Scrapbookpages Blog

December 31, 2011

How did the Auschwitz I gas chamber look in January 1945? (updated)

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:26 am

Photo of Auschwitz I gas chamber taken in January 1945

My photo of Auschwitz gas chamber, Oct. 1998

In my blog post today, I am answering a comment made about my website, which shows a black and white photo of the gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp, that was allegedly taken in January 1945. (I have since removed the photo.) This photo, which is also on the USHMM website here, is shown at the top of my post.  Compare this photo with the color photo above, which I took in 1998.

There is no door on the right side of my 1998 color photo because the wall on the right side is an exterior wall.  On the other side of the wall on the right is a mound of dirt.

The man who made the comment on my blog noticed that the old black and white photo on my website (which I have since removed) had been reversed. That’s right. I reversed the photo myself when I put it on my website years ago. The original photo, which I copied and put on my website years ago, was a mirror image of the black and white photo above. It showed the door on the right in the photo above as a door on the left side, claiming that this was a door into the oven room.  I knew that the door into the oven room had been closed up by the Germans when they converted the gas chamber into a bomb shelter in September 1944.  So I assumed that this was a fake photo, done by the Soviet Union, in an effort to claim that the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp was original and that it had never been converted into a bomb shelter.

For over 50 years, the staff at the Auschwitz main camp told visitors that the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp was original and not a reconstruction done by the Soviet Union.  After Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945, the gas chamber in the main camp, which had been converted into a bomb shelter by the Nazis, was reconstructed by the Soviet Union with a new door cut into the wall for an entrance into the oven room.

My photo of the Auschwitz I gas chamber, taken in 2005, is shown below.

My photo of Auschwitz I gas chamber taken in 2005

The Krema I gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp, shown in the photo above, is a reconstruction which was done by the Soviet Union in 1947.  A new entrance door, which can be seen in the background of the photo above, had been added by the Germans in 1944.  For years, visitors to Auschwitz were told that this was the entrance through which the victims entered the gas chamber.

In September 1944, the original gas chamber had been divided into four small rooms when it was converted into an air raid shelter. In the photo above, you can see the reconstructed opening into the oven room on the left hand side. According to the Auschwitz Museum, this opening had been closed up when the gas chamber was converted into an air raid shelter. During the reconstruction, the opening into the oven room was moved a few feet.  The new opening does not line up with the tracks for the trolleys that were used to shove the bodies into the ovens, as shown in the photo below.

New door into the oven room that was added in 1947 when gas chamber was reconstructed (1998 photo)

My 1998 photo above shows the new doorway which was cut when the gas chamber was reconstructed in 1947; as you can see, there is no door frame, nor any marks where a door frame was removed. The original doorway was closed up when the gas chamber was converted into an air raid shelter, according to the Auschwitz Museum. The reconstructed doorway is about two and a half feet closer to the ovens than the original doorway which was lined up with the trolley tracks.

Tracks inside the Auschwitz oven room do not line up with the new door added during the reconstruction in 1947

This quote is from my website on the page where I previously showed the old black and white photo which I reversed (I have since removed this photo):

The photo below shows the gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp, as it looked in January 1945 after the camp was liberated by the Soviet Union.

This view of the gas chamber in Krema I at the main Auschwitz camp shows how the room looked when the camp was liberated by the Soviet Union on January 27, 1945. The gas chamber had been converted into an air raid shelter and a new door, shown in the background of the photo, had been cut. Notice that there is no door into the oven room on the left side; this door had been closed up when the room was converted into an air raid shelter.

I could have written on my website that the photo, taken by the Soviet Union, was a fake photo with a door added, but I didn’t want to be called a Holocaust denier.  Keep in mind that David Irving became the worst kind of criminal in the world, a Holocaust denier, when he pointed out that the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp was a reconstruction.  At the time that I first put this photo up on my scrapbookpages website, I was traveling to Germany twice a year.  I didn’t want to wind up in prison for five years because of pointing out a fake photo, so that’s why I reversed the photo, and showed that the gas chamber had no door into the oven room when the camp was liberated.

I don’t recall where I first saw the gas chamber photo that I copied and then reversed.  The USHMM has also reversed the photo, or maybe they copied the reversed photo from my website.  In any case, the reversed photo correctly shows what the gas chamber looked like in January 1945 but without the door on the right side.

The photo below shows the original blueprint of the Auschwitz main camp gas chamber and crematorium.

Original blueprint of Auschwitz I crematorium

The photo above shows the original blueprint for the Krema I (Crematorium One) building in the Auschwitz main camp. The morgue, shown on the bottom right hand side of the blueprint, has a door into the oven room and another door into the washroom. On the blueprint, the morgue is labeled Leichenkeller which is the German word for a corpse cellar.  The gas chamber was originally in the same location as the morgue and it did not include the area of the washroom, as it does now.

Note the door from the vestibule into the washroom that is shown on the blueprint; this door no longer exists and the area of the former wash room is included in the reconstructed gas chamber.

Was it wrong for the staff at Auschwitz to claim that the gas chamber in the main camp is original?  Not according to Robert Jan van Pelt who wrote that this was done for the sake of visitors who want to see a gas chamber when they go to Auschwitz.

Was it wrong for me to reverse an old photo of the gas chamber?  I don’t think so.  I wanted to show what the gas chamber really looked like when the Soviets arrived, and at the same time, I wanted to show that there was no door into the oven room in January 1945 when this photo was allegedly taken.  I thought that the Soviets had reversed the original photo and added a door.  I reversed the photo back to the way I thought it was originally taken.

Update Jan. 1, 2012:

On this page of my website, I show the original old black and white photo of the Auschwitz I gas chamber with a photo credit to the USHMM.  I did this part of my web site in 2005.

Display board outside of Auschwitz I gas chamber building

The photo above shows a poster, which is located outside the gas chamber building in the Auschwitz main camp. On the left, the poster depicts the layout of the gas chamber building as it originally looked and on the right, the way it looked after the gas chamber was reconstructed in 1947.

The gas chamber room was originally used as a morgue to store corpses prior to cremation in the ovens. According to the model on the poster, neither the gas chamber nor the morgue included the area where a washroom was once located. This means that the victims had to go through two small rooms to get to the gas chamber, and that neither the morgue, nor the gas chamber, had a floor drain since the only drain that can be seen today is in the washroom area of the reconstructed gas chamber. The gas chamber, as seen by tourists today, includes the area of the former washroom.

When the building was converted into an air raid shelter in September 1944, a new door was cut into the gas chamber room, as shown on the right hand side of the poster.

During the time that the building was used as an air raid shelter, the morgue room was divided into four small rooms. During the reconstruction in 1947, the walls of the small rooms in the morgue were removed, along with the wall of the small washroom. The washroom is designated by the letter b on the poster shown in the photo above. The wall of the washroom is shown as a dotted line in the diagram on the right, which shows the gas chamber the way it looks today.

The most recent comments on my blog have left me confused.  I will leave it to the experts to sort this out.

Update Jan. 2, 2012: 

My thanks to Bob and all the others who commented on this post and set the facts straight.

Thanks a million to Bob who did the comparison of the old black and white photo with my 2005 photo of the gas chamber, shown below:

Comparison of Auschwitz gas chamber photos, contributed by Bob

December 30, 2011

Mass graves and Memorials at Bergen-Belsen

I recently received an e-mail from someone who was looking for graves of British soldiers near the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site.  I do not know of any British cemetery in the vicinity of the former Belsen camp, but I would not be surprised if there are British soldiers buried nearby.  The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was in the middle of a war zone when it was voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945 because of the fear that the typhus epidemic in the camp would spread to the troops fighting in the area.

Memorial stone at entrance to Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site

On 15 April 1946, a monument was erected in honor of the 30,000 Jews who were murdered by the Nazis at Bergen-Belsen.  (more…)

December 28, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Filed under: movies — furtherglory @ 10:07 am

I went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yesterday, even though this is not the type of film that I really like.  I am more of a Merchant Ivory films kind of person — I enjoy films like Howard’s End and The Remains of the Day.  I have been reading about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for a couple of years now.  And I finally decided to see what all the fuss is about.  The film is based on a book by Stieg Larson entitled Men Who Hate Women, which has sold over 50 million copies world wide. Fortunately, the title was changed for the movie, or people would be staying away in droves.  The movie title is much more intriguing and it has a nice ring to it.  Actually, a better title would be “The Revenge of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Daniel Craig plays the male lead in the movie, which made me think that this was going to be some kind of a James Bond flick, which I would not like.  Boy, was I wrong!  The movie is very complex and it is very fast paced. It might be hard for some people to understand without some background information, so I am going to give a short synopsis of the story.

Daniel Craig plays the part of a journalist who is asked by an wealthy Swedish industrialist (played by Christopher Plummer) to write his biography. The journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, has gotten the industrialist’s attention because he (Blomkvist) was in the news after he had disgraced himself some way.  What the Swedish tycoon really wants is for Blomkist, an investigative journalist, to find out what happened to his great-niece Harriet over 40 years ago. The whole family lives on a private island in Sweden and Christopher Plummer’s character suspects that Harriet was murdered by someone in the family.  But first, the Swedish industrialist hired a computer hacker, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” to check the background of the journalist.  As Daniel Craig’s character (the journalist) begins work on the investigation of the supposed murder of the niece, he hires “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” to be his research assistant. Eventually, the journalist and his assistant become lovers, although the journalist already has a girl friend, played by Robin Wright, who is also his editor.

The part of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is played by Rooney Mara; her name in the movie is Lisbeth Salander.  She is a young girl, who is a ward of the state in Sweden; her case worker is one of the “Men who hate Women.” There is a horrible scene of sexual violence and a later scene where “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” gets her revenge.  Rooney Mara previously played the part of the dissatisfied girlfriend in the movie The Social Network.  When she first meets Daniel Craig in the movie, her first words are “Don’t touch me, or I will …..”  Actually, Daniel Craig plays the part of a nice guy in the movie; he wouldn’t do anything like the caseworker did.

I give the movie a thumbs up.  The opening credits are spectacular.  Rooney Mara gives an outstanding performance, as does Daniel Craig.  This is a great movie, but not for the kiddies, except maybe to teach boys not to rape a girl who has a dragon tattoo.  The movie has a surprise ending, which I guessed right from the start, because I am a suspicious person by nature.

Does Holocaust education teach hatred of the German people?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 7:17 am

In the comment section of my blog, a follower gave a link to an article published today in The Telegraph, a British newspaper.  The headline of the article is “Stop teaching about the holocaust so that children see Germany in a better light, says Lord Baker.”  The article starts off with this statement: “British schools should no longer teach children about the Nazis because it makes them think less favourably of modern Germany, the architect of the National Curriculum has claimed.” 

Amen to that!

I have said the same thing several times myself in my blog posts.  I have particularly criticized the British for taking young students on a one-day trip to Auschwitz to be indoctrinated.  Visitors cannot tour Auschwitz on their own now; I wrote about this here.

It was the British who originated the concept of concentration camps.  Is that taught in British schools?  I doubt it.

Pat Buchanan’s book Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World should be required reading for every British student.

This quote is from the article in The Telegraph:

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said that schools should concentrate on teaching “the story in our own country” rather than the events of the Second World War, including the Holocaust.

Lord Baker, who introduced the National Curriculum in the 1980s, said: “I would ban the study of Nazism from the history curriculum totally.

“It’s one of the most popular courses because it’s easily taught and I don’t really think that it does anything to learn more about Hitler and Nazism and the Holocaust.

“It doesn’t really make us favourably disposed to Germany for a start, present-day Germany.”

In another comment on my blog, many months ago, an American professor of history wrote this:  “Saying that Holocaust courses in the US teach students to hate Germans is nonsense. I teach Holocaust and German history courses in the US that certainly do not do that.”

In the same comment, the history professor wrote that prisoners were burned alive at Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, and that prisoners were marched out of the concentration camps near the end of the war for the purpose of killing them so that they would not be witnesses to the atrocities committed in the camps.  What do students, who are taught this version of history, think about the German people?  How can young Americans not hate the German people, after this kind of indoctrination?

Five states in the USA now mandate Holocaust education in public schools.  Does this conflict with our Constitution which mandates the separation of church and state?  I think it does, since the Holocaust has now become a world wide religion.  America has a United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC although the Holocaust didn’t happen here and is not a part of American history.

Another blogger has written about the subject of the Jews promoting the hatred of the German people here.

Do British schools teach anything about the German “expellees?”  I first heard about the millions of ethnic Germans who were expelled after World War II when I read a Letter to the Editor in a local newspaper about 15 years ago. Maybe there should be a new law that this must be taught in American schools.

December 26, 2011

Florida Holocaust survivors reject “tainted money” from SNCF

Filed under: California, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:31 am

You can read the latest news on SNCF and the Holocaust survivors in Floria here. This quote is from the Sun Sentinel:

The state of Florida has canceled a controversial Holocaust education program for teachers.

The cancellation by Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson was seen as a victory by Holocaust survivors who were angered by the department and it’s Task Force on Holocaust Education’s acceptance of a three-year teacher training program created by the Shoah Memorial in Paris and funded by an $80,000 grant from SNCF America, the U.S. subsidiary of the French National Railroad.

The [French] railroad transported more than 76,000 Jews to the German border where they were taken to death camps.

Note that the news article explains that SNCF America is a subsidiary of the French railroad which transported 76,000 Jews to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. SNCF apologized to the Jews last year for its connection to the French railroad; the company tried to make amends by making a $80,000 donation to the Jews in order to get in on the $2.6 billion high-speed rail plan in Florida, but the plan was canceled. SNCF honored the $80,000 donation anyway.

I previously blogged about the role of the French railway in the Holocaust here.

Holocaust survivors in Florida were upset with the deal between Florida and SNCF to fund a Holocaust education program because they regarded a $80,000 donation from SNDF as “tainted money.”   As reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel on September 9, 2011,  the donation had been given by SNCF to develop a school curriculum focusing on the role of France in the Holocaust.  This quote is from the South Florida Sun Sentinel article in September 2011:

“We don’t need SNCF to whitewash its image here,” Rita G. Hofrichter, 84, a Florida woman who lost her parents and other relatives in the Holocaust, told the newspaper. “It’s really shameful that they think they can buy us with their blood money.”    (more…)

December 25, 2011

My short review of the movie War Horse

Filed under: movies — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 8:23 pm

I saw the movie War Horse today on its opening day.  I enjoyed the movie and I found nothing to criticize.  As far as I know, everything was accurate with regard to the battle scenes.  Keep in mind that this movie is rated PG-13.  It is based on a children’s novel.  So there is not much blood and gore.

I was also surprised to find that there was no German-hatred in the film, considering that Spielberg’s movies Schindler’s List and The Last Days are full of lies.  I was satisfied with the way that German soldiers were portrayed in this film.  There was no “cutting the hands off the babies in Belgium” stories and no atrocities shown.  I also thought that the British were portrayed accurately in the film.

There is a funny scene in which a German soldier corrects the English grammar of a British soldier when the British guy says to the German: “You speak good English.”  Technically that is incorrect because good is an adjective and an adverb is required in the sentence.  The German guy then says the sentence correctly: “I speak English well.”

The film is a bit corny, but since it is supposed to be a family movie, suitable for 13-year-old kids, it is O.K.  There are only two female roles in the film, and no romance.  War Horse is essentially a movie for young boys.

The movie does not get into who or what started World War I, nor does it say anything about why the war stopped when it did.  So there is nothing controversial in the film.  This could be considered a good thing, but it could also mean that the movie will be quickly forgotten because it lacks interest.  I did not consider anything in this film to be worthy of an Academy Award.  But I did enjoy it.

Update Dec. 26, 2011

This morning I checked out some other reviews of the film War Horse.  I found several reviews here, some of which agree with me and some that don’t.  Here is a quote about the movie which sums up my opinion:

The Final Word
“War Horse” is a sort of litmus test for how you feel about Steven Spielberg’s films. It’s a beautiful movie, stunning to look at, with echoes of film history all throughout, reaching back to ‘Gone With the Wind,’ ‘The Searchers,’ Spielberg’s own ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and more. It’s also unapologetically sentimental. Spielberg all but begs you to cry, and unless you’re a heartless cad, you probably will.” ? Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic

I feel that War Horse makes up for Spielberg’s films The Last Days and Schindler’s List, both of which should be withdrawn, or at least not shown to children in Holocaust education classes in schools.

December 24, 2011

what students can learn from Michael Berenbaum’s book “A Promise to Remember: The Holocaust in the Words and Voices of its Survivors”

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:26 am

I have not read Michael Berenbaum’s book A Promise to Remember, published by Boston Bulfinch Press in 2003, but a review of the book by Robert Hutcheson, a teacher in Missouri, gives some insights into what this books offers to students in Holocaust education classes.  You can read the full review here.

This quote is from Robert Hutcheson’s book review:

In “The Sonderkommando” chapter, Sam Itzkowitz (see CD) tells of his experiences and describes the death of Bess Platka, the details of which should be shared in pre-college classrooms only with care and discretion. She strangles her baby rather than letting the SS man do it, throws the corpse in his face, hits him over the head with a large beer bottle, and grabs his gun and empties the chamber into him before she meets her own death. This chapter also uses the rather famous and somewhat lurid sketches of David Olére (who painted under the name “Prisoner No. 106144”) which one should also use with great care in the classroom (I would not use most of these myself, though his later painting, “The End of Law and the Rights of Man,” 1950, at the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters House could be used with older students if a print can be obtained). The photo of clothing falling out of a warehouse door (22), however, pointedly and silently witnesses to some of the prisoners who were gassed at Auschwitz.

I have highlighted two different sentences in this single paragraph.  The story of Bess Platka is reminiscent of the story of Franceska Mann, who shot an SS man at Auschwitz.  I previously blogged about her here.  Note that Bess Platka didn’t wait for an SS man to grab her baby and kill it in some monstrous fashion.  No, she took the initiative and got revenge for all the babies whose heads had been bashed against a tree by a German soldier! I previously blogged about head bashing stories here.

The last sentence in the quote above is about the clothes found in a warehouse at Auschwitz.  The clothing “pointedly and silently witnesses to some of the prisoners who were gassed at Auschwitz.”

Clothing spilling out of a door at Auschwitz-Birkenau

How does this clothing prove that prisoners were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau?  (more…)

December 23, 2011

“ordinary people can do monstrous things” — the story of Sidney Finkel, a Holocaust survivor

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:10 am

Sidney (Sevek) Finkel was born in Poland in December 1931. When he was 7 years old, Germany invaded Poland and his family was forced to live in a ghetto where 20,000 Jews were crowded into only 182 buildings.  You can read Sevek’s full story in an article in a Chicago newspaper here.  Finkel is now 80 years old and for more than 15 years, he has been educating 8th graders in America on the Holocaust.

The title of my blog post today comes from a line in the Chicago newspaper article in which Sevek tells the story of his sister Ronia and her new-born baby.  An ordinary German soldier threw the baby out of a second-story window and then shot Ronia.

How does Sidney Finkel explain this monstrous behavior of the German people?  This quote is from the newspaper article:

“People want to believe the Germans were monsters,” he said. “They think they had horns growing out their heads.

“But they were ordinary people. I would not be surprised if, after tossing my niece out that window and murdering my sister, he went home and read bedtime stories to his own children as he tucked them in.

“That’s the lesson to be learned. That ordinary people can do monstrous things.”

Virtually every Holocaust survivor has a similar story to tell.  Babies were thrown up into the air and shot like clay pigeons.  Babies were grabbed out of their mother’s arms and their heads were smashed against a tree or a wall. Babies were torn in half like a phone book, as witnessed by Rutka Laskier. Live babies were thrown into a burning pit, as witnessed by Elie Weisel on his first night in Auschwitz-Birkenau.  I previously blogged here about Sidney Glucksman who saw babies stuffed into bags and soldiers swinging the bags against concrete walls, killing the babies.

I once attended a Holocaust art show in which there was a painting that showed babies being thrown out of a window. This story is so universal that I would be suspicious of any Holocaust Survivor who did not include, in his or her story, some mention of babies being killed in some monstrous way by ordinary German soldiers.   (more…)

December 22, 2011

The Dachau gas chamber re-examined

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:23 am

The Inconvenient History blog has a new article entitled Reexamining the “gas chamber” of Dachau. The article, which was written by Thomas Dalton, can be read in full here.  In the article, Dalton points out several things about the Dachau “gas chamber” that I never noticed, but he also missed a couple of things that I saw on several visits to Dachau.

One thing that I noticed in the Dachau “gas chamber” is shown in the photo below, taken by Thomas Dalton, and included in his article.

Photo of the east wall of Dachau "gas chamber" Photo Credit: Thomas Dalton

On the far right in the photo above, you can see the faint outline of what looks like a column that is about one foot wide and extends about six inches from the wall.  I have no idea what is inside this brick column, but it could have something to do with the “compressor” which was mentioned in the Chavez Report.  I had been inside the Dachau gas chamber several times before I noticed the column; unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of it.

Wooden screen on the East wall of the Dachau "gas chamber" Photo taken in May, 1945 Photo Credit: Donald Jackson

On April 30, 1945, the day after the Dachau concentration camp was liberated, the 40th Combat Engineer Regiment, which was supporting the 45th Thunderbird Division, arrived to take over. The photo above shows Eldon Patterson of E Company, 40th Combat Engineers standing in front of Baracke X. The door into the “wooden shed” was blocked by a pile of corpses and it may even have been nailed shut which would have discouraged anyone from looking behind it.

Before the first proceedings of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau began in November 1945, a War Crimes Investigation Team had summarized its findings in the Report of the Atrocities Committed at Dachau Concentration Camp, signed by JAGD Col. David Chavez Jr. on 7 May 1945.

The Chavez Report stated on page 56 that the wooden structure, shown against the east wall of the crematorium in the photo above, was a “Wooden shed believed to contain a pump or compressor.”  The wording of the Report implies that no one went into the “wooden shed” to see if the pump or compressor “believed” to be hidden there was actually there.   (more…)

December 21, 2011

Adolf Hitler, the carpet eater (Teppichfresser)

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:17 am

A big THANK YOU to Herbert Stolpmann, a reader of my blog, who directed me to William Shirer’s book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which is the source of the claim that Adolf Hitler was a Teppichfresser.

Shirer first wrote about this in his 1941 book Berlin Diary.  

This quote is from his diary:

Sept. 22, 1938. This morning, I noticed something very interesting. I was having breakfast in the garden of the Dresen Hotel, where Hitler is stopping, when the great man suddenly appeared, strode past me, and went down to the edge of the Rhine to inspect his river yacht.


I think [Hitler] is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. And now I understand the meaning of an expression the party hacks were using when we sat around drinking in the Dressen last night. They kept talking about the “Teppichfresser”‘, the “carpet-eater”.  At first I didn’t get it, and then someone explained it in a whisper. They said, Hitler has been having some of his nervous crises lately and that in recent days they’ve taken a strange form. Whenever he goes on a rampage about Benes or the Czechs he flings himself to the floor and chews the edges of the carpet hence the Teppichfresser. After seeing him this morning, I can believe it.

Shirer later included this story in his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich which was first published in 1961.

Here is the exact quote from page 391 of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:

“Hitler was in a highly nervous state. On the morning of the twenty-second [of September 1938] I was having breakfast on the terrace of the Hotel Dressen, where the talks were to take place, when Hitler strode past on his way down to the riverbank to inspect his yacht. He seemed to have a peculiar tic. Every few steps he cocked his right shoulder nervously, his left leg snapping up as he did so. He had ugly, black patches under his eyes. He seemed to be, as I noted in my diary [Berlin Dairy] that evening, on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

“Teppichfresser!” muttered my German companion, an editor who secretly despised the Nazis. And he explained that Hitler had been in such a maniacal mood over the Czechs the last few days that on more than one occasion he had lost control of himself completely, hurling himself to the floor and chewing the edge of the carpet. Hence the term “carpet eater.” The evening before, while talking with some of the party leaders at the Dreesen, I had heard the expression applied to the Fuehrer — in whispers, of course.”

The quote above is from Chapter 12, The Road to Munich.  The sub heading is Chamberlain at Godesberg: September 22-23.  This section of Shirer’s book begins with this explanation of what is happening:

Though Chamberlain was bringing to Hitler all that he had asked for at their Berchtesgaden meeting, both men were uneasy as they met at the little Rhine town of Godesberg on the afternoon of September 22nd.

So both Hitler and Neville Chamberlian were “uneasy.”  Shirer wrote that it was “an editor who secretly despised the Nazis,” who told him about Hitler’s habits.  I wonder what the editor who despised the Nazis said about Chamberlain.  If we only knew his name, maybe we could ask him.

According to Mr. Stolpmann, who is a native German speaker, the term Teppichfresser has no other meaning. It is not like the English expression “chewing the fat,” which does not mean literally chewing fat.  However, the German language has two different words for eat:  essen and fressen.  The word “fressen” is used to refer to the way an animal eats, and when used in reference to a human, it is a grave insult.

Hitler was from Austria, where the natives are noted for their nice table manners.  To call an Austrian a “fresser” would be the worst possible insult.  I once went on a guided tour of Austria, and the guide felt the need to tell me (a boorish American) to watch my table manners while in Austria.

Shirer also wrote on page 518 in his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich about how

“the S.S.-Gestapo would stage a fake attack on the radio station at Gleiwitz, near the Polish border, using condemned concentration camp inmates outfitted in Polish uniforms.”

On page 519, Shirer wrote:

On October 19, 1944, [Alfred] Naujocks deserted to the Americans and at Nuremberg a year later made a number of sworn affidavits, in one of which he preserved for history the account of the “incident” which Hitler used to justify his attack on Poland.

I previously blogged about Alfred Naujocks and the start of World War II here.

I wish that Eva Braun were still alive so that we could ask her why a beautiful young woman like her would stay with a man like Hitler who was a Teppichfresser.  And even worse, a man who faked an attack on a radio station to start a world war.

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