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November 1, 2011

the War of the Crosses at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:38 am

The War of the Crosses at Auschwitz began in 1979 when Polish Catholics placed a small Christian cross at the site of “the little white house” in the Auschwitz II camp, aka Birkenau. The cross was placed there on the occasion of the announcement by the Vatican that the Catholic church was initiating the beatification process for Edith Stein, a converted Jew, who had become a Carmelite nun before she was gassed in Bunker #2, aka “the little white house.”

Beatification is the first step toward sainthood, but before that, there must be some indication that the candidate for sainthood was a martyr, or at least that he or she performed a miracle.  Edith Stein qualified as a martyr because she was gassed in Bunker #2.

My photo of the site of “the little white house”

After the Catholics fired the first shot in the War of the Crosses, the Jews fired back when they erected symbols of their own in honor of the Jews who were gassed in “the little white house.”  The war was to last for ten years.  The War of the Crosses was fought to establish whether or not the Jews had the right to claim Auschwitz as their own, with the exclusion of all other groups that had also suffered at the hands of the Nazis.  Edith Stein was gassed because she had been born a Jew, but the Catholics were claiming her as one of their own because she had converted to Catholicism.

In 1979, Pope John Paul II returned to Poland, his native land, and said Mass before a crowd of 500,000 Polish Catholics at Birkenau.  In 1988, the huge 26-foot Cross that had been used at that Mass was placed inside a former gravel pit on the back side of the Block 11 building, which is inside the Auschwitz main camp.  The gravel pit was the spot where 152 Polish Resistance fighters had been executed by the Nazis during World War II.

My photo taken in 2005 shows the gravel pit outside Block 11 where the papal Cross still stands 

In 1984, some Carmelite nuns moved into the former theater building just outside the main Auschwitz camp and converted it into a convent.  The building is shown in the photo below.

Former theater building at Aushwitz main camp was used by Carmelite nuns as a convent

The Jews were offended because this was a sacred building that had been used during the Holocaust to store the cans of Zyklon-B for gassing the Jews at Birkenau.  (The stored Zyklon-B had also been used for disinfecting the clothing at the Auschwitz main camp.)

In August 1998, almost ten years after the start of the War of the Crosses, Polish nationalists put up around 300 Christian crosses in response to the demands of the Jews that the Cross from the Mass be removed.  The “Save the Cross” campaign was started by Polish patriot, Kazmirierz Switon. He was the one who called for crosses to be placed in the former gravel pit in response to the demand of the Jews that the Papal Cross be removed.  The gravel pit was a sacred place for the Poles because 152 Polish patriots had been executed there.

The former Auschwitz Theater building is on the left of the gravel pit where 300 Crosses were placed in 1998

My 1998 photo above shows the Theater building which the Carmelite nuns used as a convent and a memorial to the 152 Polish Resistance fighters who were executed in the gravel pit.

My 1998 photo of the War of the Crosses

After the Catholics refused to take down the Crosses, an agreement was finally reached in March 1997 between Jewish leaders and Polish representatives, which stated that no religious, political or ideological symbols would be allowed at Auschwitz. The agreement was signed in December 1997; the 26-foot Cross used by Pope John Paul II when he said Mass at Birkenau in 1979 was not included in the agreement. The Polish Parliament passed a new law which established a one-hundred-meter neutral zone around Auschwitz and eight other Nazi camps.  On May 28, 1999, Polish police removed the 300 crosses that had been put up by the Catholics at Auschwitz.

The War of the Crosses is over, but not forgotten.  It is still taught in American Universities.  For example, it is taught at the  University of Michigan where a Sociology professor has written a book about it which you can buy on Amazon here.  This website has a list of articles on the Internet about the War of the Crosses, including my article on my web site here.

The Catholics won the war because the Papal Cross is still up, but who knows when the war will start up again.


  1. I am a great admirer of Edith Stein, but every time I read that she (and her sister Rosa) was (were) gassed in Auschwitz in August 1942…

    I wonder where this piece of information comes from. I mean, is it a guess, an inference, or was there witness of her being sent to a gas chamber ?

    We are told Anne Frank died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen. So, could it also have been the case with the Stein sisters?

    What if some Christophobic prisioners (v.g., communists) in the Lager killed them ?

    Dear FurtherGlory, can you help me here?

    Comment by Al Fontaine — November 9, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

    • The official story is that Edith Stein was gassed on August 9, 1942 in Bunker II, aka “the little white house,” which was located at the far end of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

      According to Wikipedia, the gassing of prisoners in the Auschwitz main camp stopped in July 1942, and the gassing operation was moved to two little houses in the Auschwitz II (Birkenau) camp until four large gas chambers could be built at Birkenau.

      There is no proof that she was gassed because the Nazis did not keep records of the names of the victims who were gassed. Since Edith Stein died during the time that “the little white house” was being used, her death is claimed to have been in this little house.

      Edith Stein was canonized a saint in the Catholic Church. In order to be canonized, a person must have been a martyr. She qualified as a martyr because she had been gassed. If she had died a natural death, from typhus or some other disease, she could not be a saint.

      Edit Stein was Jewish before she converted to Catholicism. Both the Jews and the Catholics claim her as their own. Without the story of her being gassed, she would have faded into oblivion, but since she was allegedly gassed, she is welt bekannt.

      Comment by furtherglory — November 10, 2013 @ 7:28 am

      • I am very grateful for your prompt and helping answer.

        So it is that “there in no proof that she was gassed”, and this is “because the Nazis did not keep records of the names of the victims who were gassed.”

        What kind of world is this we live in, my dear FurtherGlory, where an earthly (ergo verifiable) statement with no proof to support it is daily sold as being a fact? Told and written even by the Holy Catholic Church? (BTW, I am Catholic.)

        But then again, there still is something that does not add up here: How is it that the date of her death (August 9, 1942) is so precisely known? Could it be that on August 10, 1942, she was alive but just not in Auschwitz-Birkenau any more, and someone (mis)took her absence in the Lager from that day on for her death the day before?

        After all, according to Carlo Mattogno (in “Auschwitz: Plain Facts – A Response to Jean-Claude Pressac”), that Bunker I (little red house) and Bunker II (little white house) were homicidal installations is still a matter of inquiry since the claim (by Pressac, among others) “… is in reality the simple result of extrapolation of testimonies, which contradict each other on all essential points.” And besides, as of late July 1942 typhus epidemics was still killing in Auschwitz.

        It all reminds me of that 1962 movie, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

        I only respectfully disagree with you on one point: I do not think Edith Stein would have faded into oblivion had she not died in Auschwitz (not that it mattered to her, a Carmelite nun). Now, what a courageous and lucid woman she was and how much resentment she had to endure. How tragic all this was…

        Comment by Al Fontaine — November 10, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

        • Dear FurtherGlory:

          I keep searching more information and insight about the death of the Stein sisters (Edith and Rosa Stein). I think now I can partly answer the question I asked you on November 10, 2013 @ 5:07 pm (just above), to wit:

          ” But then again, there still is something that does not add up here: How is it that the date of her death (August 9, 1942) is so precisely known? ”

          Well, the answer is: Whoa! Take back your question, Al Fontaine, for the question itself is wrong wrong way wrong, since August 9, 1942 is actually… a legal fiction at best. Then it has become a mantra, or rather, a meme.

          The truth is: neither DATE nor PLACE of death is known. Of course, we do not know how they died, either.

          Now, the “Edith Stein case” is very, very important in that the answer to this case is in the fulcrum of the so-called “holocaust debate” and, so I think, allows the settling of many hot questions.

          Please let me paste below a comment posted by “Kobus” in the CODOH Revisionist Forum (January 16, 2007 2:43 am):

          ” Edith Stein was arrested, deported to Auschwitz, and then seemingly disappeared without a trace. There are two possibilities: either she was murdered (gassed or not) shortly after her arrival at Auschwitz, or she was not. In the first case, it is to be expected that no administrative trace remains. In the second case, both administrative traces and declarations by witnesses are expected to exist (as Edith Stein was already rather well known in the forties). It is thinkable however, that any such traces have been deliberately destroyed, or are kept hidden. Given the thoroughly catholic character of Poland, the omnipresence of the Church and the rather open character of the Auschwitz camp, it seems unthinkable that the Catholic Church didn’t know about the existence of indications proving that Edyta Stein was alive after August 9th, 1942 (a catholic canonization is always preceded by an exhaustive examination of al the biographical evidence available). So any document proving Edyta Stein being alive after August 9th, 1942, would at the same time prove the Catholic Church being actively involved in the setting up of a holocaust myth. That makes this case so important. On the other hand, if Edith Stein really was murdered on August 9th, 1942, then her case is clear evidence of the reality of a holocaust of sorts (even when most elements of the ‘official story’ could turn out to be unreliable or false). ”

          – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

          To which, in the same forum, on the same day, “vincentferrer” added:

          ” (a catholic canonization is always preceded by an exhaustive examination of all the biographical evidence available)

          I think it is fair to say EITHER the Catholic church does not know how she died, OR WAS BLOCKED FROM THE TRUTH [emphasis is mine].

          It is truly an unfortunate development that every narrative about this saint has the word gas chambers in it.

          My guess is someone told an investigator of the church ” gas chambers ”
          and that was entered into the record. Who in this day and age is going to try and counter with something like, ” Prove it ”

          The fact is, if there was one body, at ANY camp that had been gassed
          that fact would be plastered on every holocaust museum door
          and entered into history books, and mentioned in every holocaust talk

          It is not up to revisionists to prove no person was gassed, although that is easy to do because there is no evidence.
          But despite that, it is still incumbent on those who claim it, to prove it. ”

          – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

          For anyone interested in the subject, please start at the texts linked below:

          (mainly the text by Vincent Reynouard whose translation into English has been provided here by Charles W. Porter)


          The ” 6 questions to John Paul II about the death of Edith Stein ” in a piece authored by Robert Faurisson:

          The Stein sisters, among so many many others, and we the people deserve an honest answer.

          Comment by Al Fontaine — November 15, 2013 @ 5:52 am

  2. Jews are not allowed to pray in the presence of idols, which includes statues of Hindu gods and Buddha, but especially the Christian cross.

    According to Leo Rosten’s 1968 book “The Joys of Yiddish” the term “kike” owes its origin to Jewish abhorrence of the cross. And many religious Jews in Israel refuse to use the international plus symbol “+”

    In 1951 Hungarian Jew Anna Rosenberg, Eisenhower’s Assistant Secretary for Defence, ordered all crosses removed from the graves of US servicemen. The original excuse given was cost of up-keep, later changed to its “policy of the United States to have no crosses in national cemeteries.”

    Comment by Black Rabbit — November 2, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

    • I know that the Jews cannot pray in the presence of a Christian cross, but the 26-foot Papal Cross cannot be seen from inside the Auschwitz main camp. The Jews can pray in front of Block 11 where the Cross is not visible. There is no reason for them to pray at the gravel pit on the back side of Block 11. The gravel pit is a sacred place for the Polish Christians because 152 Polish Resistance fighters were executed there. The main Auschwitz camp was mainly for political prisoners who were mostly Catholic. The Jews were killed at Birkenau which was the death camp.

      Comment by furtherglory — November 2, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

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