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March 17, 2011

Demjanjuk is back in court — testimony from the dead will be heard

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:33 am

Good news!  John Demjanjuk is back in court, after two days in a hospital, and a request by his attorney to hear testimony given by Dov Frieberg has been granted.  Freiberg is now dead, but a written statement that he gave in 1976 will be read in court.  In his statement, Freiberg said that he was assigned to clean the Sobibor barracks where the Ukrainian guards were housed, but he does not remember Demjanjuk being there.

I previously wrote this about Freiberg in another blog post:

In his book entitled “The Holocaust,” Martin Gilbert wrote about another survivor of Sobibor, Dov Freiberg, who was a 15-year-old boy on a transport of 2,750 Jews from the town of Torobin in Poland on May 12, 1942. The Jews were assembled in the town square and told that they were going to be “resettled in the Ukraine,” according to Freiberg. They were then taken to the nearest railroad station at Krasnowka, where they were joined by Jews from other nearby towns and villages. When their train arrived at the camp, the story of resettlement seemed to be coming true: a sign at the entrance to the camp said “SS Sonderkommando Umsiedlungslager.” which means “SS special unit resettlement camp” in English.

According to Freiberg, there was a band playing at the entrance. The women and children “went straight to the gas chambers,” but since the gas chamber “didn’t really operate in the night,” the men “stayed there on the spot during the night.” Freiberg was one of 150 Jews from this transport who “were sent to work” in the camp itself, sorting the belongings of the victims.

It turns out that it was a big mistake for the Germans to select young Jewish boys to work in Sobibor, which was one of the 6 Nazi death camps.  Even if the Nazis expected to win the war and they thought that they would never be charged with Crimes against Humanity for the genocide of the Jews, the Nazis should have anticipated that the German people would eventually turn against them and some of the young boys would have survived to testify against them. They should have selected older men, who would soon be dead, to be the helpers in the Sobibor death camp.

The Nazis should have anticipated a possible revolt by the Jewish helpers and that some of them would survive to testify against them.  Yesterday I blogged about Philip Bialowitz who survived the revolt at Sobibor and is still alive; he is touring the USA now, telling his story of how 250,000 Jews were gassed at Sobibor. (Bialowitz was 17 when he was sent to Sobibor.)

The Germans called Sobibor a “transit camp;” their cover story was that the Jews were being “evacuated to the East.”  Treblinka and Belzec were also called transit camps by the Germans.  But why did they need transit camps in German-occupied Poland?  Why not just put the Dutch Jews on a train in Amsterdam and take them all the way into the Ukraine, instead of stopping at Sobibor for a shower?

The Bug river was very shallow and not very wide

The reason that the trains to the East had to stop at Sobibor and Belzec is because there were no train bridges across the Bug river; the train tracks were a different size in Eastern Europe.

There were more Jews killed in the three Operation Reinhard camps (Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec) than in Auschwitz.  Why weren’t all the Jews sent to Auschwitz to be gassed?  Auschwitz was the main railroad hub in Europe.  Trains could start from almost any place in Western Europe and go all the way to Auschwitz.  Even Majdanek would have been a better choice for gassing the Jews. The Majdanek camp, with its 4 Zyklon-B gas chambers, was a few miles west of Sobibor, so why send Jews to Sobibor to be gassed with carbon monoxide from diesel engines?  That doesn’t make any sense at all.  The Majdanek camp also had ovens to burn the bodies, which Sobibor didn’t have.

The map above shows the General Government (German-occupied Poland) in dark brown and the former Soviet occupied zone in jade green.  The black line which divides these two zones is the Bug river. Note that Sobibor is very close to the Bug river, but also very close to Majdanek. Note that Auschwitz (shown in the tan section of the map) is not in the General Government, but in the Greater German Reich. Chelmno is another death camp that was also located in the Greater German Reich.

At the time that the three Operation Reinhard camps were set up in 1942, the Germans had taken the area that is shown in jade green on the map.  Why would they have killed the Jews right on the banks of the Bug river when they could have just sent them into the Ukraine and on into Russia?

I have been watching an ad on TV that asks for a donation of $25 to be sent to the starving elderly Holocaust survivors in Russia.    How did all these Holocaust survivors wind up in Russia?