Scrapbookpages Blog

April 19, 2011

Yanina Cywinska: “Eat your heart out Hitler, I made it”

The title of my blog post today is a line spoken by Yanina Cywinska in a video which was shown recently on a TV program.

Yanina Cywinska is an 82-year-old woman, now living in Concord, CA, whose Holocaust survivor story is in a book called The Sugar Plum Fairy Nut. In the book, we learn that she survived the gas chamber at Auschwitz. She lived in the Auschwitz camp for four more years before being sent on a death march to Dachau where she was liberated by Japanese soldiers in the 552nd Field Artillery Battalion.  You can read about the 552nd on my web site here.

Yanina Cywinska was just 11 years old when she arrived at Auschwitz, where children under the age of 15 were sent immediately to the gas chamber. She was actually inside the gas chamber and the people around her were dying, but she survived because the gas was carbon monoxide. According to her story, the Nazis had not yet started using Zyklon-B at Auschwitz.  A woman prisoner pulled her out of the pile of bodies and sneaked her into a work group.  In the video, she mentions that a Nazi was standing in the corner of the gas chamber, watching the people die.

The title of Yanina Cywinska’s book is a reference to the name that the other prisoners at Auschwitz called her: “the Sugar Plum Nut.”  The women at Auschwitz thought that Yanina was a “nut” because she dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer and dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy ballerina in the Nutcracker.  As it turned out, she made it, so eat your heart out, Hitler.

Yanina had already had three years of ballet training before she was sent to Auschwitz in 1941, and as luck would have it, her ballet teacher was living in Paris after the war.  Yanina was just 15 when she was liberated from Dachau.  She made her way to Paris, where she moved in with her ballet teacher and resumed her training.

In the video, Yanina says that the Nazis were trying to kill as many people as possible to eliminate witnesses, and just before soldiers arrived to free the inmates at Dachau, the prisoners “were lined up to be shot.”  But before the Nazis could shoot all the prisoners, the Japanese soldiers in the 552nd Field Artillery arrived in the nick of time.

Here is a quote from the web site of Mike Carroll, where you can read the story of Yanina and watch the video:

She had been born in Poland and raised in Warsaw. Her father was a doctor. After Germany invaded and they were living in occupation, her father was summoned to treat a high-ranking German officer inside the Warsaw Ghetto, where 500,000 Jews were barricaded in an area of only several city blocks. He was so appalled by the living conditions that he began smuggling food into the starving inhabitants. He was caught and he and his wife and children were loaded into railroad boxcars, along with the Jews from the Ghetto, and sent into the countryside.

When the train stopped and the people were herded out they were in a barbed wire prison. They were sent to get showered so they could begin to work. The doors to the shower chamber were closed, then the gas began to come out of the vents. When Yanina awoke she was lying among a pile of corpses, among them her family. Amazingly, she was still alive. A Jewish woman worker shook her to her feet and pressed her to work in one of the working gangs.

You can read about the Warsaw Ghetto on my web site here.  You can read here about the Jews being sent from the Warsaw Ghetto to be gassed with carbon monoxide.  The video about Yanina shows a photo of the Auschwitz gas chamber; you can see photos of the Auschwitz gas chamber on my web site here.

P.S. Yanina’s book is available on  I buy lots of books on Amazon and I always get suggestions for other books that I might like.  The suggested books are listed as books purchased by other customers who have bought this book.  I have some suggestions for people who buy Yanina’s book:  Dennis Avey’s book and Irene Zisblatt’s book.  BTW Yanina’s book has the “Search Inside” feature on Amazon.

I used the “Search Inside” feature on the Amazon web site and read a few pages of Yanina Cywinska’s book.  I discovered that the book was first published on January 7, 2008.  It was not written in the first person, so the real author is apparently a ghost writer.

I have hope that some day there will be a law against Holocaust lying, and Yanina will be carried into a courtroom on a stretcher to be prosecuted for her lies.  I am assuming that the ghost writer just wrote down the lies, as told to her by Yanina.  But the ghost writer should also be prosecuted as an accessory to the crime of Holocaust lying.  Just reading a few pages of this book made me extremely angry and upset.  I wish I had not turned on my computer today.


  1. i visited Auschwitz in july of this year, a very moving experience, :are all these stories true: i dont know, but i do know that what happened there was a terrible thing. If you belive these stories or not it does’nt change what happened, after hours of reading and research i have closed the chapter on this very sad period in history when humanbeings reached the lowest ebb of humanity.

    Comment by mark loxley — December 5, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    • Have you ever visited the prisons in the UK where “enemies of the state” were held during World War II? The British didn’t have internment camps; their prisons were worse than the internment camps in the U.S.

      This quote is from Wikipedia:
      Begin Quote
      A total of 11,507 Germans and German-Americans were interned during the war, accounting for 36% of the total internments under the Justice Department’s Enemy Alien Control Program, but far less than the 110,000 Japanese-Americans interned.[25] Such internments began with the detention of 1,260 Germans shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.[26] Of the 254 persons evicted from coastal areas, the majority were German.[27]

      In addition, over 4,500 ethnic Germans were brought to the U.S. from Latin America and similarly detained. The Federal Bureau of Investigation drafted a list of Germans in fifteen Latin American countries whom it suspected of subversive activities and, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, demanded their eviction to the U.S. for detention.[28] The countries that responded expelled 4,058 people.[29] Some 10% to 15% were Nazi party members, including approximately a dozen who were recruiters for the NSDAP/AO, roughly the overseas arm of the Nazi party. Just eight were people suspected of espionage.[30] Also transferred were some 81 Jewish Germans who had recently fled persecution in Nazi Germany.[30] The bulk of those transferred from Latin America to the U.S. were not objects of suspicion. Many had been residents of Latin America for years, some for decades.[30] In some instances, corrupt Latin American officials took the opportunity to seize their property. Sometimes financial rewards paid by American intelligence led to someone’s identification and expulsion.[30] Several countries did not participate in the program, while others operated their own detention facilities.[30][31]
      End Quote

      AFAIK, there are no organized tours of the internment camps in the U.S. I am not sure if the internment camps for German-Americans are still in existence. Maybe some of the prison cells in the UK have been preserved. Life in these cells was much worse than life in Auschwitz.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 6, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  2. I know of Yanina’s story; that she survived psychologically and physically is a miracle; that she achieved her dream and went onto teach is more than a miracle ….” that Hitler and all associated bigots”.

    Prove the lies bigots.

    Comment by mogseyward — December 5, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    • You should have written “Prove that Yanina was lying, bigots.” What you wrote assumes that she told “lies” and you want the “bigots” to prove the lies. I don’t know of any way to prove that there were 10 year old female children working as Sonderkommandos in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 5, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  3. […] I previously blogged about Yanina Cywinska here. […]

    Pingback by Yanina Cywinska gets a standing ovation after she tells how she survived the gas chamber at Auschwitz « Scrapbookpages Blog — December 5, 2012 @ 8:18 am

  4. Yanina Cywinska was my ballet instructor as well for approximately 11 years. I don’t know a whole lot of facts and specifics about the Holocaust, and I don’t know if Yanina twisted the truth about things, but I do know that she is a survivor of the Holocaust. She went through losing her family at a very young age, and she suffered through the horrific terms of the concentration camps. Through it all she remained hopeful and she pursued her dream of dancing as the “Sugar Plum Fairy” in the Nutcracker, as well as pursuing her dream of being a ballet instructor; teaching others (like myself) the grace, poise, beauty, and feeling of libertaion that comes with dancing. When it seemed that all hope was gone, Yanina still believed, and she went on to prove to people that having a dream can take you extremely far. She represents liberty, beauty, hope, purpose, , and the list goes on. I understand that people are going to believe whatever they want to believe, But what it comes down to, is that Yanina is an amazing person that many people should aspire to be like. Some people are thinking way too much into this, and should be a little more empathetic to the fact that Yanina is probably traumatized by her past; so there’s going to be some slip-ups. And if Yanina’s story makes some readers so angry and irritated to the point that they feel that Yanina should be “carried into a courtroom on a stretcher to be prosecuted for her lies”, then that person has issues. Hasn’t Yanina suffered enough? If you already have your mind made up about what the Holocaust was, and you have beliefs, and know the “facts” about the Holocaust, then don’t get so worked up about someone elses opinion or about what they say to be true. The Holocaust is definitely an essential part of our world history, and with the years passing by, there won’t be anymore Holocaust survivors to tell their stories, and we’ll have to rely on our history books to speak the truth.

    *And no she was not Jewish. She is Polish. Not all people in the Holocaust were Jewish.

    Comment by Lynne — January 27, 2012 @ 1:42 am

    • I concur,very well-founded response.

      Comment by steve — February 9, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  5. Yanina was my ballet teacher for over 10 years. I have no doubt as to her numbered tattoo and her tortured childhood, but it was a challenge to believe her. Stories always seemed enhanced and dramatized, with little sense of realism or strength of character in which she tries so desperately to convey. It’s tragic to know that there is some truth to her story, and it is lost in her craziness.

    Comment by mom2littlefoot — July 18, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

  6. Well, it is just like I said:

    ALL “I-survived-a-nazi-death-extermination-camp”-fairytales are just that — fairytales, lies, storys & fantasies!!!

    Comment by Königsberg — April 21, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    • It took me awhile to think of a nazi-death-camp-survivor who wrote a book and told the truth. Paul Rassinier was a survivor of Buchenwald who wrote a book about the camp. I’m not sure, but I don’t think his book is still in print. His book started what is now known as “Holocaust denial.” Survivors write books to make money. A truthful book about the camps will not sell. There are so many survivor books on the market that survivors must tell lies in order to get noticed.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 21, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    • Kiss my ass, you bigot, black-hearted monster. I have seen Dachau and talked to holocaust survivors. It is idiots like you and the rest of your hate filled -non believers who will be punished in the long run. Yanina was my child’s ballet teacher 25 years ago. She is real and people like you just can’t face the truth. So go away and rot in your own filthy mind.

      Comment by kathy braswell — May 31, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  7. Some interesting comments here:

    “There were gaps in her time line that did not fit with her age, the tattoo on her arm had numbers only, no letter at the beginning as was the “custom” when tattooing, and many other issues.”

    “Cywinska has testified that she witnessed the parents of Jewish children murder their offspring in cold-blood so to prevent the Nazis from murdering the children in cold-blood”

    She apparently even had a completely different version of the story she was telling. Yet it’s all supposed to be true because she wrote a book! Do people even think anymore?

    Comment by Kageki — April 20, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    • No, she got the tattoo numbers right. The numbers preceeded by a letter did not start until the Hungarian Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Before that, there were no letters, just numbers.

      In the second link, I read this: “It was not a shower, it was gas,” she said. “And the Nazis watched through a window.”

      She identified the camp as the Auschwitz main camp because she mentioned the Arbeit Macht Frei gate. But there was no window in the Auschwitz main camp gas chamber. Not even a peep hole. The door with the peephole was added when the gas chamber was converted into a bomb shelter; it was not there when the room was a gas chamber. There was a glass window in the Sachsenhausen gas chamber and the Majdanek gas chamber, but not at Auschwitz.

      She tried to include every atrocity in her story. For example, the objects made from human skin and the soap made from Jewish bones. Soap is made with ashes, not bones. She mentioned the experiments at Dachau and the Japanese soldiers who liberated Dachau. There were no Japanese-American soldiers at the liberation of the main Dachau camp. She made a big mistake in trying to include everything in her story. She even claimed that she worked as a Sonderkommando, removing the bodies from the gas chambers and taking them to the ovens. There were no female Sonderkommandos.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 20, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

  8. “Apparently, she is not Jewish.”
    Ok, so she was NOT jewish….
    So what was she — a natural blonde blue eyed young girl — doing in a “nazi deathcamp”!??!

    Something is very fishy about the whole story — as ALL “I-survived-a-nazi-death-camp”-fairytales are….

    Comment by Königsberg — April 20, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    • Her father was a doctor who was allegedly arrested because he sneaked food into the Warsaw ghetto to help the Jews. This is a hint that he was in the Polish resistance. Her family was sent to Auschwitz in late 1940 or in 1941. This was before the Jews were sent to camps in 1942. No one except Soviet POWs were sent to Birkenau until 1942, so this means that she was in the Auschwitz main camp, at least at first. The first prisoners at the Auschwitz main camp were Polish political prisoners who were arrested because they were fighting with the Polish resistance. Of course, the entire story could have been made up.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 20, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  9. I’ve been wondering if there are laws against lying like this. Do they just get away saying it’s fiction instead of non-fiction?

    Comment by Kageki — April 19, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

    • This book is supposed to be a true story. There is no law in any country, as far as I know, that makes it a crime to lie in a memoir or a Holocaust survivor book.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 19, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

      • What was Zundel’s “false news” trial about over his book?

        Comment by Kageki — April 19, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

        • There was no law against Holocaust denial in Canada, where Ernst Zundel lived. So he was put on trial for breaking an old law against SPREADING false news. He had spread false news by selling a book on his website. The book was entitled Did Six Million Really Die? Zundel did not write this book and his web site was hosted by a company in America where we still have freedom of speech. The web site was maintained by Zundel’s wife who is an American citizen.

          You can read about the book on Zundel’s web site:

          Comment by furtherglory — April 20, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  10. Gee, All them ”chosen ones” — they truly are The Masters Of Lying and Deception!
    They’ve got to have it in their DNA….

    Comment by Königsberg — April 19, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

    • Yanina claims to be a Catholic; the book describes her as a natural blonde with blue eyes. Apparently, she is not Jewish. Now Catholics are getting in on the act.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 19, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  11. So, at the beginning before German engineers (with their advanced swept wing jet and Zeiss lens technology) switched to Zyklon B they pumped carbon monoxide out of shower heads at Auschwitz? Who writes the scripts for all these survivors who were never able to speak about their experiences until now? There must be a new software program, or a correspondence school that teaches comfortable Hungarian and Polish-American seniors how to tell Holocaust howlers.

    Comment by who+dares+wings — April 19, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    • The lies in this book are worse than that. I’m off to the movies now to try to calm down from reading a few pages of the book on

      Comment by furtherglory — April 19, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

      • excuse me but i personally know yanina she was my ballet instructor she has personally talked to me about her story and she is not a liar!!!! She is a very wonderful instructor and person and i think you should not speak on things you do not know for her story is fact believe that!!!!!


        Comment by jamie — March 13, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

        • oh yea and to add to my message i have also seen the branded ( tatood) numbers on her arm she is ballet this is her life she made good money from this she does not need to make money off of lies!!!

          Comment by jamie — March 13, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

  12. Japanese soilders in Europe? Something amiss there….

    Comment by Clayton — April 19, 2011 @ 9:52 am

    • These were Japanese-American soldiers.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 19, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    • I read a few pages of the book and learned that Yanina was in line for the gas chamber at Dachau on the day before the camp was liberated. The Nazis were trying to kill all the prisoners at Dachau so as to not leave any witnesses. An SS guard pulled her out of the line and took her to the execution wall where he blindfolded her and was preparing to shoot her when a Japanese soldier arrived and saved her. This soldier, who was Japanese-American, knelt down before her and bowed.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 19, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: