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October 20, 2011

The Nazi plan to blow up Jews in a cave in Austria….as told by Dario Gabbai

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 12:47 pm

This morning I was reading about Dario Gabbai, one of the surviving Sonderkommando Jews at Auschwitz, who was marched out of the camp in January 1945 and eventually ended up in a sub-camp of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.  Several years ago Gabbai gave a talk to students which you can read about here.

Gabbai was a Greek Jew who was transported on a train to Auschwitz-Birkenau in March 1944.  At Birkenau, he was assigned to the Sonderkommando squad which removed the bodies from the gas chambers and carried them to the ovens to be burned.  His suffering as a Sonderkommando ended in January 1945 when he was sent on a “death march” out of the Auschwitz camp to the German border and then taken by train to Austria, where he probably ended up at either the Gusen I or Gusen II sub-camp of Mauthausen.

This quote is from the article about Gabbai’s talk to the students:  (I have highlighted the important points in bold faced type.)

To try and hide the horrors of what they had done, the Germans tried to destroy any evidence.

Weighing 67 pounds and in weather 23 degrees below zero, Gabbai and the others were led on a walk to Austria. He claims he stayed alive by thinking of his town. The plan was to get them all into a cave and kill them in an explosion, but the Germans abandoned them in fear of being caught by the liberation troops.

Dario Gabbai is one of the Holocaust survivors who is featured in Steven Speilberg’s documentary “The Last Days.”

This quote (the words of Gabbai) is from the book entitled “The Last Days” which tells the stories of the survivors who are featured in the documentary film with the same name:

When the Red Army was approaching, the Germans marched us to Austria; of the thousands who were on the march, only a few hundred survived, including ninety-six Sonderkommando.  There was one good morning when we woke up to an unexpected silence — all the Germans had gone and the Americans came a few hours later.  That was on May 6, 1945 and I weighed just sixty-seven pounds.

According to Holocaust historians, it was the custom to kill the Jews in the Sonderkommando squads periodically and replace them with new workers.  But for some unknown reason, the Nazis allowed the last 100 Sonderkommando Jews to live.  Their plan was to take them to a cave in Austria and blow them up.

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