Scrapbookpages Blog

April 30, 2012

Student trip to Auschwitz sponsored by the Holocaust Education Trust

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 5:15 pm

I like to read newspaper accounts of the student trips from the UK to Auschwitz.  I always learn something new.

In a recent article in the Westminster Chronicle, which you can read here, I learned this startling new information:

We stopped at the point [in Auschwitz-Birkenau] where the men were separated from the women and children, and where the prisoners who were deemed unfit to work were taken straight to the main gas chambers. All that remains of the [gas] chambers is a pile of rubble, as they were demolished when the camp was liberated.

The gas chambers were demolished WHEN the camp was liberated?  According to the official Holocaust history, after the Nazis abandoned Auschwitz on Jan. 18, 1945, they came back to the camp twice to blow up the gas chambers in order to destroy the evidence BEFORE the Soviet liberators arrived.

Did something get lost in translation?  Did a tour guide at Birkenau really tell the British students that the Soviets demolished the gas chambers WHEN THE CAMP WAS LIBERATED?  That’s Holocaust denial — punishable by 5 years in prison in 19 countries!!!

But wait!  There’s more.  This quote from the article tells how the buildings in the main Auschwitz camp were built:

We were met by a guide who walked with us through the main entrance and into some of the buildings constructed by slave labour.

Read any history book about Auschwitz and you will learn that the buildings in the main camp were originally built for migratory farm workers, who stayed there between jobs in the seasonal work on large German estates. This farm labor exchange was built in a district of the town of Auschwitz, called Zazole, in 1916. Auschwitz was then in Galicia, a province in the Austro-Hungarian sector of the former country of Poland, which had been divided between the Russians, Austrians and Prussians (Germans) in 1795.  At the time that the concentration camp was opened in Auschwitz, this area had been incorporated into the Greater German Reich; it was not part of German-occupied Poland.

Barrack building at Auschwitz was built in 1916

Barrack building at Auschwitz was built in 1916

There were 22 buildings in the Auschwitz farm labor camp, which was originally built in 1916.  14 of the buildings were originally only one story high. The Nazis remodeled these buildigs into two story buildings with attic space. In the photo above, you can see a slight difference in the color of the bricks on the upper floors.

Did the Germans use slave labor to build these buildings in 1916?  If they did, it is news to me.

This quote from the article gives more new information about Auschwitz:

First comes a display of hair cuttings from women who had their heads shaved, their hair used on an industrial scale to weave material for guards’ uniforms.

So that’s why the hair was cut from the heads of the women.  It was used to make hair shirts for the Auschwitz guards!

Apparently the tour guides do not tell the students that the heads of the prisoners were shaved in an attempt to get rid of the lice that spreads typhus.

Prosthetic limbs and crutches on display at Auschwitz

A display case in Room 5 of Block 5, pictured above, is filled with the artificial legs and crutches which were brought to the Auschwitz camp by incoming prisoners. My tour guide in 1998 explained that the wounded Polish war veterans from World War I accounted for most of this huge collection.

This quote from the news article has a different explanation for this display:

Then there were prosthetic limbs, crutches and sticks taken from disabled prisoners who had been taken straight to the gas chambers, along with piles of glasses worn by the men and women, suitcases bearing the names of prisoners, and children’s shoes and clothes.

So disabled prisoners were brought to Auschwitz to be gassed?  I thought disabled people were sent to Hartheim Castle in Austria to be gassed.

This quote from the news article is about the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp:

We continued on, deep in thought, to the most sinister of all the buildings, the gas chamber.

It was a little like a factory inside – just a bare room with a hole in the ceiling. You would have no idea what happened in there without knowing the background. Or at least until you see the crematoriums and their large furnaces, built to dispose of the bodies of thousands of people.

You can read about the gas chamber in the main camp on my website here, and you can read about the four holes in the ceiling here.

One of the reconstructed holes in the ceiling of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp

I don’t think the students should be taken to see the gas chamber. To see the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp is to become a Holocaust denier.

In the gas chamber in the main camp, there is no way to heat the Zyklon-B pellets to release the gas and no way to vent the gas from the room.  There is no container in which to put the pellets, and it would have been a problem to retrieve the pellets from the floor after the gassing.  The gas chamber is right next to the crematory room and there would have been danger of an explosion.

For years, the guides at Auschwitz told tourists that the gas chamber was original.  Now, at least, they admit that it is a reconstruction, done by the Soviets.  It is now time for the tour guides to tell student visitors that the brick buildings in the main camp were built in 1916, but not by using “slave labor.”