Scrapbookpages Blog

November 11, 2011

Sidney Glucksman was a witness to the atrocities at Gross-Rosen and Dachau concentration camps

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:50 am

Someone who is doing research on 11 men, who were possibly sent to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp as Nacht und Nebel prisoners, e-mailed me with a request to find an eye-witness who was at Gross-Rosen.  I don’t know much about Gross-Rosen so I had to do a google search; my search turned up the name of a witness (Sidney Glucksman) on my own website scrapbookpages.com.  Sidney Glucksman was 12 years old in 1940 when he was sent to the Gross Rosen camp; he was later transferred to Dachau where he was liberated by American soldiers on April 29, 1945.

This quote is from a page on my website. Scroll down, it is at the bottom of the page. You can read the page in full here:

Sidney Glucksman was a prisoner at Dachau working in a factory, located just outside the concentration camp, which made German uniforms. When he was liberated from Dachau by American troops, Glucksman told Jewish American soldier Jerome Klein that he had not had a shower for six years. Klein gave him a bar of soap and a clean American uniform to wear.

Contrary to Nerin E. Gun’s discription of babies being gassed along with their mothers at Dachau, Glucksman told Kim Martineau, a reporter for The Hartford, CT Courant, that he remembers mothers separated from babies, walking naked to the “showers” to be gassed, their babies thrown into sacks and beaten or tossed in the air for target practice.

Strangely, Glucksman was not gassed at Gross-Rosen, even though he was only 12 years old when he was sent there. He was allowed to live, even though he was a witness to the gassing of prisoners at two different camps and the killing of babies in sacks.

Glucksman was a concentration camp prisoner for six years (1940 – 1945), but he never took a shower the whole time.  Apparently, that’s how Glucksman managed to survive: he was smart enough not to enter a shower room, so he was not gassed like the rest of the prisoners.

Gross-Rosen is now in Poland, but it was in the Greater German Reich when a concentration camp was located there.  On the map below, Gross-Rosen is shown on the far left side.

Map shows location of Gross-Rosen camp

This quote is from a news article by Abbe Smith, New Haven Register, Conn. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News on March 26, 2009, headlined “Survivor tells of Holocaust horrors”:

At 12 years old, Glucksman was a student at a school in Chrzanow, Poland, when Nazi soldiers invaded his school and rounded up the Jewish children. The year was 1940. The students were loaded onto trucks and taken away.

“They told us we would be back with our parents in the evening. That evening never came,” he said.

The children slept outside and ate soup that consisted of slivers of potato floating in warm water.

He and the others were taken to Gross Rosen concentration camp where he was forced into labor and later transferred to Dachau concentration camp.

A young Glucksman watched as trains rolled in with box cars full of women and children packed tight as sardines.

“If you had to go to the bathroom [on the train], you did it standing up. If people died, they died standing up,” he said.

He described for the students what he considers the worst scene he has witnessed in his lifetime. Nazi soldiers shaved the heads of women and children and told them they were going to take a shower. They were led to a gray building with two large doors. Brushes and soap sat on a shelf.

“We were waiting 15 minutes and they never came out. That’s when we knew that was the first batch of the dead gassed people,” he recalled.

The crematorium went day and night without interruption. Smoke came out of it all the time and the camp stunk of burning human bones and flesh.

Glucksman saw babies stuffed into bags and soldiers swinging the bags against concrete walls, killing the babies.

“They were crying. Many times, I still hear them cry,” he said.

The gymnasium was silent at Glucksman told his story.

“Just monsters could do something I saw with my own eyes,” he said.

Memorial site at former Gross-Rosen camp

Here is some information on Gross-Rosen from Wikipedia, which mentions the Nacht und Nebel (night and fog) prisoners there:

[Gross Rosen] was set up in the summer of 1940 as a satellite camp to Sachsenhausen, and became an independent camp on May 1, 1941. Initially, work was carried out in the camp’s huge stone quarry, owned by the SS-Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH (SS German Earth and Stone Works).
[…]
Gross-Rosen was known for its brutal treatment of NN (Nacht und Nebel) prisoners, especially in the stone quarry. The brutal treatment of the political and Jewish prisoners was not only due to the SS and criminal prisoners, but to a lesser extent also due to German civilians working in the stone quarry. In 1942, for political prisoners, the mean survival time was less than two months.
[…]
Some prisoners who were not able to work and not yet dying within a few days, were sent to Dachau in so-called invalid transports. One of these, Willem Lodewijk Harthoorn, an inmate from the end of April to mid-August 1942, wrote an account of his experiences, Verboden te sterven (in Dutch, meaning Forbidden to Die).

The 11 men who might have been sent to Gross-Rosen were part of the Englandspiel.  I had never heard of this until I received the e-mail asking me for any information I might have.  If any of the readers of this blog know anything about Englandspiel and the men being sent to Gross-Rosen, please respond in the comments.

4 Comments

  1. bsd
    Shavuah Tov! I know the request may sound impossible, but miracles do happen:
    I’m trying to find any clues about the family of a friend of mine who were in Dachau: a mother and her daughter (Gertrude) were sent from Hungary to Auschwitz, and then to Dachau. They survived and settled in Belgium. the daughter married after the war and had a child in 1954. As the Holocaust was a taboo subject, this child (my friend) does not know much and both the mother & the daughter died in the 70ties.
    So if someone of you know or remember such a family from Hungary or during their stay in one of the camps, please let me know!

    Comment by Hanna Lea — February 18, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  2. Why are people still believing the fairy tales about gassing’s at Dachau?

    Comment by Mic Filler — November 11, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

    • Because tour guides at the Dachau Memorial site tell visitors that the gas chamber was used. One tour guide even explains how the gassing was done. I blogged about this here:
      https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/gordon-hogan-dachau-tour-guide/
      Numerous tourists blog about their visit to Dachau and repeat the information that they were told about the gas chamber being used. Numerous web sites tell about the gas chamber at Dachau being used. Denying that the gas chamber at Dachau was used will land you in prison in 14 countries — for five years.

      Comment by furtherglory — November 11, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

      • Are you sure about that? I’m not. Someone should try it. Because it’s in the literature that no gassings took place at Dachau, so a good case could be made.

        Comment by Skeptic — November 11, 2011 @ 7:43 pm


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