Scrapbookpages Blog

January 16, 2012

The woman who “slid down the chute” into an Auschwitz gas chamber

A regular reader of my blog provided a link to an excellent article written by Thomas Kues. You can read some of his articles on the Inconvenient History blog .

Thomas Kues is a serious historian of the Holocaust, aka a revisionist. The title of his latest article is How to Escape from a Homicidal Gas Chamber.  The title is a joke: Kues does not really give instructions on how to escape from a gas chamber, in the event that there is another Holocaust, in which there is a mass gassing of Jews.  Instead, he writes about Holocaust survivors who claimed that they were inside a homicidal gas chamber, but somehow managed to escape.

Kues starts off by mentioning “the peculiar fate of Moshe Peer” who was gassed six times at Bergen-Belsen but he survived.  Most historians deny that there was a gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen.

The first trial of the German “war criminals” was The Belsen Trial where SS men and women who had previously worked at Auschwitz before being transferred to Bergen-Belsen were put on trial for crimes allegedly committed at Auschwitz, as well as for crimes at Belsen.

The British had jurisdiction over the Auschwitz “war criminals” by virtue of the fact that the former Auschwitz staff members had foolishly stayed behind to help the British after the Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over them by Heinrich Himmler on April 15, 1945.

The very first person to testify about an Auschwitz gas chamber, in a court of law, was Sohpia Litwinska.  Kues quotes from her “testimony” and then mentions that Litwinska stated in a previous “affidavit” that she and the others “slid down the chute through some doors into a large room.”

Franz Hoessler was the man who pulled Sophia Kitwinska out of an Auschwitz gas chamber

Kues does not quote from the affidavit of Sophia, but I have it on my website, so I will quote it for my readers.

As quoted in the book The Belsen Trial, Sophia Litwinska said the following in her affidavit:

AT AUSCHWITZ, on 24th December, 1942, I was paraded in company with about 19,000 other prisoners, all of them women. Present on parade were Doctors Mengele and Konig and Rapportfuhrer Tauber. I was one of the 3000 prisoners picked out of the 19,000 by the doctors and taken to our huts, where we were stripped naked by other prisoners and our clothes taken away. We were then taken by tipper-type lorries to the gas chamber chute. They were large lorries, about eight in all and about 300 persons on each lorry. On arrival at the gas chamber the lorry tipped up and we slid down the chute through some doors into a large room. The room had showers all around, towels and soap and large numbers of benches. There were also small windows high up near the roof. Many were injured coming down the chute and lay where they fell. Those of us who could sat down on the benches provided and immediately afterwards the doors of the room were closed. My eyes then began to water, I started to coughing and had a pain in my chest and throat. Some of the other people fell down and others coughed and foamed at the mouth. After being in the room for about two minutes the door was opened and an S.S. man came in wearing a respirator. He called my name and then pulled me out of the room and quickly shut the door again. When I got outside I saw S.S man Franz Hoessler, whom I identify as No. 1 on photograph 9. He took me to hospital, where I stayed for about six weeks, receiving special treatment from Dr. Mengele. For the first few days I was at the hospital I found it impossible to eat anything without vomiting. I can only think that I was taken out of the gas chamber because I had an Aryan husband and therefore was in a different category from the other prisoners, who were all Jews. I now suffer from a weak heart and had two attacks since being at Belsen. I do not know the names of any persons who went into the gas chamber with me.

Note that Sophia identified Franz Hoessler, the man in the photo above, as the SS man who saved her.  In her affidavit, Sophia is testifying against him.  That’s the thanks he got for going inside a gas chamber and pulling her out in the nick of time.

I blogged about a woman who was put into a gas chamber by a “tipper type lorry” at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/polish-political-prisoner-was-driven-in-a-dump-truck-down-a-ramp-and-straight-into-a-gas-chamber-at-auschwitz/

It is not clear which of the seven gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau had a chute for sliding down into it, like the one that Sohia Litwinska mentioned in her testimony at The Belsen Trial.  The Krema IV and Krema V gas chambers were on the ground floor and had “small windows high up near the roof” where the gas pellets were thrown in by the SS men. But neither of these two gas chambers had a “gas chamber chute” for dumping the victims into the gas chamber from “tipper-type lorries,” which Americans would call dump trucks.

According to the drawings done by Walter Dejaco, one of the architects of the Krema II building, the original blueprint showed a corpse slide for rolling bodies down into the vestibule between the two morgues, which were later converted into an undressing room and a gas chamber.

The corpse slide was never built and instead, stairs were built for the Jews to walk down into the undressing room. Dejaco was acquitted by a court in Austria in 1972; at his trial, the drawings of the corpse slide were entered as evidence.

Is it possible that Sophia had heard about the original blueprint for Krema II?  Keep in mind that she had an “Aryan husband.”  For all we know, her Aryan husband was a friend of Walter Dejaco and he told her husband about the original plans for Krema II.

Dr. Josef Mengele, October 1943

Another survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau was Regina Bialek, a Polish political prisoner, who was saved from the gas chamber at the last moment by Dr. Josef Mengele, who is shown in the photo above. Bialek gave a deposition which was entered into the British Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others, also known as The Belsen Trial.

According to Bialek’s testimony, the gassing of the Jews at Birkenau did not stop, even on Christmas day.  Thomas Kues quoted from her testimony in his article. I also quoted from her testimony on my website scrapbookpages.com.

The following quote is an excerpt from the Deposition of Regina Bialek (Pole, aged 28):

3. On 25th December 1943, I was sick with typhus and was picked out at a selection made by doctors Mengele and Tauber along with about 350 other women. I was made to undress and taken by lorry to a gas chamber. There were seven gas chambers at Auschwitz. This particular one was underground and the lorry was able to run down the slope and straight into the chamber.

Here we were tipped unceremoniously on the floor. The room was about 12 yards square and small lights on the wall dimly illuminated it. When the room was full a hissing sound was heard coming from the centre point on the floor and gas came into the room.

After what seemed about ten minutes some of the victims began to bite their hands and foam at the mouth, and blood issued from their ears, eyes and mouth, and their faces went blue.

I suffered from all these symptoms, together with a tight feeling at the throat. I was half conscious when my number was called out by Dr. Mengele and I was led from the chamber. I attribute my escape to the fact that the daughter of a friend of mine who was an Aryan and a doctor at Auschwitz had seen me being transported to the chamber and had told her mother, who immediately appealed to Dr. Mengele.

Apparently he realized that as a political prisoner I was of more value alive than dead, and I was released.

4. I think that the time to kill a person in this particular gas chamber would be from 15 to 20 minutes.

5. I was told that the staffs of the prisoners who worked in the gas chamber and crematorium next door changed every three months, the old staff being taken to a villa in the camp to do some repair work. Here they were locked in the rooms and gas bombs thrown through the window.

I estimate that in December, 1943, about 7,000 people disappeared from Auschwitz by way of the gas chamber and crematorium.

There were two underground gas chambers at Birkenau, but neither of them had a ramp where a lorry or truck could drive down into the gas chamber, as Regina Bialek described in her deposition.

Ruins of Krema II undressing room at Auschwitz-Birkenau

My 2005 photo above shows that the underground gas chamber at Krema II had steps down into the undressing room, not a ramp where a truck could drive into the building.