Scrapbookpages Blog

May 25, 2012

the grandson of Rudolf Hoess is still bothered by the shame associated with his family name

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 2:04 pm

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.

Map of Auschwitz main camp shows the Commandant’s house on the far left

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.

Entrance road into the Auschwitz main camp

The SS hospital was across the street from the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp

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.

The rear of the house where Rudolf Hoess lived

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 front of the house where Rudolf Hoess lived

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 SS Political Department was located right next to the gas chamber and crematorium at Auschwitz

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.

The chimney at the crematorium was too far from the Commandant's garden for ashes to get on the strawberries

The chimney at the Auschwitz crematorium was too far from the Commandant’s garden for ashes to get on the strawberries

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.

the Lopuchowo forest in Poland where 2,000 Jews were executed by the Nazis during WWII

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:58 am

This quote is from an article in about a group of San Francisco Bay Area teens who participated in this year’s March of the Living:

Walking through the Lopuchowo forest near Tykocin in northeastern Poland, Zoe Weitzman imagined she could hear the cries of the 2,000 Jews who were executed there by the Nazis in August 1941. Weitzman, 19, a senior at Los Gatos High School, says she will never forget the experience.

I visited Tykocin in October 1998 on my first trip to Poland.  I was with a private tour guide, who wanted me to visit the nearby Lopuchowo forest after seeing Tykocin.  She told me that this was where the Nazis had executed thousands of Jewish residents of Tykocin.

I thought to myself at the time:  Seriously?  The Nazis wasted bullets when Tykocin was only a short distance from Treblinka where the Jews could have been gassed?  This didn’t make any sense to me.  I didn’t believe it.  So I told my guide that I didn’t want to take the time to see the forest.  “We’ve got to get to Treblinka,” I said. “We’re losing light.”

A few years later, I heard about the small town of Jedwabne in Poland where, just days after the Nazis occupied the town, on July 10, 1941, the Polish residents murdered almost all of the Jews in the town.  Just like Tykocin, the town of Jedwabne had a population that was half Jews and half Catholics.

I purchased the book by Jan Gross entitled Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne and learned the truth about Jedwabne.  The story of what had really happened in Jedwabne had been kept secret for 60 years.  As I read the book, I thought of Tykocin and the Jews who were allegedly shot by the Nazis, only a few miles from the gas chambers of Treblinka.

This quote is from the website

In the small town of Jedwabne in Northeast Poland, Jews lived side by side with local Poles for over two centuries; by the outbreak of the Second World War, they constituted more than half of the town’s 2,500 inhabitants. Relations were peaceful for the most part until July 10, 1941 when, just days after the Germans occupied Jedwabne, almost the entire Jewish population of the town was murdered. Beginning in the morning, Jews were chased, beaten and killed with clubs, knives and iron bars. Women were raped; a small girl’s head was cut off and kicked about. Jews were rounded up from their homes and brought to the market square where the town rabbi and others were forced to carry the statue of Lenin and to sing, “The war is because of us.” At the end of the day, all remaining Jews were forced into a nearby barn that was then doused with gasoline and set on fire. Music was played to drown out their cries. No Jewish witnesses were meant to survive, but seven managed to escape.

A memorial plaque that was erected at the site of the barn after the war read: “Here is the site of the massacre where the Gestapo and Hitler’s gendarmes burned alive 1600 Jewish people. 10.VII. 1941.” Such was the official version of history for almost 60 years, until the appearance of the book Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community of Jedwabne, Poland by Jan T. Gross, a Polish-born Professor at NYU.  In the course of his research, Gross discovered that, in fact, it was not the recently arrived Nazis, but local Polish residents who had carried out this massacre. The book, first published in Polish in May 2000, caused a painful and far-reaching public debate. The dispute was fueled by the realization that the book would soon appear in English, making the story widely known beyond Poland’s borders.

Did you catch that?  The Nazis were blamed for burning Jews alive in a barn in Jedwabne, when it was actually the Polish residents of the town who had murdered the Jews.  Did the same thing happen in Tykocin?

Notice the dates of the massacres:  In July 1941, the Jews were killed by the Poles in Jedwabne, but in August 1941, the Jews from Tykocin were killed in the Lupuchowo forest by the Nazis.  What are the chances of that happening?