Scrapbookpages Blog

October 22, 2011

Daniel Libeskind building at 601 Capitol Mall in Sacramento, CA….when you get there, it’s not there

Filed under: California — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 6:00 pm

In 2005, famous architect Daniel Liebeskind designed a 38-story condo building called Aura, which was to be built at 601 Capitol Mall in Sacramento, CA.  The plan fell through when the developers of the project defaulted on a loan.  The photo below shows Libeskind’s design for the building, which was never built in Sacramento.

Architectural design by Daniel Libeskind for Sacramento

A building with this same design has since been built in Moscow in Russia. The building is shown  on the far right in the photo below.

Liebskin building in Moscow

Liebeskind building in Moscow, shown on the far right

Why should anyone care if the building, shown in the photo above, was built in Sacramento or not?

I’ll tell you why. When this project was first announced in the Sacramento Bee newspaper in 2005, I was horrified.  I had seen one of Daniel Libeskind’s buildings in Berlin, and I did not think that one of his designs would be suitable for Sacramento.  His architectural style has been called “deconstruction.”

My 2001 photo below shows the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which was designed by Daniel Libeskind.

Jewish Museum in Berlin, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind

The ultra modern design of the Jewish Museum in Berlin is intended to be in the form of a deconstructed Star of David, as though the building had been hit by lightning. The only windows are the angular slits that you see on the sides of the building. The surface of the building is covered with polished metal facing. There is no door into the exhibits in the building; entry is through a tunnel from the Baroque building next door, which is shown in the photograph below.

Contrast between buildings in Berlin

You can see some more of Liebeskind’s style of architecture here; there are photos showing what he did to Dresden.  There oughta be a law!

I went down to 601 Capitol Mall today to check out the address; 601 Capitol Mall is currently nothing but a parking lot with a small one-story building which is the office for the building at 621 Capitol Mall.

The description of the proposed building on this website reads as if the building had actually been built:

Situated in the heart of downtown Sacramento, California, the Aura condominium tower at 601 Capitol Mall is reshaping the city’s skyline with a much more modern view. The building, designed by Daniel Libeskind and developed by BCN Development of Denver, both embraces the architect’s signature sculptural forms and steps up the capital city’s architecture a notch.

Rising more than 400 feet above the city’s floor, the 38-story luxury residential tower features a luminous glass façade wrapped with translucent bands of balconies cut by curvilinear lines, which will provide residents with sweeping views of the city and surrounding landscape when it opens in 2007. The 256-unit building will also feature street-level dining, a sidewalk café, a fountain with sculptures, and a pedestrian-friendly lobby, all in the name of encouraging interaction between the tower and lively public space outside. Inside the residences, 10-foot ceilings open up 700-square-foot one-bedroom condos, the 4,400-square-foot penthouse, and everything in between. Other amenities include a landscaped garden, spa facilities, and 24-hour concierge services.

“The sculpted form of the building, its lightweight construction and luminosity, and its seamless interior spaces create an iconic whole greater than the sum of its parts,” says the architect, who is best known for master planning the new World Trade Center site and for designing the Jewish Museum Berlin. He calls Aura, which is his first project in California, “a sculpture that changes with light and the season.”

Libeskind has brought “a sense of energy and vibrancy to the city,” says Craig Nassi, founder and CEO of BCN. A developer for high-end, mixed-use, luxury properties, BCN currently has a combined real estate portfolio valued at more than $500 million.

Anderson Cooper and the Seven Dwarfs

Filed under: Health — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:14 am

I love Anderson Cooper’s new TV talk show.  Yesterday, his guests were the Johnston family of seven who call themselves “the seven dwarfs.”  I always thought that the term dwarf was politically incorrect, but when Anderson said to Amber Johnston, the mother, “You actually call yourself the seven dwarfs.” she said that the term dwarf is acceptable.  It is the M word that is politically incorrect.

The Johnston family consists of mom Amber and dad Trent who have two biological dwarf children and three adopted dwarf children.  All of them have Achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism.

I was shocked that Anderson would discuss the subject of dwarfs on his show, but he handled it very well, making his guests feel comfortable and acting as though their condition were perfectly normal.  As for me, I couldn’t help but think of the Ovitz family of dwarfs who were the subjects of Dr. Josef Mengele’s experiments at Auschwitz.    (Of course, Anderson didn’t bring this up.)   (more…)

October 21, 2011

Did a delay in having an operation for cancer cause Steve Jobs to die?

Filed under: Health — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:17 am

A biography of Steve Jobs, written by Walter Isaacson, will be out next Monday.  The author will be interviewed on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night.  Clips from the interview with Isaacson have been on TV since yesterday.

I was shocked to hear Isaacson say in one of the clips from his “60 Minutes” interview that Steve Jobs waited for 9 months before having an operation to remove a cancerous tumor; he finally had surgery only because “his wife pleaded with him to have an operation,” according to Isaacson.  I saw one of the clips from the “60 Minutes” interview this morning on Fox News and I heard Isaacson say that Jobs had tried to cure the cancer “macrobiotically.”

This quote about the new book is from this website:

The book delves into Jobs’ decision to delay surgery for nine months after learning in October 2003 that he had a neuroendocrine tumor — a relatively rare type of pancreatic cancer that normally grows more slowly and is therefore more treatable. Instead, he tried a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments he found online, and even consulted a psychic. He also was influenced by a doctor who ran a clinic that advised juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches, the book says, before finally having surgery in July 2004.

I find it very strange that Steve Jobs allegedly got worse after going on a vegan diet, having acupuncture and trying herbal remedies.  I frankly don’t believe that Jobs went on a macrobiotic diet and the cancer spread.  Before hearing about Isaacson’s interview, I had assumed that Steve Jobs died from cancer because he had an operation to remove the tumor.  I believe that removing the tumor is the wrong way to treat cancer.   (more…)

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.

(more…)

October 19, 2011

What does Pope Benedict have to do to prove that he is not a Nazi?

Filed under: Germany — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 7:55 am

There is currently a big controversy over a recent comment made by actress Susan Sarandon about Pope Benedict, whom she called “this Nazi (pope) we have now.”  During an event at the Hamptons Film Festival, Sarandon said she had sent a copy of the book entitled Dead Man Walking to the late Pope John Paul II in hopes that he would elevate the issue of the death penalty in church teaching. To make clear which Pope she was talking about, Sarandon said she sent the book to “The last one. Not this Nazi one we have now.”

Pope Benedict was too young to join the Nazi political party, but he was forced to join the Hitler Youth. He never attended the Hitler Youth meetings.  He was drafted into the Germany army, but he went AWOL near the end of the war.  As Pope, he has bent over backwards to show his support for the Jews, but it’s never enough.

Pope Benedict enters the Auschwitz main camp

On Sunday, May 28, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited the main camp at Auschwitz, which was primarily a camp for political prisoners, and also the Auschwitz II camp, aka Birkenau, where stone tablets in the major languages of the world say that 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered.

The photo above shows the Pope, wearing a white robe and red shoes, as he walks into the Auschwitz main camp through the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate, followed by his entourage of Catholic bishops and cardinals.   (more…)

Goering testified at Nuremberg that neither he nor Hitler knew anything about the mass murder in the concentration camps

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 6:02 am

Hermann Goering was the number 2 man in the German Reich up until 1943.  At the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, Goering told the Allied prosecutors that he knew nothing about the killing of 4 million people in the concentration camps. Amazingly, he maintained that Hitler did not know about the Holocaust either.

Goering denied that Germany had a policy to exterminate the Jews.  He claimed that Germany had a policy of emigration, not liquidation of the Jews.  I have given the highlights of Goering’s testimony below.  The important points are highlighted in bold.   (more…)

October 18, 2011

The gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau…

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:22 am

The two gas chambers (Crematorium 2 and Crematorium 3) at the end of the main camp road at Auschwitz-Birkenau are famous because many of the Auschwitz survivors mention them in their memoirs. Less well known are Crematorium 4 and Crematorium 5.  Filip Müller wrote about Crematorium 5 in his book Eyewitness Auschwitz, Three Years in the Gas Chambers.  Müller worked for awhile as a Sonderkommando in Crematorium 5, which was built outside the barbed wire enclosure of the barracks and across an interior camp road from Crematorium 4.

Ruins of Crematorium 5 at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Crematorium 5 was located on the right side of the road that begins at the SS administration building that is now a Catholic Church. On the left side of this road was Crematorium 4, which was blown up in a prisoner’s revolt in October 1944. Crematorium 5 was blown up by the Nazis on Jan. 26, 1945, only the day before the 60th Army of the First Ukrainian Front arrived to liberate the remaining prisoners.

Ruins of Crematorium 5, blown up by the Germans

On pages 80 and 81 of his book Eyewitness Auschwitz, Three Years in the Gas Chambers, Filip Müller describes the scene when a transport of Jews from Greece was brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be gassed in the three gas chambers in Crematorium 5.

Regarding the gassing of the Greek Jews, Müller wrote:

What rational grounds were there for transporting more than 1,000 people from Salonika to Birkenau only to murder them? Surely it would have been simpler to do away with them in Greece.  And besides, it was, after all, wartime and the Germans had urgent need for each and every railway engine and truck in order to transport their war materials to the wastes of Russia.

The above quote sounds like something that a Holocaust denier would write.  But never fear: Filip Müller is one of the foremost Holocaust survivors who proved the Holocaust through his eye-witness testimony.  Müller worked for three years, as a Sonderkommando, both at the Auschwitz main camp and at Birkenau, dragging dead bodies from the gas chambers to the incineration ovens for burning.

Filip Müller’s gas chamber testimony was, by no means, unique.  According to the book entitled Nazi Death Camp, there were around 100 members of the Sonderkommando, who worked in the gas chamber buildings at Birkenau, and they were among the 60,000 prisoners who were marched out of the camp, under SS escort, on January 18, 1945. Apparently, the Nazis didn’t anticipate that some of these Sonderkommando workers would survive and testify against them in war crimes trials after the war.

Henryk Tauber, Szlama Dragon and Alter Feinsilber (aka Stanislaw Jankowski) were Sonderkommandos who testified about the gassing of the Jews at the trial of Rudolf Höss in Poland after the war. Three other members of the Sonderkommando, who were murdered after a few months on the job, had managed to hide their diaries, containing accounts of the gassing of prisoners at Birkenau, in containers which they buried in the ground to be discovered later by survivors.

Gassing in Crematorium 5 began in the summer of 1943. Before that, “the little red house” was used as a gas chamber at Birkenau, beginning in March 1942. The gas chambers in Crematorium 5 were disguised as shower rooms, just like the gas chambers in Crematorium 4.

The one and only shower room at Birkenau was this room in the Sauna building which had 50 shower heads

There was only one shower room for the prisoners at the Birkenau camp; it was in the Central Sauna building, which was across the road from Crematorium 4.

A display board near the water treatment plant at Birkenau says that there were 90,000 prisoners at Birkenau. With only one shower room for 90,000 people, the prisoners had to wait for weeks for a shower.  The German people are noted for being obsessively clean, but they couldn’t provide more than one shower room for 90,000 prisoners?  How cruel was that?

In his book, Filip Müller wrote on page 81 that the Greek Jews, who were brought all the way from Greece to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be killed, were given soap and towels before they entered the three gas chambers in Crematorium 5. After bringing them all the way from Greece to Auschwitz, the Nazis didn’t have the decency to tell these Jews that they were going to be gassed and burned.  No, they wasted a thousand towels and bars of soap to make the Greek Jews think they were going to take a shower.

In his description of Crematorium 5, Müller wrote on page 81 of his book that “two SS men took the so-called disinfectants, several canisters of Zyklon B and poured their contents into the openings above the gas chamber.”  The deathcamps.org website says that Crematorium 4 and Crematorium 5 were identical and that the gas was put into the gas chambers through openings on the wall:   “None of the gas chambers had windows, there were only openings through which the gas was poured. These openings, about 30 x 40 cm, were high in the wall so that the responsible “SS disinfector” had to climb up on a chair or ladder to pour the gas into the rooms.”

The deathcamps.org website also says that there were four gas chambers in Crematorium 4 and Crematorium 5:  “On the right the first of four gas chambers (all in all 236 m2) was located. Two gas chambers were rather large, nearly 100 m2 each, while the two other gas chambers were much smaller.”  How could Müller have made a mistake in the number of gas chambers in Crematorium 5?

On page 147, Müller wrote that he lived in “the changing room” of Crematorium 4, which was identical to Crematorium 5, so he certainly should have known how many gas chambers were in the building.

Holocaust deniers, please take note: the gassing of the Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau was proved at the Nuremberg IMT.

The following is a quote from the Judgment handed down at the Nuremberg IMT:

German missions were sent to such satellite countries as Hungary and Bulgaria, to arrange for the shipment of Jews to extermination camps and it is known that by the end of 1944, 400,000 Jews from Hungary had been murdered at Auschwitz. Evidence has also been given of the evacuation of 110,000 Jews from part of Romania for “liquidation.” Adolf Eichmann, who had been put in charge of this programme by Hitler, has estimated that the policy pursued resulted in the killing of 6,000,000 Jews, of which 4,000,000 were killed in the extermination institutions.

Adolf Eichmann did not testify at the Nuremberg IMT. The Judgment at Nuremberg, with regard to the killing of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, was mostly based on hearsay testimony given in an affidavit, dated 26 November 1945, by former SS officer Wilhelm Höttl. Höttl stated that Adolf Eichmann, the head of the Jewish section of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), had told him in August 1944 that four million Jews had been killed in the extermination camps, and another two million had been killed by the Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern front. After the German surrender in May 1945, Höttl had been recruited to work with American intelligence.

Rudolf Höss, the Commandant of Auschwitz, testified at the Nuremberg IMT as a defense witness for Ernst Kaltenbrunner, and this “opened the door” for cross-examination by the prosecution.  Rudolf Höss mentioned in his sworn affidavit, entered into the proceedings at Nuremberg, that he had personally received an order from Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, the SS general in charge of all the concentration camps, to exterminate the Jews who were deported to Auschwitz.

Höss wrote in his autobiography that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler ordered the extermination of all the Jews in the summer of 1941, six months before the Final Solution was planned at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942.

The following quote is from the autobiography of Höss:

The sub-section (of RSHA) concerned with the Jews, controlled by Eichmann and Gunther, had no doubts about its objective. In accordance with the orders given by the Reichsführer SS in the summer of 1941, all Jews were to be exterminated. The Reich Security Head Office raised the strongest objections when the Reichsführer SS, on (Oswald) Pohl’s suggestion, directed that the able-bodied Jews were to be sorted out from the rest.

Rudolf Höss testified at his trial in 1947 before the Supreme National Tribunal in Warsaw that Adolf Eichmann had told him a number of times that 400,000 Hungarian Jews were exterminated at Auschwitz. Based on the testimony of members of the Sonderkommando who had removed the bodies from the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Tribunal found him guilty of the murder of 300,000 non-Jews who were registered and at least 2.5 million Jews who were brought to the camp for immediate extermination and were never registered.

So why is the Auschwitz Museum telling tourists that only 1.1 million Jews were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau when Rudolf Höss himself testified that 2.5 million Jews were killed there?

Photo of the confession of Rudolf Höss hangs in US Holocaust Memorial Museum

October 17, 2011

Eyewitness Auschwitz, Three Years in the Gas Chambers by Filip Müller

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:42 am

The paperback edition of Filip Müller’s book Eye Witness Auschwitz was “published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum” in 1999, twenty years after the book was first published in 1979.  His description of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau matches many of the details in the description given by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli who published his book Auschwitz, A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account in 1960.

Müller was a prisoner at Auschwitz from April 1942 until January 18, 1945 when he left the camp on a “death march.”  Dr. Nyiszli arrived at the Auschwitz II camp, aka Birkenau, on a transport with other Hungarian Jews in May 1944, and left on the same “death march” out of the camp.  Both ended up at the Mauthausen camp in Austria, where they both stayed for a few days before being sent to the Melk sub-camp of Mauthausen.  Could they have met at Melk and compared notes on their work at Auschwitz-Birkenau?

Both Müller and Dr. Nyiszli were members of the Sonderkommando squads that worked, and lived, inside the gas chamber buildings at Birkenau. Dr. Nyiszli was a doctor who did autopsies at Birkenau, while Müller was a lowly prisoner who carried the victims out of the gas chamber, first at the main Auschwitz camp and later at the Birkenau camp.

Dr. Nyiszli wrote his book first, so if either of them copied from the other, it was Müller who copied from Dr. Nyiszli.  Yet it was Müller who had 3 years of first-hand experience in the gruesome task of entering the gas chamber and carrying the bodies to the incinerator ovens.  Dr. Nyiszli was at Birkenau for only 8 months and there was no reason why he would have been required to enter a gas chamber.

Did Dr. Miklos Nyiszli get his information about the gas chambers from Filip Müller?  In 1945 when both were rescued by American troops from a sub-camp of Mauthausen, Müller was a naive, uneducated 23-year-old while Dr. Nyiszli was a much more sophisticated 44-year-old doctor.  Did Dr. Nyiszli steal the gas chamber story from Müller and profit from the gas chamber experience of Müller?

On page 13 of his book, Müller mentioned that he ate some cheese and poppyseed cake that he found in the luggage in the gas chamber.  Dr. Nyiszli was a medical doctor and he would have known that this was impossible, so he didn’t include this detail in his book.

On page 60 of his book, Müller mentions that there was a morgue in one of the Birkeanau gas chamber buildings. Elsewhere in his book, he also mentions a morgue room that was separate from the gas chamber room and the undressing room.  On page 60, he wrote:  “When we entered the morgue, we found lying in a heap some 200 emaciated corpses, all of whom had obviously died of hunger, disease or exhaustion. They had been thrown down the concrete shute from the yard into the mortuary basement.”

The ruins of the crematoria at Birkenau do not show that there were three rooms: a gas chamber, an undressing room and a third room for storing the bodies of the prisoners who had died from disease.  Müller published his book in 1979, by which time he was 57 years old; apparently he was already losing his memory and he consulted the plans for the Krema III gas chamber building which originally called for a “corpse slide” but a concrete shute was never built.  Dr. Nyiszli did not make this mistake in his book.

Filip Müller and Dr. Miklos Nyiszli are to Holocaust history what Fred Leuchter and Germar Rudolf are to Holocaust revisionism.  Both Leuchter and Rudolf climbed down into the ruins of the Krema II gas chamber at Birkenau and both gave a description which did not match what Müller and Dr. Nyiszli described.  Neither Leuchter nor Rudolf found evidence of the holes through which the Zyklon-B pellets were allegedly poured, and neither of them found any evidence of the “hollow pillars of sheet metal” which kept the pellets from being scattered on the floor of the gas chamber.  Both Müller and Dr. Nyiszli mentioned the hollow pillars in their accounts of the gas chambers at Birkenau.

On page 60, Müller also wrote this:  “Mounted on the ceiling was a large number of dummy shower heads made of metal.”  He was describing Krema II, the same gas chamber into the ruins of which both Leuchter and Rudolf descended and found no showerheads.

On page 65, Müller wrote: “The hair was cut after the women had been gassed.”  Remember that he was writing this in 1979 after the Auschwitz Museum had already been set up with exhibits including a large glass case of human hair.  Hair does not deteriorate.  In the Victorian era, women used to make framed pictures out of hair cut from their heads.  In a Museum in Scotland, I saw a lock of hair from Bonnie Prince Charlie which had not deteriorated over the years.  However, the hair in the Auschwitz Museum is badly deteriorated; it has obviously been subjected to Zyklon-B to kill any lice because it was intended to be sent to Germany to be used in making cloth.  After the women were gassed at Auschwitz, the hair would have been filled with excrement and it would have been hard to clean.  The German people are noted for being efficient; I think they would have cut the hair off before sending the women into the gas chamber.

On page 81, Müller wrote: “Thus, a towel slung over their arm and clutching a cake of soap, they entered, all unsuspecting, the three gas chambers of crematorium 5.”  Where have I heard the soap and towels story before?  Now I remember: it was at Dachau that the American liberators found soap and towels in the undressing room for the gas chamber.  Did Müller borrow this detail from the Dachau story?  Or were there three shower rooms in Crematorium 5 at Birkenau?

The first Jews who were sent to Auschwitz were from Slovakia, the state that had broken off from Czechslovakia, and was allied with Germany during World War II.

In the forward to Müller’s book, Professor Yehuda Bauer of Yad Vashem wrote this:

Why did Müller not publish his memoir before?  He did in a way.  He returned to his Czechoslovak home after the war.  A summary of his testimony was included in a book in 1946 (published in English in 1966 as The Death Factory by O. Kraus and E. Kulka).

So now the truth comes out:  Müller was the first to write a description of the gas chambers in 1946.  Dr. Nyiszli wrote his book in 1947.

It is my personal opinion that Dr. Nyiszli never saw the inside of any gas chamber and he got his information from Filip Müller, who entered the gas chambers at Auschwitz and Birkenau many times over a period of three years and even lived, for a time, in the undressing room of crematorium 4, as he wrote on page 147 of his book.  On the same page, he wrote: “some of us (Sonderkommandos) made their quarters in the lofts of crematorium 2 and 3.”  Dr. Nyiszli claimed that he lived in crematorium 1, but he obviously meant crematorium 3 because he mentioned that it was near the soccer field.  Crematorium 1 was in the main Auschwitz camp.

There are some revisionists who don’t believe that Dr. Nyiszli was ever at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  I find it strange that both Dr. Nyiszli and Filip Müller were sent to Mauthausen and then to the Melk sub-camp.  What are the chances of that?  Dr. Nyiszli could have faked his whole book, based on the experience of Filip Müller.

October 16, 2011

The Black Wall at the Auschwitz main camp

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 7:42 am

I am blogging today about the infamous “Black Wall” at Auschwitz in answer to comments made on a blog post that I did about Block 10 on Oct. 13th.

The Black Wall is at the far end of a long, narrow courtyard between Block 10 and Block 11 at the Auschwitz main camp.  There is a brick wall which connects the two buildings and in front of this brick wall, there is a removable wall, constructed out of logs and covered with cork painted black. The ends of the wall are angled slightly toward the center. The purpose of the cork wall was to protect the beautiful brick wall behind it from bullet holes.

The Black Wall is made of cork and painted black

Many people have noticed that there are no bullet holes in the wall. That’s because this is not the original black wall. According to my tour guide in 1998, this is a reconstruction which looks like the original. The original wall was removed after Arthur Liebehenschel replaced Rudolf Hoess as the camp commander in November, 1943, and ordered the executions at the wall to stop.

Close-up of the Black Wall at Auschwitz

The total number of people executed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, according to the Nazi records, was 1,646 including 117 Jews, 1,485 Poles, 19 Russians, 5 Czechs and 20 Gypsies.  However, the Auschwitz Museum claims that there were 20,000 people “murdered” at the Black Wall. (more…)

October 15, 2011

Eye-witness description of the procedure used in the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:41 am

There were two survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp who wrote eye-witness descriptions of how the gassing of the Jews was accomplished.  One of these books was written by Filip Müller, who was a Sonderkommando at Auschwitz. He wrote a book, published in 1979, entitled Eyewitness Auschwitz, Three Years in the Gas Chambers.

Ruins of Krema III gas chamber with SS entrance into the gas chamber in the center

The second survivor who wrote a book describing the gas chambers was Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a doctor who was working, as a pathologist, with the Sonderkommando squad at Birkenau.  I blogged about his book yesterday, but I am writing about it again because his eye-witness description of the gas chamber deserves more publicity.  He described the gas chamber building that was near the soccer field, which would be Krema III, shown in the photo above.

The description of the operation of the Birkenau gas chambers begins on p. 47 in Chapter VII of Dr. Nyiszli’s book.  He begins with a description of the arrival of a transport train, which he sees from the window of the crematorium building (probably Krema III) where he lives with other members of the Sonderkommando group.  As soon as the train arrives, the men in the furnace room of the crematorium prepare “to welcome the new convoy.”  Enormous ventilators are turned on to fan the flames in the 15 ovens.  Dr. Nyiszli describes the “incineration room as 500 feet long, with a concrete floor and barred windows.”

The incinerators (cremation ovens) at Auschwitz-Birkenau

It only takes 5 or 6 minutes for the victims to arrive at the crematorium after they have been selected to go to the left; they march into the courtyard of Krema III, in groups of five. The entrance to the gas chamber is only 300 yards from the ramp where the selection has been made.

Women directed to the left are destined to be gassed

Victims walking past Krema III in the background

Regarding the march to the gas chamber, Dr. Nyiszli wrote: “For the most part the babies were carried in their fathers’ arms or else wheeled in their carriages.”

Wait a minute!  The fathers carried the babies to the gas chamber?  A man young enough to have a babe in arms was young enough to work.   And baby carriages on the trains to Auschwitz?  In all the Holocaust survivor books that I have ever read, I’ve never heard of that. Nor is it shown in any of the photos that the Nazis took.

Then Dr. Nyiszli mentions “the water faucets, used for sprinkling the grass” in the courtyard of the gas chamber building.  Automatic sprinklers at Birkenau?  I was 11 years old in 1944, and I had no idea that sprinklers had been invented at that time.  In California, everyone has sprinklers on their lawn because it never rains in the Summer, but it rains in Poland, so why were sprinklers needed?

Then Dr. Nyiszli writes:  “They (the victims) began to take pots and pans from their luggage, and broke ranks, pushing and shoving in an effort to get near the faucets and fill their containers.”  NO! NO! NO!  The luggage was left behind.  The victims did not carry their luggage into the gas chamber.  Look at the luggage in the Auschwitz Museum.  You can easily see that the luggage was not subjected to Zyklon-B gas; it is completely undamaged.

Luggage brought by Jews to Auschwitz has not deteriorated

But then, Dr. Nyiszli describes how the SS men “waited patiently till each had quenched his thirst and filled his container” with water from the sprinklers.  The photo below shows a child carrying a pail on the way to the gas chamber.  This appears to me to be a lunch pail for carrying food, not a pail for water.

Children carrying pails to the gas chamber at Birkenau

Finally, the victims “advanced for about 100 yards along a cinder path edged with green grass to an iron ramp, from which 10 to 12 concrete steps led underground to an enormous room dominated by a large sign in German, French, Greek and Hungarian: ‘Baths and Disinfection Room.'”

Sign for showers at Birkenau

Disinfection sign at Birkenau

The two photos above show that there really were Bath and Disinfection signs at Birkenau, but they were in the Sauna, where the prisoners had to take a shower and be disinfected before they were admitted into the camp.

Here is Dr. Nyiszli’s description of the undressing room, probably in Krema III at Birkenau:

The room into which the convoy proceeded was about 200 yards long: its walls were whitewashed and it was brightly lit. In the middle of the room rows of columns. Around the columns, as well as along the walls, benches. Above the benches, numbered coat hangers. […]  There were 3,000 people in the room: men, women and children.

Ruins of Krema III undressing room

The photo above shows the ruins of the undressing room of Krema III, which according to Dr. Nyiszli held 3,000 people. Note the broken columns in the ruins.

Ruins of the gas chamber in Krema III at Birkenau

Note the columns in the photo of Krema III above; the columns held up the roof of the gas chamber; the roof was three feet above ground.

Dr. Nyiszli wrote that, after 3,000 people had been crowded into the undressing room, “Some of the soldiers arrived and announced that everyone must be completely undressed in ten minutes.”  He wrote that the people in the gas chamber “were struck dumb with surprise.  Modest women and girls looked at each other questioningly.” […] “The aged, the paralyzed, the mad were helped to undress by a Sonderkommando squad sent for that purpose.”  The Sonderkommando squad was made up of Jewish men, so it was O.K for them to help with the undressing of the victims.

Dr. Nyiszli’s description of the gassing procedure continues with this quote:

Making his way through the crowd (of 3,000 people), an SS opened the swing-doors of the large oaken gate at the end of the (undressing) room.  The crowd flowed through it into another equally well-lighted room.  The second room was the same size as the first, but neither benches or pegs were to be seen.  In the center of the room, at thirty-yard intervals, columns rose from the concrete floor to the ceiling.  They were not supporting columns, but square sheet-iron pipes, the sides of which contained numerous perforations, like a wire lattice.

Notice in the photos above, that the sheet-iron pipes were removed before the Krema III gas chamber was blown up by the Nazis.  The purpose of these pipes was to hold the Zyklon-B gas pellets, so that they would not have to be removed from the floor after the victims were dead.  The Nazis were no fools — they were careful to leave no evidence behind.

Dr. Nyiszli’s description of the gassing continues with this quote:

Everyone was inside. A hoarse command rang out: “SS and Sonderkommando leave the room.”  They obeyed and counted off.  The doors swung shut and from without, the lights were switched off.

At that very instant the sound of a car was heard:  a deluxe model, furnished by the International Red Cross.  An SS officer and a SDG (Sanitatsdienstgefreiter: Deputy Health Service Officer) stepped out of the car. The Deputy Health Officer held four green sheet-iron cannisters.  He advanced across the grass, where, every thirty yards, short concrete pipes jutted up from the ground.  Having donned his gas mask, he lifted the lid of the pipe, which was also made of concrete. He opened one of the cans and poured the contents — a mauve granulated material into the opening.

HOLD IT!  The color of the gas pellets was mauve?  Mauve is sort of a dusty rose color.  I have seen Zyklon-B gas pellets at two different camp memorial sites. The pellets were a very light bluish-green color.  Definitely not mauve!

The gassing procure continues with this quote from Dr. Nyiszli’s book:

Twenty minutes later the electric ventilators were set going in order to evacuate the gas.  The doors opened, the trucks arrived, and a Sonderkommando squad loaded the clothing and the shoes separately. They were going to disinfect them. This time it was a real case of disinfection.  Later they would transport them by rail to various parts of the country.

The ventilators, patented “Exhator” system, quickly evacuated the gas from the room, but in the crannies between the dead and the cracks of the doors, small pockets of it still remained.  Even two hours later it caused a suffocating cough.  For that reason the Sonderkommando group which first moved into the room was equipped with gas masks. Once again the room was powerfully lighted, revealing a horrible spectacle.   […]

The Sonderkommando squad, outfitted with large rubber boots, lined up around the hill of bodies and flooded it with powerful jets of water.

Dr. Nyiszli wrote that the Sonderkommando squad was killed every four months. (Other sources say that the Sondekommando squad was killed every THREE months.) The first assignment of the new group was to carry the bodies of the previous group to the ovens, so the Sonderkommando men knew that they would only live for four months.  Yet, they carried on, removing the dead Jews from the gas chambers. There were 12 squads killed before the 13th squad decided to blow up the Krema IV gas chambers in a revolt.

Dr. Nyiszli worked with the 14th and last Sonderkommado squad.  Members of the last squad were allowed to live; they were marched out of the camp on January 18, 1945 when the camp was abandoned. Several of them gave testimony about the gas chambers.

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