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August 31, 2011

My review of The Debt, the movie about the “surgeon of Birkenau”

I previously blogged about the movie entitled The Debt and wrote (facetiously) that it will win Academy Awards because it is a Holocaust movie.  After seeing the movie today, I think that it will be nominated for several Academy awards — because it is a great movie.  This film is a remake of a 2007 Israeli film, also named The Debt.

I was not expecting to like this movie, but after seeing it, I am giving it high praise.  It is being advertised as a “spy thriller” but it is much more than that.  The story line is about Truth and whether telling lies can sometimes be justified.

Some memorable lines in the movie are

“We have to lie.”  “The Truth stays in this room.”  “Truth is a luxury.”

And regarding the necessity to lie: “The important thing is Justice.”

I doubt that this movie will win the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year because the story line is hard to follow, unless you have some advance knowledge of the plot.  If you prefer to see movies without any idea of what the plot is about, don’t read any further.

CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD

The movie starts in the year 1997 with an event in Tel Aviv, Israel honoring Sarah Gold, the daughter of a Mossad operative, who has just published a book about the exploits of her mother who participated in the capture of a German war criminal named Dieter Vogel in Berlin in 1965. The author of the book begins to read a passage from the book about how her mother, Rachel Singer, shot Dieter Vogel when he attempted to escape, on New Year’s Eve, from the apartment where he was being held. As she reads, the movie switches to a flashback about the events that happened in Berlin in 1965.

Rachel Singer is played by Helen Mirren in the 1997 scenes.  In earlier scenes, taking place in the Eastern section of Berlin in 1965, Rachel Singer is played by Jessica Chastain who is sensitive and charming in contrast to her older self, as played by Helen Mirren.  (Helen Mirren will definitely be nominated for an Academy Award and will probably win.)  Other critics have pointed out that the younger Rachel and the older Rachel do not seem to be the same person.  But the sensitive Rachel is a big factor in the plot, so I think that the contrast is deliberate.

The fictional German war criminal Dieter Vogel is called “the surgeon of Birkenau” in the film; there are many indications that his character is based on the real life Dr. Josef Mengele, just as I suspected when I wrote two earlier posts about The Debt.  In the movie, one of the crimes of Dieter Vogel is claimed to be experiments, done on changing the color of eyes, which caused many “blind children.”  This definitely identifies him as Dr. Josef Mengele who allegedly conducted experiments to change brown eyes to blue at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

I give the makers of this movie extra points for not using the name Mengele and for using an innocuous name like Dieter Vogel instead.  I also give the actors good marks for speaking German in a way that Americans can understand if they have had a class in German.  I could easily follow the German dialogue without looking at the translation at the bottom of the screen.  To their credit, the characters pronounce the word Birkenau correctly.

In the first flashback, Dieter Vogel is a prisoner in an apartment in Berlin in 1965.  The three Mossad agents who have captured him are taking turns guarding him, while he is bound and his mouth is taped shut.  Vogel gets loose and all of a sudden he comes up behind Rachel, attacks her and slashes her in the face, leaving a huge scar which she carries for the rest of her life.  She grabs a pistol on the floor and crawls to the head of the stairs where she kills Dieter Vogel with one shot in the back.  What a brave woman! Who would have thought that a sensitive woman like the young Rachel could kill a man!

But did an Israeli Mossad operative really kill a man without giving him the benefit of a trial to determine if he had really killed thousands of Jews?  No, of course not. The movie makes a big point of telling the audience that the plan was to capture Vogel and take him to Israel where he would stand trial.  In real life, Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped and taken to Israel for trial. That was also the plan for Dieter Vogel. One of the two male Mossad agents in the movie says something about wanting the world “to know the truth” and that is why they were planning to take him to Israel for trial.

In later scenes, we learn why Dieter Vogel was being held as a prisoner in the apartment in Berlin.  It is because the plan, to sneak him out of East Berlin and take him to Israel for trial, was a failure.  Now he is in the apartment and he has to be taken care of, while the 3 Mossad agents try to figure out what to do with him. One of the agents says something about the need to put him on trial “to show the world what he did.”

Later, the same scene, in which Vogel is killed while attempting to escape, is played again.  The audience is waiting for the shot in the back, but this time Vogel makes it safely out the door and escapes.  This creates a big dilemma.  What to do?  Should the Mossad agents admit that Vogel is still on the loose, or should they lie and say that he was shot while attempting to escape?

“Nobody needs to know.”  “No one will ever find him again.”  “We have to lie.”  “It makes no difference (whether he escaped or was shot.) “The truth stays in this room.”

Then in 1997, shortly after Sarah Gold’s book comes out, an old man in a nursing home in Ukraine, who is near death, claims that he is Dieter Vogel.  If this story gets in the papers, it will destroy Sarah Gold, who has just written a book about her mother shooting Dieter Vogel in the back in 1965.  Someone must now track Vogel down and kill him before the story gets in the newspapers. A journalist is already hot on the trail.

Rachel has been taking credit for killing Vogel for 30 years.  She is the one who must now actually kill him. She owes “The Debt” because she took credit for something that she didn’t do.  Now she must pay that Debt by killing Dieter Vogel. The older Rachel is up to the task, unlike the younger Rachel, who wimped out.

Will Rachel find Vogel in time and kill him before the story hits the papers?  Or is the old man in the nursing home, who claims to be Vogel, just some old man who has lost his mind?

You will have to see the movie to find out how it ends.

P.S. Very early in the movie, a number of photographs are shown.  I recognized one of them as the photo shown below.

Left to right: Kaltenbrunner, Ziereis, Himmler, Karl Chielewski

The photo above was taken outside the Mauthausen camp, and it has nothing to do with the “surgeon of Birkenau.”  Other than this, I did not notice anything else that was out of place in the movie.  Everything is authentic, as far as I could tell.  Even the refrigerator in the Berlin apartment, which is a very small size, just like I remember Germany in those days.

Update Sept. 3, 2011 

I have just seen the original version of The Debt, which was made in Israel in 2007; it was on TV.  The original movie has some good points, but it is clearly a movie that would not have appealed to American audiences.  The original movie shows the hatred of the Jews for the Germans, and vice-versa, in a way that the new version does not.

In the original film, the characters speak Hebrew when they are speaking to each other in Berlin, but in the new film, they speak German.  There is a scene in the original version where Dr. Vogel begs one of the Mossad agents to kill him.  The Mossad agent then describes in great detail how Dr. Vogel will be put on trial in Israel. He will be put into a bullet proof glass cage during the trial, and no matter what he says in his defense, he will be convicted and hanged.  In other words, they are planning a repeat of the trial of Adolf Eichmann.

In the original version, the train scene where the plan to sneak the doctor out of East Berlin fails, is not included. The 2007 Israeli version is not as dramatic, but in a way, it is better because it is more emotional and not as glitzy as the new version.  One of the memorable lines in the 2007 version is “The truth is anything we want it to be.”

The photo below was shown in the 2007 version. In the movie, this is supposed to be a photo of the children upon whom the “surgeon of Birkenau” experimented.

Still shot from Soviet film after the liberation of Birkenau

When I visited Auschwitz, I learned that this photo was from a film made by the Soviet liberators of Auschwitz and it actually shows Gypsy children, suffering from an illness called Noma, who were in the camp hospital when Auschwitz was liberated.

Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Hoess wrote in his autobiography, published under the title Death Dealer, that many of the Gypsy children suffered from an illness called “Noma,” which reminded him of leprosy.  These children were being treated for Noma in the camp hospital.  When Dr. Mengele first came to Birkenau, he was assigned to be the doctor for the Gypsy prisoners.


August 30, 2011

989th Artillery Battalion “blew the doors to smithereens” at Dachau

Filed under: Dachau, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 5:31 pm

The following story is from an article, written by Shirley Welsh in the Vail Daily News, on June 7, 2007.  The title of the article is “Have you ever heard of Dachau?”  I found this old article when I was going through my files today, weeding out old documents.  This is the story told by Frank Doll, an American soldier, who was with the 989th Artillery Battalion.

Quote from the article by Shirley Welsh:

“Have you heard of Dachau?” (Asked the Colonel)

“No, sir,” Frank replied.

“It’s a concentration camp. The Nazis have been moving a lot of prisoners there from the other camps to Dachau. The 42nd is going to take the camp, but they need artillery for support.”   (more…)

August 29, 2011

The “common design” theory of guilt, used by the Allies after WWII

When World War II came to an end in May 1945, the Allies were faced with the legal problem of how to punish the German war criminals.  At that time, there was no German law, nor any International law, that covered such crimes as the genocide of the Jews, nor the atrocities committed by the Germans in the concentration camps. New laws had to be made after the fact.

Col. Robert Jackson, the chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg IMT, said in his opening address: “Hence I am not disturbed by the lack of precedent for the inquiry we propose to conduct.”  He meant that he was not concerned about the creation of new laws, called ex post facto laws, which were used in the proceedings of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal. Ex post facto laws were also used by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, which prosecuted people who had been associated with the concentration camps that had been liberated by American soldiers.

The new law that was created, based on the concept of co-responsibility for the crimes that had been committed by others, was called “common design” or “common plan” by the Allies.

According to Robert E. Conot in his book Justice at Nuremberg, the idea of a “common design” was the brainchild of Lt. Col. Murray C. Bernays, a Lithuanian Jew who had emigrated with his family to America in 1900 at the age of six. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., a Jew who was the Secretary of the Treasury and one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s top advisers, had proposed that the German war criminals should be charged and then executed without a trial. But Bernays said, “Not to try these beasts would be to miss the educational and therapeutic opportunity of our generation. They must be tried not alone for their specific aims, but for the bestiality from which these crimes sprang.”

Under the “common plan” concept, organizations as well as individuals could be charged with war crimes and membership in an organization was enough to convict an individual of a war crime, whether or not that person committed any criminal acts himself.

For the American Military Tribunal proceedings at Dachau, the “common design” or “common plan” theory meant that individuals were guilty of crimes committed by others on the staff of a concentration camp even if they didn’t serve at the same time. It didn’t matter whether or not the crimes allegedly committed by others in a particular concentration camp had ever been proved in a court of law or by a military tribunal; staff members of that camp were presumed to be guilty of these crimes, and there was no defense against the new law of “common design.”

This new concept of collective guilt was formulated by the Allies in order to see that justice was done. The legal basis for the proceedings of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau was that the German war criminals had participated in a “common design” to commit war crimes. The prosecution had only to prove that the accused had participated in a common plan by virtue of his position on the staff of a concentration camp, whether or not he had personally committed any atrocities.

The accused in the “Dachau trials” were not charged with committing any specific crime, but rather with aiding and abetting the commission of crimes in the concentration camp system which was designated by the Allies to be a criminal enterprise.

The basis for the “common design” theory of guilt was Article II, paragraph 2 of Law Order No. 10, passed by the Allies, which stated as follows:

2. Any person without regard to nationality or the capacity in which he acted, is deemed to have committed a crime as defined in paragraph 1 of this Article, if he was (a) a principal or (b) was an accessory to the commission of any such crime or ordered or abetted the same or (c) took a consenting part therein or (d) was connected with plans or enterprises involving its commission or (e) was a member of any organization or group connected with the commission of any such crime or (f) with reference to paragraph 1 (a), if he held a high political, civil or military (including General Staff) position in Germany or in one of its Allies, co-belligerents or satellites or held high position in the financial, industrial or economic life of any such country.

Crimes against Humanity was another new concept which did not exist before the proceedings of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal began. This new law, which was one of the four categories of crimes described by Allied Control Council Law No. 10, was enacted after the end of World War II. It covered brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities and other inhumane acts, including the murder of six million Jews in the Nazi camps.

Some of the top-level war criminals at the Nuremberg IMT were charged with Crimes against Humanity, but this charge was not used in the proceedings against the staff members of the Dachau concentration camp who were tried by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau. Crimes against Humanity included crimes against anyone of any nationality.  The American Military Tribunal prosecuted only crimes against citizens of the Allied countries and the names of the prisoners who were killed in the Dachau gas chamber were unknown.

These quotes are from the Nuremberg Principles, which you can read in full here.

Principle I. Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.  […]
Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

The charges at the American Military Tribunal at Dachau were “Participating in a common design to Violate the Laws and Usages of War, according to the Geneva Convention of 1929 and the Hague Convention of 1907.”

The Soviet Union had not signed the Third Geneva Convention of 1929, which was the rules of warfare pertaining to Prisoners of War. The Soviet Union did not treat German POWs according to the rules of the convention, neither during nor after the war. Germany had signed the Geneva Convention and charges were brought against the German war criminals at Dachau for violations of this convention with respect to Soviet POWs who were Communist Commissars.

The Geneva Convention specifically stated that after a country had formally surrendered, it was a breach of the convention to once again take up arms. The Allied powers encouraged resistance movements in all the German-occupied countries. Captured resistance fighters were sent to concentration camps, rather than to a POW camp.

During the Dachau proceedings, concentration camp personnel were charged with crimes against the Laws and Usages of War, according to the Geneva Convention of 1929, for ill treatment of captured resistance fighters, even though the resistance fighters did not have the protection of the Geneva Convention and they had been incarcerated for a violation of the Geneva Convention themselves.

In March 1945, on the written order of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, captured German POWs were designated as Disarmed Enemy Forces so that they would not have to be treated according to the Geneva convention. There were 1.7 million German soldiers who surrendered to Eisenhower’s Army; their families claimed that they never returned home. They are presumed to have died in “Eisenhower’s death camps.”

It was not until 1948 that the newly-created United Nations announced a law against genocide. With no existing laws in place, the Allies had created new international laws.  Let’s hope that America will never lose a war and have to answer for crimes committed under laws that do not yet exist.

August 27, 2011

What’s in a name? Auschwitz and Birkenau

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:08 am

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    —William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Today, I read this in a travel blog:

Auschwitz and Birkenau had lovey Polish names originally as they were rural villages, when the Germans came they sent most of the Polish inhabitants to work camps away from here or they interred them as they didn’t want word to leak out about what they were doing. They changed the village names to the similar sounding but German language place names of Auschwitz and Birkenau.

The town of Auschwitz, which was more than just a “rural village,” was originally founded by Germans in 1270, according to historian Robert Jan van Pelt; it is now known by its Polish name, Oswiecim. The original name of the town was Auschwitz and it was known by this name when the three Auschwitz camps were in operation; the Germans did not change the name of the town and they did not keep it a secret that they were turning the brick barracks, in a suburb of the town, into a concentration camp for political prisoners.  More than half of the inhabitants of the town of Auschwitz were Jews and the second most prevalent population in the town was the Gypsies.  The Polish inhabitants were not sent away by the Germans and they were not interred, a word which means to bury in a grave.

The town of Auschwitz in 1940

In the photo above, you can see the Duke’s castle on the left and the 17th century Catholic church on the right.  The bridge in the foreground goes over the Sola river. The town was separated from the main Auschwitz camp by this river.

When I visited the Birkenau camp in 2005, a display sign outside the gatehouse said that the villages of Brzezinka, Babice, Broszkowice, Rajsk, Plawy, Harmeze, and Brzeszcze-Budy were torn down to provide space for the Birkenau camp.  Google Translate gives the German translation of Brzezinka as Birkenau but I am not sure if these two words have the same meaning in German and English.

The Germans came up with the name Birkenau, as the name for the camp that they built on the grounds of the seven Polish villages, because of the birch trees at the western end of the camp.

Birch trees at the western end of Birkenau camp

In June 2007, the United Nations officially changed the collective name of the three Auschwitz camps to Auschwitz-Birkenau, German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945). This change was made at the request of the government of Poland so that people will know that Poland had nothing to do with setting up the camps or running them.  Now the town, formerly known as Auschwitz, is making a big push to have the town known only by its Polish name.

The Birkenau camp was opened on October 7, 1941 when the first transport of Soviet Prisoners of War, captured during the German invasion of the Soviet Union, arrived. Between October 1941 to February 1942, there were 13,775 POWs brought to Birkenau.

Beginning in February 1942, the Birkenau camp became a death camp for Jews. The camp covers 425 acres and it had 300 buildings before it was abandoned in January 1945. Today there are 45 brick buildings and 22 wooden buildings still standing at Birkenau.

A view of the vast 425-acre site of the former Birkenau camp

One might ask: ” Why so many barracks at Birkenau when it was a death camp where Jews were gassed immediately upon arrival?”  Good question!  I don’t know the answer.

A light on a fence post at the former Birkenau camp

Interior fence around the men’s camp at Birkenau

When the Birkenau camp was liberated by Soviet troops in January 1945, the camp was being expanded with a new section called “Mexico.”  The photo below shows where a building was being built in the Mexico section.

The Mexico section of Birkenau which was never completed

Strangely, the Germans were building additional barracks at Birkenau.  Shouldn’t they have been building more gas chambers?  Birkenau was a death camp, which had no factories in which the prisoners could have worked. Was there such a long wait for the gas chambers that they needed more barracks at Birkenau?

August 26, 2011

bashing the heads of babies and desecrating cemeteries, the two most frequent crimes of the Nazis (Updated)

Update April 21, 2015

Oskar Groening as a young man, and as he looks now

Oskar Groening as a young man, and as he looks now.  (Click on the photo to enlarge)

This quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/oskar-groning-trial-93yearold-auschwitz-guard-admits-he-was-morally-complicit-in-holocaust-crimes-10193173.html

Begin quote

A frail, white-haired former Nazi SS guard has described in harrowing detail how he watched one of his comrades batter to death the baby of a Jewish prisoner at the Auschwitz extermination camp and admitted that was “morally complicit” in the crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust.

93-year-old Oskar Gröning, who served in the SS at Auschwitz from 1942 until 1944, shook visibly as he told a court in the German city of Lüneburg how, shortly after he arrived at the Nazi death camp, he was dispatched to the so-called “ramp” where prisoners were selected either for work or immediate death in the gas chambers.

“There was a little baby left lying behind on the ramp, after the main group was marched away, and it was crying,” Gröning told the court, “I turned round and saw one of my comrades pick up the child. He grabbed it by the legs and smashed it again and again against the iron side of a truck until it was silent – when I saw that my world broke down,” he added.

End quote

Oskar Gröning will soon be put on trial under the “common plan” ex-post-facto law, which dictates that if any German person was anywhere near a Nazi camp, during the Holocaust, they are guilty of every crime ever committed at the camp, whether the crime has ever been proven or not.

Continue reading my original post:

If you’ve ever read anything about the Holocaust, or seen a movie based on the Holocaust, you know that every Holocaust survivor claims to have witnessed a German soldier kill a baby by bashing its head against a tree or the side of a train.  If you believe the stories of the survivors, this was the most universal atrocity committed by the Germans against the Jews, except for desecrating every Jewish cemetery in Poland.

In a recent news article, I read about a group of students, who will be the future military leaders of America. They visited the last remaining synagogue in the town of Auschwitz, then toured the main Auschwitz concentration camp, after which they did some work in a Jewish cemetery.

These quotes are from the news article which you can read here:

On their last day in Oswiecim [Auschwitz], the group worked in a Jewish cemetery. Although, no Holocaust victims are buried there, the Germans desecrated the cemetery that dates from the 18th century.

[…]

[a student] recalled the Auschwitz guide’s story about a German bashing an infant’s head against a concrete wall. “How can someone do that to a human being?” he asked.

Note that this story was told by an Auschwitz guide.  In the story, it was a concrete wall, not a tree or a train.  Could this be the story of Wilhelm Boger, who bashed the head of a young boy and then ate the apple that the boy was carrying?  I previously blogged about this story here.  Did the guide give the name of the basher so that the students could do some research and make up their own minds about the truth of the story?

There was a time when I believed the head bashing stories, but then I heard one too many account of a German soldier bashing the head of a baby. There was even a story of a head bashing at Treblinka where there was a fake train station built to calm the fears of the Jews.  Did it make any sense to kill a baby right in front of the Jews who were being told that they would be taking a shower before being transported to the East to work?  The German army was noted for having strict disciple — except for bashing babies, which was apparently allowed.

Now I am beginning to doubt the desecrating of Jewish cemeteries stories.  Especially when I read these two atrocities told in the same newspaper article.  Are the Jews over-playing their hand in telling these stories?  I say Enough Already!

I previously blogged about the stories of desecrating cemeteries here. Read all the way to the end of the blog post cited above and you will learn about the cemetery in Krakow which was allegedly desecrated by the Germans.

My question is: Why do American students have to go to Poland to learn about alleged German atrocities during World War II? Shouldn’t they be learning about American atrocities so that these crimes will not be repeated by Americans in the future?

August 24, 2011

Only the Germans were held accountable for violations of the Geneva Convention during World War II

When World War II ended in May 1945, German war criminals were put on trial by the Allies at the Nuremberg IMT and also in separate trials held by the American military, the British, the French and the Soviets.  There were no trials for any violations of the Geneva Convention committed by any of the Allied troops.

At the trials held by the American Military Tribunal on the grounds of the former Dachau concentration camp, the American lawyers for the defense and the American lawyers for the prosecution could not agree on the laws of the Geneva Convention of 1929.  The defense attorneys argued that the Germans were not responsible for any crimes committed against soldiers of the Soviet Union because the Soviets had not signed the convention and were not following it with regard to the Germans.   (more…)

August 23, 2011

the mystery of the small opening on the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber — Updated

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:34 am

Update, April 6, 2015:

You can read a recent news story about Henry Mazel, who had one of the first websites about the Holocaust. Mazel’s website, which is no longer in existence, was mainly about the Dachau concentration camp, but specifically about the Dachau gas chamber.

This quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

BOULDER, Colo. (JTA) — The yellowing document is crumbling and fading, but the smooth signature on its cover is as legible as it is chilling: Rudolf Hess, the Nazi who served as a Hitler deputy from 1933 to 1941.

The signature, which adorns a 70-year-old leniency plea for top Nazi Hermann Goering during the postwar Nuremberg trials, is one of some 500,000 discrete items and 20,000 books donated last year to the University of Colorado at Boulder — nearly the entirety of one of the world’s largest privately owned Holocaust collections. The unusual trove includes aerial surveillance photos of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, decaying copies of the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer, Nuremberg trial transcripts, and a trove of pro-Nazi and Holocaust denial literature.

“We don’t even know what we have,” said David Shneer, director of the Jewish Studies program at University of Colorado at Boulder and the person responsible for bringing the archive to the university. “We have teams of students inventorying it. We hope to get through everything by the fall.”

The unlikely story of how the archive, known as the Mazal Holocaust Collection, ended up in Boulder is a tale of Holocaust denial, a hidden Jewish past and the shady market for Holocaust artifacts.

End quote

Continue reading my original blog post:

Hole on outside wall of gas chamber at Dachau concentration camp

The photo above shows a boarded-up hole in the outside wall of the Baracke X building at the former Dachau concentration camp. There is no corresponding hole on the inside of the building; the room behind this wall was allegedly a homicidal gas chamber.  I always assumed that this was a botched construction of a peep hole.  Until now…

When I read in the news today about the death of Harry W. Mazal, I decided to take another look at his famous holocaust-history.org website.  The purpose of Mazal’s website, according to his daughter, is to combat Holocaust denial.  I had read the section on the Dachau gas chamber years ago when I first became interested in the Holocaust.  In reading this section again, I was particularly interested in his description of how a homicidal gassing was carried out at Dachau.

Two bins on outside wall of Dachau gas chamber

Quote from the gas chamber section on the holocaust-history.org website here:

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. Having done this, the operator would close the bins, which are protected from interference from the victims by a protective grating, <photo 40> <photo 41> and wait a few minutes until all the victims were dead. At this point, the powerful mechanical extractor could be energized sending the poisonous fumes into the atmosphere, drawing fresh air through a small hatchway located above the bins. The bodies could then be moved into the mortuary chamber to await incineration in the adjoining crematory furnaces.

I have put the most important part in bold face type to draw attention to it.  Now it all makes sense.  The hole in the wall was put there for the purpose of bringing fresh air into the room to air it out after the use of Zyklon-B to gas the prisoners.

Here is another quote from holocaust-history.org:

A larger room adjacent to the four disinfestation chambers is also a gas chamber but this one was designed specifically for homicidal purposes. Any doubts that this chamber is a gas chamber are rapidly dispelled upon viewing the exhaust vents on the ceiling of the room <photo 31>, the exhaust chimney on the roof <photo 32>, and the metal doors that are in use by the the disinfestation gas chambers <photo 33>.

Vent pipe on roof directly over the gas chamber

The photo above shows two “exhaust chimneys” on the roof of the Baracke X building, one of which is directly over the gas chamber. The photo below shows the roof of the building in 1945 just after the camp was liberated. Note that the larger pipe on the right is the same kind of pipe that is shown in the color photo, above the gas chamber.  I don’t know of any photo, taken before the liberation of Dachau, that shows a vent pipe directly over the alleged gas chamber. The photo below was taken several days after the camp was liberated.  In fact, there are no old photos of the gas chamber building that I have ever seen.

Dachau prisoners haul dead bodies out of the camp   Photo credit: Donald E. Jackson, 40th Combat Engineer Regiment

Look closely at the photo above: Is that the air intake hole on the far right of the photo?

The infamous Holocaust denier Fred Leuchter visited the Dachau Memorial site years ago and wrote the following in his report:

An examination of the alleged gas chamber clearly shows, however, that this facility was constructed as a shower room, used only for this purpose. The modifications to the room which include the addition of the ceiling, pseudo shower heads, air intake and gas inlet ports were made at a time much later than the original construction of “Baracke X” and the shower room, and for reasons and by persons unknown to this author.

Outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber

Note that Leuchter concluded that the air intake and gas inlet ports, shown in the photo above, were constructed sometime later. Leuchter wrote that the holes in the wall of the Baracke X building were added at a later time, after the building was constructed in 1943.  But what does he know?  He doesn’t have a degree in engineering and has been thoroughly discredited as a gas chamber expert.

This is another quote from the Leuchter report:

Without an exhaust system or windows, it would require at least one week to vent by convection. This estimate is based on American gas chambers requiring twenty (20) minutes to vent with two complete air changes per minute, and a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours to vent a fumigated building with an abundance of windows.

So Fred Leuchter thinks that the vent on the roof was NOT enough to air out the Dachau gas chamber. And he thinks that the vent was added later.

Here is another interesting quote from the holocaust-history.org web site:

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.

Did the manufacturer of Zyklon-B actually say how much of their “product” was needed to kill human beings?  Did they know that their “product” was being used in homicidal gas chambers?

The Degesch dispenser referred to above is shown in the photo below.  This photo was taken in one of the four gas chambers at Dachau that were used to kill lice in the clothing of the prisoners. Note that the walls of the disinfection chamber have been painted over so that the stains left by the use of Zyklon-B can no longer be seen.

Degesch dispenser in Dachau disinfection gas chamber

I learned from the Mazal website that Degesch machines were originally proposed for the Auschwitz camp, but the decision was made not to use them.

Shown below is a close-up of the hole which the Mazal web site says was for air intake into the gas chamber for the purpose of airing it out. Today, tour guides at Dachau completely ignore this boarded-up hole and do not explain its purpose.

“air intake” hole in outside wall of Dachau gas chamber

Tour guides at Dachau tell visitors that the gas chamber was used.  For example, this quote from a blog post written by a recent visitor:

Dachau Camp, as were all of the camps, was a hell on earth. The prisoners first lost their identity after coming through the gate, being tattooed with a number on their arm. They then had to sign over all their worldly goods to the Nazis. Their families were often held in other parts of the camp, so they didn’t dare disobey.
Dachau had it all. Medical experiments, torture, beatings, gas chambers, mass executions etc. In the inner part of the camp were the gas chambers which no one came out of alive. Even the prisoners who herded their fellow inmates into the “showers” were themselves changed over every few weeks and sent to the “showers” to prevent word leaking out as to what was happening in the inner compound.

Note that this quote mentions that “The prisoners first lost their identity after coming through the gate, being TATTOOED with a number on their arm.”

The only camp where prisoners were tattooed was Auschwitz.  After the Auschwitz camp was abandoned, some of the prisoners, who had been tattooed, were taken to Dachau.

August 22, 2011

Jews were sent to Dachau after Kristallnacht in 1938 and released weeks later

Filed under: Dachau, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:01 am

According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, which you can read here, there were 70,000 Jews rounded up on Kristallnacht, which was the night of Nov. 9th and 10th in 1938; the Jews were sent to concentration camps, including Dachau.  Kristallnacht is considered by the Jews to be the start of the Holocaust. Prior to that, there were no Jews sent to the concentration camps just because they were Jews, although Jews had been sent to the camps for other reasons.

Jewish men in Baden-Baden were arrested on Nov. 10, 1938

This travesty, which was named Kristallnacht by the Nazis, took place after a three-day death watch over Ernst vom Rath, a diplomat at the German embassy in Paris who was shot by Herschel Grynzspan, a 17-year old Polish Jew. Herschel had fled to Paris when the Nazis announced in October 1938 that all Polish Jews in Germany would be deported back to Poland. The Polish government had already torn up their passports when they evicted them earlier and they would not allow them back into the country. Grynzspan’s parents and sister were forced to live in a refugee camp on the border; his motive for killing vom Rath was to call the attention of the world to the plight of these stateless Jews.

The Dachau Museum puts the number of Jews that were sent to Dachau, following Kristallnacht, at exactly 10,911. According to the Museum, another 20,000 Jews were sent to Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen with 10,000 being sent to each of these camps.   (more…)

August 20, 2011

Real Holocaust deniers don’t use Facebook

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:29 am

I have heard so much about Holocaust denial now being allowed on Facebook that I finally decided to check it out.  This wordpress blog gives some links to the Facebook pages that are supposedly Holocaust denial.   I checked out some of the so-called Holocaust denial on Facebook and I did not see anything worth reading.  I don’t understand what the fuss is all about.  I am not on Facebook myself — I consider it to be a huge waste of time.

Nobody asked for my opinion, but I am going to give it anyway.  I think that putting Holocaust denial on Facebook trivializes Holocaust denial, or revisionism as most people prefer to call it.  I think that Facebook should NOT allow Holocaust denial.  Making Holocaust denial a part of social networking leads young people to believe that Holocaust denial is a joke and not a serious matter.

Check out a real Holocaust denial blog here.

August 19, 2011

Holocaust gas chambers were designed by the Topf und Söhne company…Who knew?

Filed under: Buchenwald, Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:36 am

I’ve never been to Israel so I’ve never seen the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum there.  Today I learned from this website that there is a “scale model of a gas chamber” in the museum.

This quote is from the web site which mentions the scale model at Yad Vashem:

There we saw a scale model of a gas chamber, and we learned that a company called Topf und Söhne was hired to design and build four gas chambers and a crematorium. In case anyone in the future wanted to perpetrate another genocide, they patented the design. The facility was capable of murdering 4,756 people in 24 hours – they guaranteed it in writing.

Wow! Talk about German engineering!  The Topf und Söhne (Topf and son) company guaranteed an exact number of Jews that could be killed in 24 hours! And they patented their design! Now we know how the Germans were able to dispose of 400,000 Hungarian Jews in only 10 weeks at Auschwitz-Birkenau, as claimed by Holocaust historians.

But wait a minute! Topf und Söhne guaranteed in writing that 4,756 people could be MURDERED in 24 hours, but how long did it take to burn the bodies of 4,756 people?  How many bodies could fit on the elevator that brought the bodies up from the underground gas chambers in Krema II and Krema III to the ovens on the ground floor?  Where did they store the bodies while they were waiting to burn them?  Surely not outside the gas chamber buildings because that would have immediately tipped off the victims that they were not going into a shower room.  There was no corpse storage room in Krema II, nor in Krema III, because the only rooms in these crematoria were the gas chambers and undressing rooms.

Logo of Topf und Söhne on Dachau oven

The photo above shows the Topf logo on the one oven (with two retorts) in the Old Crematorium at Dachau. The logo is on the lower left hand side in the photo below.

Oven in the Old Crematorium at Dachau

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