, behind the crematorium building, the location where the ashes of thousands of unknown victims at the Dachau camp were buried. The photo below shows a small monument, which stands at the back of the mass grave. The monument has three tiers with a star of David in the middle and a Menorah on top. The marker in the foreground says “Grave of thousands of unknown.” A path to your right leads into the woods where there are other mass graves of the ashes of prisoners who died at Dachau.

Grave of ashes for Jewish victims at Dachau

The photo below shows the grave of ashes for non-Jewish prisoners at Dachau.

The photo above is deep into the woods that are north of the crematorium at Dachau. Just before you enter the woods, you will see the grave of ashes that is shown in the photo below.

Grave of ashes at Dachau Memorial site

The photo below show the fourth and last grave of ashes at Dachau.

Site of ashes buried at Dachau Memorial site

Curiously, there are no graves or ash pits where the bodies of German soldiers, who may have died in the War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 at Dachau, were buried.  The burial place for the bodies and/or ashes of more than 500 German soldiers who were killed in the Dachau Massacre is unknown.

March 29, 2011

Two German admirals in World War II — one was a war criminal and one was a hero

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:55 am

There were two famous admirals in World War II, both of German heritage:  Admiral Karl Dönitz and Admiral Chester Nimitz.  Admiral Dönitz fought for Germany and he was one of the war criminals in the dock at the Nuremberg IMT.  Admiral Nimitz was an ethnic German from the German-American town of Fredericksburg in Texas, but Nimitz was not a war criminal because he fought for the winning side. (You can read about Fredericksburg, TX here.)

There is an anecdote about Admiral Dönitz that I heard years ago, but I don’t know if it is true or not.  The story is that Admiral Dönitz was told that he could have anyone of his own choosing to defend him in the proceedings of the Nuremberg IMT.  To this offer, Dönitz allegedly replied that he wanted Admiral Nimitz to defend him.  His request was not granted, of course.  (more…)

March 28, 2011

Anthony Lawson and his excellent video about the Holocaust

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:54 pm

I just finished watching the mind-blowing video, called Holocaust, Hate Speech & Were the Germans so Stupid? produced by Anthony Lawson.   This is a fantastic video, with a wealth of little-known information, which you can see here. There is almost too much in the video for the mind to process; I had to watch the whole thing twice to take it all in.  I really enjoyed listening to Lawson’s beautiful voice and his perfect English.

Update July 30, 2013:  The YouTube video is back up.  I watched it here this morning.

Update March 29, 2011 7 a.m. I have just learned that You Tube has taken the video down, due to a copyright complaint.  When I viewed the video, I noticed that two of the photos that I took are in the video.  Since I approve of the video, I did not make a complaint, but this is something that Lawson should have anticipated.  I get lots of e-mails from people who want to use one of my photos in a book or video.  I am surprised that Lawson did not know that you need permission to use material that is not in the public domain.  You can read all about the copyright controversy here.

Continue reading my original post:   

I have some comments to add to what is told in the video.

The video starts off with the moral question of “telling lies.”  Lawson says that Rudolf Hoess signed a confession in order to save the lives of his wife and children.  I agree that Rudof Hoess undoubtedly signed a confession, written by the British, because he had been threatened with the prospect of his family being turned over to the Russians if he didn’t co-operate.  The confession contains so many glaring errors that it is doubtful that Hoess wrote it himself. Yet this confession is still used today to prove the Holocaust.  You can read more about Hoess and his confession here.

Then the video moves on to a long discussion about the unfair Nuremberg trial and the role that the Jews played in the trial.  Finally, the video gets to the question: Were the Germans so stupid  that they would leave it to Prison-camp commanders to devise their own methods for carrying out the greatest mass murder in history?

This part of the video is so compelling that, in my humble opinion, it should have been shown at the start.  I think it would be better to start off with something that would really grab the attention of the viewer because young people today all have some degree of Attention Deficit and older people like myself have some degree of Holocaust Fatigue.

The answer to the question posed in the video is: Yes, the Germans were so stupid that they didn’t use their world-renowned engineers to design their gas chambers. They should have asked Werner von Braun to take time out from his work on the V2 rockets, for just one day, to design the world’s best gas chamber.  Instead, it was left up to the Commandants of the camps to design the gas chambers.

Not mentioned in the video is that the Commandant of Sachsenhausen testified at his trial that he was the one who made the decision to use a gas chamber.  Of course, there were virtually no Jews at Sachsenhausen at that time, but that didn’t matter; every concentration camp had to have a gas chamber.

Here is a quote from my own web site about the Berlin trial of the Commandant of Sachsenhausen, which you can read here:

Public Prosecutor: Was it your own decision?

Kaindl: Partially yes. Because the existing installations were too small and not sufficient for the exterminations, I decided to have a meeting with some SS officers, including the SS Chief Doctor Baumkötter. During this meeting, he told me that poisoning of prisoners by prussic acid in special chambers would cause an immediate death. After this meeting, I decided to install gas chambers in the camp for mass extermination because it was a more efficient and more humane way to exterminate prisoners.

Public Prosecutor: Who was responsible for the extermination?

Kaindl: The commandant of the camp.

Public Prosecutor: So, it was you?

Kaindl: Yes.

Note that Anton Kaindl, the Commandant of Sachsenhausen, made the decision himself to build a gas chamber at Sachsenhausen.  And you thought that the order came from Hitler!  David Irving got into trouble for writing that Hitler didn’t know about the Holocaust until 1943.  Maybe Irving was right.  How was Hitler supposed to know what the Commandant of Sachsenhausen was doing on his own?

Re-enactment of pouring gas into the Majdanek gas chamber

The photo above is shown in Lawson’s video with the caption that it is a re-enactment. This photo was taken by the Russians at the Majdanek “death cmap.”  The photo is used on an official Holocaust history web site in an article which explains how the gas was poured into the 4 underground gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Here is a quote about the photo from the web site which you can read in full here:

A rare photograph of a similar introduction vent from Majdanek, not Auschwitz, has been preserved. Majdanek was also a camp where mass gassings were performed.

When the Red Army arrived in July 1944 the soldiers found huge warehouses spilling over with goods. They discovered dead bodies and further evidence of a full range of atrocities, which they publicized immediately to the world presses.

(Feig, Konnilyn, Hitler’s Death Camps, 1979, p. 330.)

A Soviet army man posed for this photograph, holding the device’s cover, standing next to the device itself. It was published in the London press in October 1944. It is unknown how similar this actually looked to the “little chimneys” of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Majdanek introduction vent

Source: The Illustrated London News, October 14, 1944, p. 442.

Note that this photo was published by the LONDON NEWS in October 1944 shortly after the Majdanek camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers in July 1944.  When Soviet soldiers arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the gas chambers had allegedly been blown up already and no photo of the “little chimneys” could be taken.

The crematorium at the Majdanek camp had allegedly been burned down by the Germans, and it had to be reconstructed by the Soviets.  The “little chimney” in the photo is a reconstruction.  The problem is that the real gas chambers at Majdanek were not in the crematorium, but in another building at the other end of the camp.  When the Soviets reconstructed the gas chamber in the crematorium, they made it look like a shower room and the hole in the roof was directly over the drain for the shower.  The reconstruction was allegedly done from the original blueprints.  If the Nazis had used real engineers to design their gas chambers, they wouldn’t have made a mistake like that.

I blogged about the lack of engineers being involved in the construction of the Mauthausen gas chamber in a previous post which you can read here.

Lawson’s video mainly talks about the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp, which is shown to tourists today.  For years, the staff at Auschwitz claimed that this gas chamber was original, but now it is called a reconstruction.  The “little chimneys” on the roof, where the gas pellets were poured in, are reconstructions.

“little chimneys” on the roof of the Auschwitz gas chamber

I climbed up on the roof of the Auschwitz gas chamber in 1998 and took the photo above.  There are four wooden chimneys with covers that are a reconstruction of the ones that were allegedly used to pour in the gas pellets. The three other chimneys were for something else.  Today, there are millions of visitors to Auschwitz and no one is allowed to climb up onto the roof.

P.S. In case you didn’t get to see the video before it was taken down, I can assure you that it is perfectly innocuous.  There is no “hate speech” unless you define hate speech as telling the truth. Lawson speaks in a neutral voice with no hatred.  I did not notice any factual errors and I did not spot any misidentified photos, nor any use of photos to twist the facts.  The video is very educational and could be used in history classes in America, that is, if telling the truth is ever allowed.

This video could be used to teach others how to make a proper video about history.  I especially liked the fact that no background music is used, except for one dramatic chord at the very end.  I find the music that is used in typical Holocaust videos to be very irritating and distracting.  I hope that the video will be put on DVD and made available to everyone.

March 27, 2011

My second response to Paolosilv’s Blog

Filed under: Buchenwald, Dachau, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:24 pm

Paolosilv’s Blog, which you can read here, is an attack on literally every word that I have ever written on my blog, including my comments in answer to the comments of readers.

His last update on August 23, 2010 included a long list of statements made by me, which Paolosilv thinks are grounds for accusing me of being a “Holocaust denier,” meaning a criminal who is far worse than an axe-murderer.

I have held off for months, hoping that his blog would eventually go away, but today I finally decided to answer his accusations.

Paolosilv’s attack on me reminds me of two episodes on the Seinfeld show, in which a young comedian, played by Kathy Griffin, had a whole comedy show that was nothing but an attack on fellow comedian Jerry Seinfeld.  Similarly, Paolosilv’s blog is nothing but an attack on my blog.

I don’t have much longer to live, and it would take me the rest of my life to answer every accusation by Paolosilv, so I have selected just two of his accusations to answer.  The first accusation, of Holocaust denial, on Paolosilv’s blog, is quoted below:

4. https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/
” The Holocaust, with a capital H, was the state sponsored genocide of the Jews, which took place in what is now Poland, not at Dachau. “

This is of course false. It overlooks the deaths of over 100,000 persons, some of whom were Jews at Sachsenhausen-Oranienberg; at Mauthausen-Gusen camps; at Bernberg, Hadamar, Sonnenstein and other sites in which euthanasia was practiced. Even if he means, the Holocaust of the Jews did not take place within the German Reich , while the Holocaust of the Gentiles did, it is still a false statement. Jews were murdered demonstrably at these camps within the Reich borders of Sept 1 1939. Hence, it is falsehood.

My answer:  The Holocaust with a capital H refers to Jews only.  The 5 million others, who were killed by the Nazis, are not included in “The Holocaust.”

The euthanasia program was not part of “The Holocaust.”

The word “murder” is used for the deaths of all prisoners in all the Nazi concentration camps, even if the prisoner was executed or died from a disease.

Jews did, in fact, die in the camps in the Old Reich (1938 border of Germany before the Anschluss with Austria) but most of the 6 million Jewish deaths occurred in what is now Poland.  Calling my statement, that most of the deaths occurred in Poland and not in Dachau, “Holocaust denial” is really stretching the definition of “Holocaust denial” in my humble opinion.

Here is another quote from Paolosilv’s blog:

15. https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/dont-tell-the-soldiers-who-saw-dachau-that-there-was-no-holocaust/#comments

“The prisoners on the train were given enough food to last them until they got to the Flossenburg camp, but when they got there, the Flossenburg camp had already been evacuated, so they had to continue on to Dachau, a distance of only 220 miles. However, the tracks had been destroyed by American planes and the train had to be re-routed through Czechoslovakia. The train took around three weeks to get to Dachau, so that’s why food and water became a problem. All of Europe was starving in the last days of the war and the towns along the way did not have much food to give the prisoners. You can read about the train at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Dachauscrapbook/DachauLiberation/DeathTrain2.html and about the trial of the leader of the train at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauTrials/HansMerbach.html

“These prisoners were evacuated from Buchenwald because they were considered dangerous to the civilians in the area. They were evacuated to delay their release as long as possible so that they would not attack German civilians. Prisoners were marched out of Dachau for the same reason.”

Comment by furtherglory — July 7, 2010 @ 6:10 am

He doesn’t mention why they were being held in the first place, often without a fair trial and a right to counsel. Some prisoners attacked civilians at Weimar, but is that really what concerned Hitler? By April 45, did Hitler really ‘care ‘ about civilians? Hitler was furious with Hitler (sic) for releasing some prisoners in a ‘prisoners for trucks ‘ deal with the Allies, and forbade any further release of prisoners.

My answer: There are three issues here:

1. the reason that prisoners were held at Buchenwald

2. the releasing of prisoners for ransom

3. the protection of German civilians.  I will respond to the first issue first:

1.  The Buchenwald camp, from which the prisoners on the “death train” were transported to Dachau, was THE main camp for Resistance fighters, who were fighting as illegal combatants. Buchenwald was not specifically a camp for Jews; it was mainly a camp for political prisoners.

Monument to the Resistance fighters who were prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp

The photo above shows a large monument to the Resistance fighters at Buchenwald; there is no large monument to the Jews who were mainly brought to Buchenwald after they had been marched out of Auschwitz. The Resistance fighters did not have the protection of the Geneva Convention because they had violated the Geneva Convention themselves. The prisoners who had violated the Geneva Convention were not given a trial, nor the right to counsel in the camps, but some of the prisoners at Buchenwald did have a trial before being sent there.

In 1937, the Buchenwald camp was specifically set up for prisoners who had been convicted twice and had served two sentences in prison. They were sent to Buchenwald under a new law, which said that such prisoners had to undergo rehabilitation for at least six months in a concentration camp. Homosexuals who had been convicted twice under Paragraph 175 of the German law were sent to camps under this new law.  This means that many of the Buchenwald prisoners had already been given two trials.

2.  Hitler was furious with Himmler for releasing prisoners FOR RANSOM; he was not furious with himself, as Paolosilv mistakenly wrote.  I don’t know whether Hitler had expressly forbidden any more releases of prisoners for ransom, but there were other prisoners released for ransom after the “prisoners for trucks” deal which was actually “Jews for trucks” as only Jews were released for ransom in World War II.

A total of 2,896 Jews were released for ransom, according to information given at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial site. Bergen-Belsen was specifically set up as a camp for Jews who were available for exchange for German prisoners.

3.  The protection of civilians.  Hitler definitely feared attacks on civilians in April 1945, and that is why he ordered prisoners to be evacuated from the camps so that they would not be released by the Allies.  The whole Sachsenhausen camp, which was near Berlin, was evacuated except for around 3,000 sick prisoners.  The order to evacuate Sachsenhausen was given after prisoners from Buchenwald had gone to Weimar and attacked civilians.

Prisoners were marched out of Sachsenhausen camp

Prisoners were also marched out of Dachau so that they would not be able to attack civilians if they were released.  The prisoners who were marched out were Jews and Russian POWs, or in other words, the prisoners that were most likely to get revenge on the German people.

Russian POWs and Jews marching out of Dachau

There are several books about the attacks on German civilians after World War II ended; these books are too sickening to read, so I am not recommending them.

Geraldine Ferraro dead at 75 from blood cancer (multiple myeloma)

Filed under: Health — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 8:59 am

Yesterday, I was reading a book about Macrobiotics and watching the news on TV at the same time, when I heard that Geraldine Ferraro had died of “blood cancer” or multiple myeloma. Just at that moment, by some strange coincidence, I had been reading about blood in the human body in the Macrobiotics book.  I dropped everything and rushed to the Internet to look up multiple myeloma.

I learned that cancerous plasma cells in the blood can form a tumor in the bone marrow, called myeloma; tumors in several sites is termed multiple myeloma. I also learned that multiple myeloma seems to start in people between the ages of 65 and 70. Oh, oh, sounds like a problem caused by failing kidneys.  The kidneys are always to blame, according to the wisdom of my Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor.    (more…)

March 26, 2011

the fate of the Bialystok ghetto children who were sent to Theresienstadt (updated)

Update, March 2, 2014:

In a news story, which you can read in full here, I learned more about the fate of the Bialystok children. This quote is from the news article:

Begin quote:

On August 16, 1943 the SS deported the Jews of the Bialystok ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp. For some unknown reason 1,196 children were torn from the arms of their parents and transferred to the Terezin [Theresienstadt] ghetto in Czechoslovakia. “The story of these children has been the subject of my research for the past 50 years,” wrote researcher and publisher, Hannah Greenfield. However, the subject of Hannah Greenfield’s research included many other aspects of the Holocaust – a heartbreaking tapestry of events, people and pain.

Hannah Greenfield, nee Hannah Lustigova, was an integral part, the very soul, of the subject she was investigating. Unlike other survivors, many of whom refuse to cope with the painful task of remembering, Hannah courageously probed the most agonizing recesses of memory, and proceeded to record them for future generations. Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated. She was an educator par excellence who was involved in many different aspects of education, not only writing.

Hannah Greenfield was a member of the board of the Terezin Ghetto Museum, where a program she set up to teach Czech children tolerance, and educate them about the Holocaust, has served thousands of youth annually. As the founder of the Hana Greenfield Fund, her productivity extended into numerous fields of research. Her publications appeared in many languages including: Hebrew, Polish, French, Yiddish, English, German and Czech.

[Hannah’s] original research paper on the fate of Bialystock’s children was first published in England at the 1988 Oxford University conference under the titles: “Murder on Yom Kippur,” “Documents,” and “Exchange and Robbery.” They were all eventually published in her memoir, Fragments of Memory from Kolin to Jerusalem (Gefen Jerusalem 1998; revised edition, 2006).

[Hannah] and her husband Murray Greenfield were co-founders of Gefen Publishing House. Born in Kolin, Czechoslovakia, Hanko Lustigova was young when first exposed to horrific events. When the Nazi ruler of occupied Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, was assassinated in May 1942, there was a wave of brutal reprisals. Many Czechs were rounded up and shot and the entire village of Lidice was wiped off the map. But one war crime committed in the wake of the assassination is less well known.

On the 10th of June 1942, an order was put out to kill 1,000 Jews. However, because the transport was hastily arranged, 1,050 were placed on the train. German efficiency being what it was, 50 people were removed from the train, Hannah, her mother and sister among them. They and the 47 others were marched the three kilometers to Ghetto Terezin; the occupants of the train were never heard from again.

The home for babies at Theresienstadt was in this building, which is now a post office

The home for babies in the Theresienstadt ghetto was in this building, which is now a post office in the town of Terezin

At Terezin, Hannah’s mother worked as a nurse in a home for babies [shown in my photo above]. She loved children and felt a deep need to care for them. And so it happened that on the eve of Yom Kippur, October 7, 1943, she was among the 53 doctors and nurses who accompanied 1,196 children from the Bialystok Ghetto and the Terezin Ghetto to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

Six months later, Hannah was transported to Auschwitz, unprepared for the horror that greeted her there. When she asked what happened to the transports that arrived before her, she received the standard answer: “Up the chimney.” The answer spurred her on to devote the rest of her life to search and record the horror of Holocaust history.

Hannah passed away earlier this year on January 27 in Tel Aviv after a long illness. Yehi zichrah baruch.

End quote

Continue reading my original post about the Bialystok ghetto.

In researching the history of the Jews in the Bialystok ghetto, who were transported west to Treblinka to be killed, I came across the story of the Bialystok children who were orphans after their parents were killed during an uprising in the ghetto in 1943.  I had previously learned of the Bialystok children when I visited Theresienstadt, now known as Terezin.

Gate into the Theresienstadt ghetto

Martin Gilbert wrote in his book Holocaust Journey that the Bialystok children arrived in Theresienstadt on August 24, 1943 and on October 5, 1943 they were sent out of the camp, along with 53 volunteer doctors, nurses and attendants. According to Gilbert, the Nazis claimed that these children were going to be exchanged in neutral Switzerland for German POWs held by the Allies, but instead “they were taken to Auschwitz and murdered.”

I did a search on google and found the following description of the arrival of the children in Theresienstadt on this website:

Suddenly, a column of bedraggled children appeared, hundreds of them between the ages of four to twelve years, holding each other’s hands. The older ones helped the small ones, their little bodies moving along in the pouring rain. A column of marching ghosts, with wet rags clinging to their emaciated bodies, accompanied by a large number of SS men.

Were these the enemies of the Third Reich to be so fiercely guarded? The children were led to a building where disinfection and delousing of inmates was performed. Suddenly they started to shout and cry: “Gas! Gas! Gas!” They huddled together, refusing to be washed or have their wet rags changed for dry clothing. Nobody understood the children’s reaction. What kind of children are these? Where did they come from? What are they talking about?

The children, looking like scarecrows, refused to undress. They held on to their dirty clothing, the older stepping in front of the young ones, protecting them with their bodies, clutching their hands and comforting those that were crying. Their clothing permeated with lice, their bodies full of sores, these children refused to wash.

In 1943, we, the inmates of Ghetto Terezin, didn’t know anything about gas chambers. Locked away, isolated from the outside world, we lived in fear and ignorance of what awaited us once we left the Ghetto, advertised by the Germans as “Die Stadt die Hitler den Juden geschenkt hat.” (“The town which Hitler gave to the Jews.”)

Prior to the children’s arrival, there was a great deal of rushed work done outside the walls of the Ghetto, in a place called Kreta. A special group of male inmates, constantly accompanied by 55 guards, was putting up wooden barracks for an unknown purpose.

[…]

And then, one day, they all disappeared in the same way they had arrived. In the morning of the 5th of October, 1943, the wooden barracks at Kreta were empty. Again, through the Ghetto grapevine, we, the inmates, learned that all the doctors and nurses, on leaving the Ghetto in an exchange deal, had been ordered to remove the yellow stars Jews wore on every garment and had been forced to sign a pledge of silence as to what they had seen and lived through, and were on their way to Switzerland to be exchanged through the Red Cross for German prisoners of war.

Sadly, this was not the true fate of these children.

From this website, I learned the following:

At the end of August 1943 by order of Adolf Eichmann 1,264 children ages 6-12 and at least 20 adult caretakers were taken by train from the Bialystok Ghetto to Theresenstadt Concentration Camp. They remained there in a special barracks called Crete until October 5th, 1943. During this time complex negotiations took place to save these children through some sort of “exchange”and “transfer”, perhaps to Switzerland, then Palestine. When negotiations failed the children and their adult caretakers were taken aboard Abtransport Dn/a 10/5/43 to Auschwitz where they were gassed and burned on Erev (eve of) Yom Kippur, 1943.

There was another transport of Jews from the Theresienstadt ghetto which did make it to Switzerland, arriving on Nov. 7, 1945.  This was mentioned in a book written by Eberhard Kolb, which I purchased at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial site and on several web sites.  Sadly, the plan to send the Bialystok orphans to Switzerland fell through and they were gassed at Auschwitz along with the 53 doctors and nurses accompanying them.

It seems strange to me that the 53 doctors and nurses were also gassed.  Didn’t they need doctors and nurses at Auschwitz-Birkenau?  There were numerous doctors who worked for the Nazis at Auschwitz.  Were all of them doing a good job and there was no need to replace them with a new batch of doctors?

What about Dr. Mengele, who was doing research on twins?  Were there no twins among these 1264 children?  Dr. Mengele was doing research on genetics and he was also looking for Jews with hereditary conditions.  Were there no children with any hereditary deformities in this group?

The whole transport was gassed and burned on the EVE of Yom Kippur.  This means that they were killed at night, so how did the secret get out?

March 25, 2011

the trains that traveled WEST to Treblinka

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:01 am

Treblinka was one of the three Operation Reinhard camps in Poland.  On January 20, 1942 at Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, a conference was held to plan “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question” for Europe’s 11 million Jews. Reinhard Heydrich, who was the head of RSHA (Reich Security Main Office), led the conference. The protocols from the conference contained the expression “transportation to the East,” a euphemism that was used to mean the genocidal killing of all the Jews in Europe.

17,000 stones in Treblinka cemetery

Following the conference, the three Operation Reinhard camps were set up at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.  The first Jews to be deported to Treblinka were from the Warsaw ghetto; the first transport of 6,000 Jews arrived at Treblinka at about 9:30 on 23 July 1942. Between late July and September 1942, the Germans transported more than 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Jews were also deported to Treblinka from the ghettos in Lublin and Bialystok. Others were transported to Treblinka from the Theresienstadt ghetto in what is now the Czech Republic.  Trains continued to arrive regularly at Treblinka until May 1943, and a few more transports arrived after that date.

The Nazis called the Operation Reinhard camps “transit camps.” Their cover story was that the Jews were being “transported to the East” from these camps, but some of the trains actually traveled WEST to Treblinka.

Did the Nazis slip up and blow their cover story of “evacuation to the east” by sending trains west to Treblinka?  O.K., it’s time to get out the maps.

On the web site of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, you can see a map which shows the train routes to the three Operation Reinhard camps here.   Another map on the USHMM web site, which you can see here, shows the location of Treblinka and the surrounding ghettos from which the Jews were transported to the camp.

One of the ghettos on the map is Bialystock, which was a city with a large Jewish population.  As the map on the USHMM web site clearly shows, Treblinka is southwest of Bialystok.  The map shows that Treblinka was in German-occupied Poland, which was called the General Government.  Bialystok was in Poland (and still is) but it was not in the General Government.  By 1942, the German Army had advanced into the part of Poland that had been occupied by the Soviet Union after the joint invasion of Poland in 1939 by the Germans and the Soviets.

The Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jews was to consolidate the Jews into ghettos near major railroad lines for easy transportation to the death camps, which they referred to as transit camps.  One of the main railroad lines in Poland was the Warsaw-Bialystok line. Malkinia Junction near Treblinka was a stop on this line.

The tiny village of Treblinka is located on the railroad line running from Ostrów Mazowiecki to Siedlce. A short distance from Treblinka, at Malkinia Junction, this line intersects the Warsaw-Bialystok line. Trains could reverse directions at the Junction and return to Warsaw, or turn south towards Lublin, which was the headquarters for Operation Reinhard.

When I visited Treblinka in 1998, my tour guide drove me from Warsaw to the camp, a distance of about 60 miles.  Shortly after we left Warsaw, I began seeing signs giving the distance to Bialystok.  There were no signs giving the directions to Treblinka at that time — I saw nothing but directions to Bialystok all the way to the camp.  At that time, I had never heard of Bialystok, but I deduced that it must be an important place, since all roads led to it.  I made a mental note that if I ever came back to Poland and wanted to see Treblinka again, I could just rent a car and head towards Bialystok.

The dividing line, between the part of Poland that was occupied by the Germans during World War II and the part that was occupied by the Soviets after the conquest of Poland in 1939, was the Bug river, which connects with the Vistula river.  All of the Operation Reinhard camps are very near the Bug river.

As the map on the USHMM web site shows, the territory east of Bialystok is Belarus, which Americas used to call White Russia. Also to the east of Bialystok is the section of Poland that was given to the Soviet Union after the joint conquest of Poland by the Germans and the Soviet Union in September 1939. This part of Poland, which had formerly been occupied by the Russians between 1772 and 1917, was now under the control of Germany.  The Nazis claimed that their plan was to send the Jews into this territory.

When railroad lines were built in the 19th century, the width of the tracks was standardized in America and western Europe, but the tracks in Russia and eastern Poland were a different gauge. Bialystok is the end of the line for Western railroad tracks in Poland; this is as far east as trains can go without changing the wheels on the rail cars to fit the tracks in Russia.

In June 1941, the German Army had invaded the Soviet Union. By the time that the Operation Reinhard camps were set up in 1942, German troops had advanced a thousand kilometers into Russia. The plan was to transport the Jews as far as the Bug river and kill them in gas chambers, then claim that they had been “transported to the East.”  There was no gas chamber in Bialystok so the Jews in the Bialystok ghetto were transported west to Treblinka in order to kill them.

What else could the Nazis have done at Treblinka?  Maybe put a pontoon bridge across the Bug river and send the Jews into the former Soviet territory? But if the plan was to send all the Jews into Russia, why not just send them to the east from Bialystok? Maybe the Nazis didn’t want to send the Bialystok Jews as a separate group, but wanted to keep the Jews together when they were “transported to the East.”

When Germany began offering reparations to the Jews for the Holocaust, there were many Jews who claimed reparations but were rejected because they had come from Russia to Germany after the war.  According to the official history of the Holocaust, these people were dead, so they could not claim reparations from Germany.

Now there are ads on TV asking for donations for the Holocaust survivors in Russia.  There is no mention of how these survivors got there, but the scene in the ad, that shows the tattoo on the arm of one of the Holocaust survivors in Russia, has recently been deleted from the ad.

March 23, 2011

the Brausebad sign over the door to the Dachau gas chamber

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:43 am

One of the readers of this blog made a comment recently, saying that the word Brausebad, over the door into the Dachau gas chamber, was stenciled on later by the American liberators.

Door into the gas chamber at Dachau

Door into the gas chamber at Dachau

The photo above was taken on my last trip to Dachau in 2007.  I composed this picture so as to show the wiring above the door.  The ceiling of the Dachau gas chamber is now 7.6 feet high, but the wiring on the wall outside the door shows that the original ceiling in the room was actually much higher.  The electrical wiring is for the light fixtures in the room.

In all my research on the Dachau concentration camp, I have never read anywhere that the sign over the door into the gas chamber was added by the American liberators.

It never occurred to me that the word Brausebad above the door is not original, so I didn’t take a close-up of it.  I borrowed a close-up photo from this blog and posted it below.

Sign over the door to the gas chamber at Dachau

I don’t think that “stenciled” is the right word to describe how the word was put on the wall.  Maybe someone reading this can think of a better word. I would describe this as a sticker on a piece of tape; the tape is now so old that it is turning yellow the way Scotch tape appears after many years.  Now I understand what the reader meant when he said in his comment that when he ran his fingers over the paint, it felt different from the rest of the paint in this building.

In any case, when you see a close-up of the word, it looks a bit sloppy; it is what the Nazis would have called “unGerman.”  In fact, everything about the Dachau gas chamber looks suspicious because it is so “unGerman.”

Sign over the entrance to the shower room at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Sign over the entrance to the shower room at Auschwitz-Birkenau says “Brausen”

Strangely, the sign over the entrance to the shower room in the “Sauna” at Auschwitz-Birkenau says “Brausen”, not Brausebad.  When I took a class in German, in an American school, several years ago, I was told that the word Brausebad is no longer used in Germany because of it’s association with the Holocaust.  Did the American liberators of Dachau make a mistake when they put a sign over the door into the alleged gas chamber at Dachau?

This photo was taken in 1950 by Hitler's photographer

This photo was taken in 1950 by Hitler’s photographer

I have photo shopped the photo above, in an attempt to make the light switch and the wiring a lighter color.  In my version of this photo, you can see the inside of the “gas chamber” and the morgue room, in the background, which is right next to the “gas chamber.”

Notice what looks like mold on the wall of the undressing room, just below the light switch.  Was this mold caused by the gas used in the alleged “gas chamber”, or by dampness from the water used in the shower room.  My photo of the same door shows that the mold has been removed.

March 22, 2011

the Zyklon-B gas chutes on the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:32 am

Two chutes on the outside wall of Dachau gas chamber

The photograph above shows the wall on the East side of the Dachau gas chamber building. On the wall are two bins which have hinges on the bottom so that they could be opened or closed; in the center is a small hole that has been closed up. These bins were allegedly used as chutes to pour Zyklon-B gas pellets onto the floor of the gas chamber. The inside wall behind the bins has two screened openings, through which the gas pellets fell onto the floor.

This morning there was a comment by a reader on a blog post that I did back on December 21, 2010 which you can read here.  The reader was commenting on what Herbert Stolpmann wrote on January 4, 2011, which I have quoted below:

I was taken to see the Dachau KZ by an American GI in 1946, at that time it was not spruced up as a memorial site as it is now. Apart from that I lived up to 1956 in the old Hospital Barracks Hs.No 52,still have the German ID to this date and met an old inmate the Communist secretary of Lower Bavaria, an reliable source of info within the Camp.I would like to make it quite clear, that the Gas Chamber was never operational. As a matter of fact the so called chutes to push cyclon pallets into the system had been added later on after the liberation to lend the myth of gassing some measure of authenticity. The name of my friend and former inmate is Josef Weichart and has most likly passed away by now. I had no recent contact with him.  HK Stolpmann-Auckland New Zealand 05.01.2011

The reader commented that “Something like this shouldn’t just be sitting around in the comment section. Should make an article or ‘testimony’ or something like that.”  So I am doing a new post to address the issue of the chutes on the outside wall of Baracke X at Dachau.

Wooden screen on the East wall of the gas chamber building

The photo above was taken by the US Army a few days after the camp was liberated on April 29, 1945. It shows a wooden screen in front of the East wall of Baracke X, the gas chamber building. The screen was 16 feet long and extended 6 feet out from the wall; there was no roof over the area behind the screen. The two bins shown in the photo at the top of this post were hidden by this screen.  According to Holocaust historians, this screen was placed in front of the wall by the Nazis in order to hide their activity from the prisoners.

However, the Report of the Atrocities Committed at Dachau Concentration Camp, signed by Col. David Chavez, Jr., JAGD, 7 May 1945, states that this screen was a “Wooden shed believed to contain a pump or compressor.” The Chavez Report was entered into the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as Documents 159L and 2430-PS.

The openings for the gas chutes on the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber

Notice that the gas bins and the peephole are not centered on the outside wall. Instead they are centered on the inside of the gas chamber.

One of the openings for the gas chutes on the inside of the gas chamber

The gas bins are now rusted so that they cannot be closed.

The first time that I visited the Dachau Memorial site, I went to see the film that is shown several times each day.  The movie shows some footage of the gas chamber, taken by the American military on May 3, 1945. The inside of the gas chamber is shown in the film, but not the interior of the East wall where the openings for the gas chutes are located. This film was shown at the Nuremberg IMT as evidence that there was a gas chamber at Dachau. It shows the corridor behind the West wall of the gas chamber which has what are purportedly gas pipes going into the gas chamber, but does not show the bins for the gas chutes on the outside wall.

Poster at Dachau shows an old photo of Baracke X

The photo above shows a poster at the Dachau Memorial Site.  The photo in the poster was taken by a Yugoslavian prisoner who was a captured Resistance fighter.  On the left side of the photo, you can see the wooden enclosure around the spot where the bins for the chutes are now located.  With so many bodies piled up, how did the SS men get behind the wooden screen to throw the Zyklon-B pellets into the gas chamber?

I was very curious about the gas chutes on the wall, so I began searching for some description of them by anyone who saw the chutes before 1947, the date that Mr. Stolpmann claims that they were constructed.  I searched for at least a year and I found many descriptions of the Dachau gas chamber which I put on my web site; you can read the descriptions here.

For some strange reason, no one noticed the bins for the gas chutes on the East wall.  Of course, the bins could have been closed so that no light would have been coming through the little windows, but still you would think that at least one person would have noticed the windows, which are quite large.

1945 photo shows wooden screen hiding the gas bins

The photo above was taken on April 30, 1945, the day after the Dachau concentration camp was liberated, when the 40th Combat Engineer Regiment, which was supporting the 45th Thunderbird Division, arrived to take over.  There is a door which was apparently taken from some other location and propped up against the wooden screen.  It is hard to tell, but there might be a door into the screened area on the right hand side.  Strangely no one mentioned what might be behind the wooden screen, except Col. David Chavez, Jr. who wrote in his report on May 7, 1945 that this was a “Wooden shed believed to contain a pump or compressor.”  Maybe no one actually looked behind the wooden screen because there was no door, or maybe the door was nailed shut.

You can read the official history of the Dachau gas chamber here on the Holocaust History web site.  Scroll way, way, way down to the part about the gas chutes which I have quoted below:

Further evidence of its design as a homicidal chamber are the two bin-like drawers leading from the gas chamber to the exterior. <photo 37> <photo 38> <photo 39> The only possible explanation for these bins is that they were designed to receive the granules of Zyklon-B (or some other lethal volatile poison) from a small tin. The person in charge of a homicidal gassing need only don a gas mask, open the two bins, and dump part of a small tin of Zyklon-B into each one.
[….]
The question arises of the difference between the method of dispensing of Zyklon-B to the disinfestation chambers and to the extermination chamber. Quite simply: the exposure time and concentration of hydrogen cyanide gas for killing insects is considerably higher than that which is needed to kill humans. According to the manufacturers of the product, it only requires 0.3 grams per cubic meter to kill human beings, whereas concentrations of up to 10 grams per cubic meter were routinely employed to destroy insects. 22 The relative ease with which it is possible to kill humans with low concentrations of hydrogen cyanide makes it simpler and less expensive to use the drawer-like bins in the homicidal chamber rather than to use the costly Degesch dispensers. Additionally, the bins would allow for other volatile poisons to be employed as suggested by Rascher in his letter to Himmler. (See below.)
[….]
A suspicious and heretofore unexplained structure bears mentioning.
What appears to be a wooden screen blocking the area where the bin-like drawers are located on the eastern wall of the new crematorium (Baracke X) can be observed in photographs taken immediately after the camp was liberated by the Americans. <photo 42> (See also <photo 17> above.) This screen seems to be about 16 feet wide and six feet deep. It does not appear to have any roof-covering. If it was indeed a screen, it would have allowed operation of the bin-like drawers by one or more perpetrators without any possibility of being observed by any casual bystanders.

The Dachau Memorial Site is under the authority of the International Committee of Dachau, a prisoners’ organization which still exists to this day.  Holocaust denial is against the law in Germany, so the information given at the Memorial Site is that the Zyklon-B pellets “could have have been” put into the gas chamber though the bins on the outside wall. Only a few of the tour guides at Dachau tell visitors today that Zyklon-B gas pellets were put into the Dachau gas chamber though gas chutes.

By the way, today is the 78th anniversary of the date that the Dachau concentration camp was first opened on March 22, 1933.

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