Update: June 21, 2013
There is a documentary, by Chanoch Zeevi, entitled Hitler’s Chidren which you can watch on this blog. This quote is from the blog:
“Zeevi has tracked down five descendents of high ranking, powerful Nazi officials with one purpose: to examine the effects of an inherited legacy.”
The documentary shows Rainer Hoess, the grandson of Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz. Rainer visited Auschwitz and spoke to a group of Israeli teenagers.
The documentary shows the house where Rudolf Hoess lived with his wife and children. Rainer was particularly disturbed by a gate on the property. What was not pointed out in the film is that the gate looked out on the countryside that was opposite the Auschwitz main camp; the gas chamber building was not visible to anyone looking through this gate.
Strangely, the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp, that was “only yards from the gate” into the yard of the Hoess house, was not shown in the documentary. Rainer should have been shown the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp, and someone should have explained to him exactly how the gas chamber worked.
Monika Goeth, the daughter of Amon Goeth, Commandant of the Plaszow camp, which is shown in Schindler’s List, is also shown in the documentary, as she tells about meeting a survivor of the Plaszow camp who has a tattoo on his arm. It should have been mentioned in the documentary that only prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau were tattooed. This man must have been sent from Plaszow to Auschwitz, but he somehow survived.
Continue reading my original post:
Rainer Hoess recently visited the Auschwitz main camp, where his father, the son of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Hoess, was raised in a house that was only a few yards from the gas chamber. You can see a video here which shows the garden of the Commandant’s house where the children of Rudolf Hoess played. Rainer Hoess was particularly disgusted by the sight of the fancy wrought iron gate that opened from the garden into the Auschwitz main camp; he referred to it as the “gate into hell.”
This quote is from the article which shows the video:
When he was a child Rainer Hoess was shown a family heirloom.
He remembers his mother lifting the heavy lid of the fireproof chest with a large swastika on the lid, revealing bundles of family photos.
They featured his father as a young child playing with his brothers and sisters, in the garden of their grand family home.
The photos show a pool with a slide and a sand pit – an idyllic family setting – but one that was separated from the gas chambers of Auschwitz by just a few yards.
It was where his grandmother told the children to wash the strawberries they picked because they smelled of ash from the concentration camp ovens.
How far was the Commandant’s house from the gas chamber?
The aerial map of the Auschwitz main camp, shown in the photo below, includes the location of the Hoess house, which is on the extreme left in the photo.
The photo below shows the street that runs along the outside of the original camp. Organized tours start on this street, then turn right at the first intersection and go through the Arbeit Macht Frei gate, which is to the right, but out of camera range in this shot. This street goes straight ahead to the gas chamber, and the former Political Section, which are to the right at the next intersection. The SS hospital, which is across from the gas chamber, can be seen on the right; it is the light-colored, two-story building.
I took the photo above early in the morning in October 2005, before the tour groups entered this part of the camp. The street shown in the photo continues on to the rear of the house where Hoess lived. The photo below shows the rear of the house.
In the photo above, the garden is on the left side of the house, but it is out of camera range in the photo.
The garden, where the wrought iron gate is located, is on the far right side of the photo above. On the left side, but not shown in the photo, is the fence around the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Why would the Commandant live so close to the gas chamber? Why not? The SS hospital was even closer to the gas chamber than the Commandant’s house, and the SS Political Department was on the other side of the gas chamber, as shown in the photo below.
The photo above shows the gallows where Rudolf Hoess was hanged. On the left is the reconstructed chimney of the crematorium; on the right is the building where the SS Political Department was located.
What does all this have to do with anything? It shows you how callous the SS men were. It didn’t bother them that Jews were being gassed, 900 at a time, in a gas chamber that was right in the center of where they lived and worked and recovered when they were wounded or sick. It didn’t bother the Commandant that his children had to wash the ashes off the strawberries from the garden before eating them.
How do we know that Jews were gassed at Auschwitz? We know it because Rudolf Hoess confessed after he was almost tortured to death by the British. You can read his confessions (plural) on my website here. You can read another blog post about Rudolf Hoess here.