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March 18, 2011

Dutch Jews killed at Mauthausen Concentration camp

Filed under: Buchenwald, Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:52 am

The murder of Dutch Jews during the Holocaust has been in the news a lot lately due to the trial of John Demjanjuk in Germany.  I decided to do a little research on this subject and came across a blog titled “Inconvenient History” which I have read many times in the past. I love this blog because the articles are so erudite, not like my dumb blog posts.  I especially love the name: Inconvenient History.

This blog post on the “Inconvenient History” blog is about the speeches of German writer Thomas Mann on the BBC during World War II; it mentions Dutch Jews who were allegedly gassed at the Mauthausen concentration camp, according to Mann.

Here is a quote from the article on the blog “Inconvenient History”:

Two months later, in the speech from January 1942, Mann had an astounding tale to tell his listeners:

”The news sounds implausible, but my source is good. In numerous Dutch-Jewish families in Amsterdam and other cities, so I have been informed, one mourns deeply for sons, who have suffered a horrible death. Four hundred young Dutch Jews were brought to Germany to be used as guinea pigs for poison gas. The virulence of this chivalrous and through and through German weapon of war, a true weapon of Siegfried, has proven itself against the young subhumans. They are dead, dead for the sake of the New Order and the military ingeniosity of the Master Race. At least for that they were good enough. After all, they were Jews.”[5]

A bit later in the text Mann refers to the above alleged event as ”the trial gassing [Probevergasung] of four hundred young Jews”.[6]

In his speech from June 1942 Mann returned to the subject of the gassed Dutch Jews:

”In one of my earlier broadcasts I made myself guilty of a regrettable mitigation of the truth. I spoke of Nazi atrocities and mentioned that 400 young Dutchmen of Jewish blood had been brought to German to be killed with poison gas. Now I hear via indirect channels from Holland, that the number of victims mentioned by me was nearly half that of the actual figure. It was almost 800 people who were arrested at that time, brought to Mauthausen and gassed there. The exact figure has meanwhile been published by the Dutch government [in exile?], but since I do not believe that this report has yet reached you, I do well to pass on to you this privately received information.”[7]

Mauthausen and the nearby Gusen camp had been designated, in January 1941, as the only Class III camps in the Nazi system. Later, Gusen became a sub-camp of Mauthausen. Dachau and Sachsenhausen were designated as Class I camps and Buchenwald became a Class II camp.

The Class III designation meant that Mauthausen was the worst camp in the Nazi concentration camp system; it was a punishment camp for resistance fighters who had been accused of sabotage, and for Allied POWs who were categorized as spies or commandos, Russian POWs who had previously escaped, and German criminals who had been condemned to death.  As the worst of the concentration camps, Mauthausen also became the source of the worst atrocity stories told by the Allies, including the stories about the Dutch Jews.  I previously blogged about stories told by a Dutch survivor here.

I visited the Mauthausen Memorial Site several years ago after doing a lot of research about the camp. I learned that, from 1941 to 1943, there were around 1,350 Dutch Jews who had been brought to Mauthausen because they were accused of resistance activities during the Nazi occupation. The first to arrive were 361 Jews from Amsterdam who had been transferred from Buchenwald to Mauthausen after it became a Class III camp in 1941. These Dutch Jews were from the group of 425 young men who had been arrested in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam in reprisal for what the Nazis considered an act of resistance on February 19, 1941 when German occupation soldiers were sprayed with ammonia in a tavern, which was run by Ernst Cahn, a Jewish refugee from Germany. In his book entitled Holocaust, Martin Gilbert claimed that the alleged attack was accidental.

In June 1941, there had been more arrests of Jews in Amsterdam after an explosion, caused by the Dutch Resistance, in a villa where German Army officers were living.

Here is another quote from the “Inconvenient History” blog:

The reality behind this allegation is described by Raul Hilberg as follows: In early February 1941 German Security Police men were attacked by Jewish members of the resistance. On 25 February the Higher SS and Police Leader Rauter proclaimed that 400 Jews in the age group 20-35 had been sent to a German concentration camp. A total of 389 youths were in fact sent to Buchenwald, where a tenth of them perished in the next months. The survivors were sent on to Mauthausen. In June another 291 Amsterdam Jews were sent there directly. The Dutch Jews in Mauthausen were set to carry out heavy work in a stone quarry, and many who did not perish from exhaustion or illness reportedly committed suicide. Following concentration camp routine, the Mauthausen command sent death notices to the families of the deceased.[8] No Holocaust historian has ever asserted that the Dutch Jews deported to Mauthausen in 1941, or even part of them, were killed with poison gas. According to the foremost defender of the Mauthausen gas chamber legend, Hans Marsalek, the alleged homicidal gas chamber of that camp was not put in operation before May 1942, and of the either 526 or 726 victims supposedly gassed (on a total of five occasions) up until 9 September 1944, all were either Soviet, Czech or Polish citizens.[9] Thus none of the approximately 640 Dutch Jews sent to Mauthausen in 1941 could have been gassed there, even from an exterminationist viewpoint.

Note that this quote from Raul Hilberg mentions that the Dutch Jews, who were sent to work in the quarry at Mauthausen, “committed suicide.”  This contradicts one of the favorite atrocity stories about Mauthausen, which is that the Dutch Jews were forced to jump off a cliff by the German guards, who jokingly called this “parachuting.”

Robert Abzug wrote about this allegation in his book entitled Inside the Vicious Heart. According to Abzug, hundreds of Dutch Jews were forced to jump to their deaths from the high cliff overlooking the quarry floor.

However, Martin Gilbert wrote the following in his book Holocaust:

On the third day after the arrival of the Dutch deportees at Mauthausen, the camp guards began machine-gunning the climbers on the steps. On the fourth day, some ten young Jews linked hands and jumped to voluntary death.

The ledge from which Dutch Jews jumped at Mauthausen

Note the pool of water below the cliff.  One of the stories is that some of the Dutch Jews survived and were forced by the German guards to jump off the cliff again.

So were the Dutch Jews pushed, or did they jump off the cliff to commit suicide?  If you live in the Netherlands, it would be better to go with the story that the Jews were pushed off the cliff.  The Jews in the Netherlands are cracking down on Holocaust denial, according to this news story.

5 Comments

  1. Thank you for this information…
    Nancy G.

    Comment by Nancy L. Gould — June 14, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

  2. “So were the Dutch Jews pushed, or did they jump off the cliff to commit suicide? If you live in the Netherlands, it would be better to go with the story that the Jews were pushed off the cliff. The Jews in the Netherlands are cracking down on Holocaust denial, according to this news story.” Fundamentally, either way they were ‘forced’ to commit suicide. If they were ‘pushed’ it’s murder. If they were forced to review what was in store for them (torture, gassing, experimentation) and decided to throw themselves off the edge of a cliff because they couldn’t cope with what they knew the future held for them they commit ‘suicide’. There was no way out; you fought (mentally: I will survive) and lived until you were murdered or you took the easy way out and threw yourselves to the wolves anyway. You couldn’t win.

    “As I said, you couldn’t win. Lieutenant Taylor (survivor POW), testified about the treatment which he and other American POWs received at Mauthausen. The following quote is from the testimony of Lt. Taylor at the Nuremberg IMT:

    In October ’44, I was the first Allied officer to drop onto Austria. I was captured December 1st, by the Gestapo, severely beaten, ah, even though I was in uniform, severely beaten, and, and, considered as a non-prisoner of war. I was taken to Vienna prison where I was held for four months. When the Russians neared Vienna, I was taken to this Mauthausen concentration lager [camp], an extermination camp, the worst in Germany, where we have been starving and, and beaten and killed, ah, fortunately, my turn hadn’t come. Ah, two American officers at least have been executed here. Here is the insignia of one, a U.S. naval officer, and here is his dog tag. Here is the army officer, executed by gas in this lager [camp]. Ah…there were…

    [Question: “How many ways did they execute them?”]

    Five or six ways: by gas, by shooting, by beating, that is beating with clubs, ah, by exposure, that is standing out in the snow, naked, for 48 hours and having cold water put on them, thrown on them in the middle of winter, starvation, dogs, and pushing over a hundred-foot cliff.”

    The Jewish population were dealt with as sub-humans and therefore weren’t given the ‘courtesy’ of ‘choice’. They were just dealt with according to their sub-human status within the Third Reich. William Shirer was an American Journalist in Berlin when Hitler came to power. He witnessed sophisticated Berliners turning into Berliners who couldn’t think for themselves when Hitler came into power; predominantly due to the fact that there was no free press, no freedom of speech. In the words of Goering when he went to trial, and tried to belittle the prosecuting judges, the camps were ‘originally’ set up for ALL OPPONENTS OF THE THIRD REICH. All camps, no matter what way you look at this, were labour and death camps.

    Comment by mogseyward — August 31, 2012 @ 5:37 am

  3. Thomas Mann used to be one of my favorite writers. I used to read and reread his books numerous times. He was one of the geniuses of World Literature, equal to Shakespeare, Goethe. Tolstoy, and a very few others.
    Does it make him a visionary of World Affairs, or politics? Absolutely no! Did he know anything about NS Germany concentration camps system? The answer is: most likely, no.
    Thomas Mann’s books were written for “thinkers”, for “the elite”. (I am not a part of the elite, for Christ sake, but still have my brains, thus I am a “thinker”)
    And he was one of the “elite” people. He has received his Nobel price in 1929, at the time of worst economic crises. That means, financially, he was doing well at the worst time in German economic history.
    His literature language is brilliant and cannot possibly lost in any translations.
    But, let us look at the content of his writings.
    1912 Death in Venice (Der Tod in Venedig), is a description of clear pedophile-homosexual dreams.
    1905 The Blood of the Walsungs (“Wälsungenblut”),. This one describes sexual relationship between two identical twins (male-female) in their thirties. And the girl was about too marry someone else.
    Me thinks: The National Socialists of Germany didn’t like the morale of those books, regardless of their literature value. Would you suggest your children to read the “The Blood of Walsungs”?
    I did not know that he has participated in the war propaganda broadcasts. This would make him a comedian.
    He did not know, what he was taking about and his writing skills did not help.
    This makes him a comedian for the “the Allied Forces”.

    Comment by Gasan — March 18, 2011 @ 9:12 pm


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