Scrapbookpages Blog

July 17, 2012

What prompted the Luftwaffe to transfer Allied airmen out of Buchenwald and into a POW camp?

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:53 am

Update July 18, 2012:

A reader of my blog supplied a link to the death records at the Buchenwald camp.  According to the death records, L.C. Beck died in the Buchenwald camp on October 31, 1944.  The date that the first Allied Airmen were taken out of Buchenwald and sent to a POW camp was October 19, 1944.  So L.C. Beck died after the first airmen were taken out of Buchenwald, which means that the story told by Edwin Ritter is wrong. A big Thank You to all the readers who contributed to this correction of the facts.

Continue reading my original post:

I am writing again today, about the captured Allied airmen who were sent to Buchenwald, to answer a comment on a previous blog post about the airmen which you can read here.  In my previous post, I questioned whether Phillip Lamason was the person responsible for contacting the Luftwaffe and getting the airmen out of Buchenwald.

Here is the comment made by a reader of my blog:

Records show that Lieutenant L.C. Beck died in Buchenwald from purulent pleurisy on the evening of 29 November 1944. That’s over 5 weeks AFTER the main group of allied airmen (156 of them) were transferred by the Luftwaffe to a POW camp. So if Beck died in Ritter’s arms, as stated above, he must have been part of the small group of airmen who were not transferred with the main group on 19 Ocotber 1944. Therefore, it would have been impossible for Luftwaffe Doctor to arrange the transfer of the main group of airmen, as you elude to above. Thus, the main group of airmen must have been released / transferred because of Lamason’s efforts, as is well documented by many reliable and reputable sources.

Phillip Lamason was the senior officer, and the greatest hero, in the group of 168 pilots who were sent to Buchenwald.  He has his own page on Wikipedia which you can read in full here.  This quote is from Wikipedia:

For several weeks Lamason negotiated with the camp authorities to have the airmen transferred to a POW camp, but his requests were denied. At great risk, Lamason secretly got word to the Luftwaffe of the Allied airmen’s captivity and, seven days before their scheduled execution, 156 of the 168 prisoners were transferred to Stalag Luft III. Most of the airmen credit their survival at Buchenwald to the leadership and determination of Lamason.

The Wikipedia entry for Lamason does not give any of the details of how Lamason secretly got word to the Luftwaffe.  I have searched and searched on the Internet to find more information on how Lamason contacted the Luftwaffe. I didn’t find out anything about how Lamason secretly contacted the Luftwaffe when he was at  Buchenwald, but I did find some interesting information on the website of the National Museum of the Air Force, which I am quoting:

ARMY AIR FORCES VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST

Buchenwald, An Example
Germans built Buchenwald in 1937 as a work camp for the “undesirables” of Nazi society, mostly Jews and political prisoners. It later became one of a number of German “death camps.” At war’s end, as many as 60,000 people had died there. Even more died at such larger camps as Dachau and Auschwitz, which were run with greater “efficiency.”

In later summer and autumn of 1944, 82 AAF and 86 British Commonwealth aviators were captives at Buchenwald. Most had been shot down over France and had made connections with the French Resistance in their effort to return to their units, as they were expected to do. They had received French identification papers and were dressed as civilians to avoid capture. A traitor within the French Underground betrayed them to the Germans, and they were captured. As Allied forces prepared to enter Paris, they were evacuated with a large number of political prisoners to Buchenwald in Weimar, Germany. They arrived after a harrowing five-day train ride jammed in boxcars with little food or water. There they were shaved bare and spent the next three weeks without shoes or shelter, sleeping on paving stones. A Canadian aviator described the daily ration as “a little bowl of soup made from grass or cabbage leaves, and an inch of bread and three little potatoes.” One pilot lost more than 65 pounds during his six weeks there.

Eventually, the POWs and other prisoners were placed in a barracks, 600 men to a building designed for 250. They slept on wooden shelves, five to a bunk, so crowded that no one could turn over until all did at the same time. P-47 pilot Lt. L.C. Beck Jr. and Royal Air Force Flying Officer P.D. Hemmens died before the airmen were transferred to a POW camp in October-November 1944. There they still faced the hardships of imprisonment, but at least they were free from the horrors of a death camp.

Notice that the article on the website of the National Museum of the Air Force mentions that Lt. L.C. Beck died before the airmen were transferred to a POW camp.  This contradicts what was written in the comment on my blog and proves that I was right when I wrote on my blog, that “Jack Beck” died before the airmen were transferred to a POW camp.

I previously wrote that the reason that the Luftwaffe found out about the airmen at Buchenwald was because a Luftwaffe doctor came to the camp to sign a death certificate for “Jack Beck.”  It may have been Phillip Lamason who contacted the Luftwaffe and got the Luftwaffe doctor to come to the camp on the pretext of signing a death certificate.

The strange thing about the whole story of the American Airmen being sent to Buchenwald is that it was kept secret for years.  Why keep it a secret when the Allied Airmen were not doing anything wrong? In spite of the fact that the Allied Airmen were completely innocent, they were unjustly sent to Buchenwald which was one of the two main camps for illegal combatants who were helping the French Resistance, the other one being Natzweiler.

After World War II was over, an American Military Tribunal conducted a series of trials of the German war criminals who had served in the Nazi concentration camps in Germany.

At the opening of the trial of the Buchenwald war criminals on April 11, 1947, the court president, Brig. Gen. Emil Charles Kiel, asked their American defense counsel, “How do the accused plead?”

To this, Captain Emmanuel Lewis, the attorney for the defense, replied:

“As chief defense counsel, I enter a plea of not guilty for all of the accused. Before we begin, if it please the court, there is a matter of great concern. The accused are charged with victimizing captured and unarmed citizens of the United States, and they seek to defend themselves against this charge. But despite our repeated requests, the prosecution has failed to furnish us with the name or whereabouts of even one single American victim.”

Lt. Col. William D. Denson, the chief prosecutor, replied:

“We are unfortunately unable to comply. The victims were last seen being carted into the crematories. From there they went up the chimney in smoke, and all the power of the United States and all the documents in Augsburg cannot tell us which way they went. We are sorry that we cannot furnish their whereabouts, but we fail to see that it is material whether one American or fifty thousand were incarcerated in Buchenwald. The crimes of these accused would be just as heinous.”

Why would the American prosecutor of the German war criminals of Buchenwald say that American airmen “went up the chimney in smoke,” when he must have known that the airmen had been saved by the Luftwaffe?  Was it because he didn’t want to say anything good about the Luftwaffe, or because he didn’t want to imply that the American airmen had been helping the French Resistance and that’s why they were sent to one of the main camps for illegal combatants who were fighting with the French Resistance?

Edwin Ritter, the man who held “Jack Beck” in his arms when he died, admitted that he (Ritter) was helping the French Resistance, as I previously wrote in a blog post here.

July 16, 2012

Wooden enclosure found at Dachau Baracke X by American liberators

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

Photo taken by American soldier at the liberation of Dachau Photo Credit: imgur.com/a/whqFJ

(Click on the photo above to enlarge)  Note the wooden enclosure on the far left side of the photo.

Photo taken on April 30, 1945 at Dachau shows wooden enclosure  Photo Credit: Donald E. Jackson

I have enhanced the two old photos above, using Photoshop, so as to show as much detail as possible. The building shown in the photos is Baracke X which was the building where the gas chamber and crematory ovens were located. In the photo immediately above, it appears that the wooden enclosure has a door into it. The door that is leaning against the structure appears to have been removed from some place else and put there.

Note what appears to be two German civilians on the left in the photo above. According to Donald E. Jackson, who took this photo in May 1945, “We used civilian wagons to haul the bodies and you can see them in other photos. The civilians loaded the bodies and unloaded them into the trench [at Leitenberg].”

Photo of Baracke X taken on April 30, 1945 after Dachau was liberated

Note that the wooden enclosure is shown in the old photo above, taken one day after Dachau was liberated. My  2007 photo below shows Baracke X as it looks today.

Baracke X at Dachau — the wall that was hidden behind the wooden structure is on the far left

Close-up of the section of the Baracke X wall that was hidden by the wooden enclosure

A discussion about the first photo shown above, written by a family member of the person who took the photo, can be read here.  The photo was sent to the Dachau Memorial Site, where a person who works there identified the photo and wrote this description:

Bodies in a farmer’s cart or wagon in front of Barack X (the crematorium), It’s possible they had been brought there by the other prisoners after liberation as part of the clean up. This could also be part of the clean up itself and the bodies are on their way to the Leitenburg mass graves. The chimney position shows us that the picture has been flipped. In the background, one can see the wooden enclosure that was used to hide the viewing port and pellet chutes for the camp’s small gas chamber. The door is broken and ajar, as it is in pictures of [it] in the museum.

Note the misspelling of the words Baracke and Leitenberg by a person who works at Dachau.

The second old photo above shows that the first photo, which this person is analyzing, has not been “flipped,” a term which I understand to mean “reversed.”  But forget all that.  The important point here is that someone who works at the Dachau Memorial Site says that the wooden enclosure at Baracke X was used to hide the viewing port (peephole) and the pellet chutes for the gas chamber.

So the official story of Dachau now is that the chutes and the peephole were there when the camp was liberated?  That’s not what a War Crimes Investigation Team said in 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, was a “Wooden shed believed to contain a pump or compressor.”

 The Chavez Report, written by a US Army officer, was entered into the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as Documents 159L and 2430-PS.

The wording of the Chavez Report indicates that no one actually went into the wooden shed, so no one saw the chutes for pouring in the Zyklon-B pellets and the peephole for the SS men to watch the victims die.

An undated addendum, which mentioned the bins, was added to the Chavez Report at a later date.

So when did someone finally see the bins and the peephole? Apparently, not for a long time.  On my website, I have a page on which I have compiled all the descriptions of the gas chamber that I could find.  Not one person who entered the Dachau gas chamber immediately after the liberation of the camp mentioned the chutes on the wall or the screened openings inside the gas chamber.

The former Dachau concentration camp is now a big tourist attraction since is is only about 10 miles from Munich.  Tourists want to have the complete Holocaust experience when they go to Dachau.   The folks at the Memorial Site don’t want to begrudge the tourists the ultimate horror of standing inside a real gas chamber, so the sign that was there when I first visited in May 1997 is now gone.

Sign that was inside Dachau gas chamber from 1965 to 2002

I took the photo of the sign in the Dachau gas chamber in May 2001, but when I returned in May 2003, the sign had been removed.

July 15, 2012

Oshpitzin (Auschwitz) — there’s an App for that

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 7:47 am

Oshpitzin is the Yiddish name for the town formerly known as Auschwitz, which was originally built by the Germans in the year 1270. The Polish name for the town is Oswiecim.  In the context of the Holocaust, the town is still called Auschwitz because the main Auschwitz camp was located in a suburb of the town.  To a new generation of smart phone users, it will now be known as Oshpitzin.

According to a recent news article in JTA, a new iPhone/iPad app called Oshpitzin is now available.  This quote is from the article which you can read in full here:

A project of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, a Jewish prayer and study center in Oswiecim, the app includes augmented reality, testimonies of survivors, an audio-guide of the town’s Jewish heritage sites and 3D models of the destroyed Great Synagogue.

“It opens a totally new way of educating about the Jewish history and the destruction caused by the Holocaust,” Auschwitz Jewish Center Director Tomasz Kuncewicz told JTA. “It’s a way which today is the most appealing to the new generations.”

The app, which supplements an Oshpitzin guidebook and web site that are already operating, was unveiled Tuesday. Kuncewicz said it will be available soon at the iTunes app store and will be released later this summer for Android.

The only surviving Synagogue in Oswiecim

When I went to Auschwitz in the fall of 2005, I visited the Auschwitz Jewish Center which was built next to the only surviving Synagogue in the town.  You can see my 2005 photos of the Synagogue and the Jewish Center on my website here.

According to a brochure which I obtained from the Jewish Center, Jews first settled in Oswiecim 500 years ago. By 1939, over half of the population of Oswiecim was Jewish. This quote is from the brochure: “For several centuries, Jews prospered as traders, merchants, professionals and manufacturers, and were entrusted with tax collection and the administration of the lands of the Polish nobility.”  The second largest ethnic group in Auschwitz was Gypsies, but you don’t hear much about them.

Prominently mentioned in the displays in the Jewish Center are the Haberfeld and Hennenberg families who were engaged in distilling and selling liquor. During Prohibition in America, some of this liquor found its way here. There are persistent rumors that Oshpitzin was also a center for human trafficking.

When I visited Oswiecim in 2005, there were no more Jews left in the town. The last surviving Jew, Shimshon Klueger, died in 2000. Klueger is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Osweicim.

A movie was shown on a TV screen in a small room in the Jewish Center when I visited in 2005. In the movie, several survivors, who were children in 1939, tell about what it was like in Oswiecim before the German invasion of Poland. There was a “large Jewish presence in Auschwitz,” according to one survivor. All of the survivors said that they now live in Israel or the United States, but none of them told anything about how they survived the Holocaust.  (Out of the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, 1.5 million were children.)

One woman survivor said that the Jewish children in Oswiecim were all “organized.” There were many organizations for Jewish children, and she had joined the Zionist movement as a child. Another survivor said that she had a home tutor so that she could learn German. Her father told her that she would be able to go any place in Europe if she could speak German.

One survivor said that the Jewish houses in Oswiecim had no running water, no electricity, no central heating or air conditioning, and no inside toilets, but the Jews had “culture.” Another said that the Jews were not rich, but they had a “rich Jewish life.” One survivor described the life in Oswiecim before the war as “a life of dignity.” All that is now gone; the Nazis not only killed the Jews, they destroyed their rich, dignified way of life in Europe.

Here is the back story on Auschwitz/Oswiecim/Oshpitzin:

The area of Europe, that was inhabited by German tribes in the Middle Ages, became known as the Holy Roman Empire in the year 800. By 1270, the Empire had expanded to include the area known as Upper Silesia, where Auschwitz is located. In 1457, Auschwitz became part of the Kingdom of Poland and the name was changed to Oswiecim.

Most of Silesia was annexed to the German state of Prussia in 1742, except for four duchies. The duchy of Auschwitz was annexed to Galicia, a province which was given to Austria when Poland lost its independence in 1772 and the country was divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Western Galicia soon became known as The Corner of Three Empires: Russia, Prussia and Austria. The town known as Auschwitz, or Oswiecim or Oshpitzin, became a prime location for Jewish traders or merchants during the time that Galicia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Map of the German Empire in 1871

In 1871, Prussia and the other German states, except Austria, united into the Germany Empire. After the defeat of Germany and Austria in World War I, Galicia and the industrial area known as Upper Silesia were given to Poland in the Treaty of Versailles. In 1939, after the joint conquest of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, Upper Silesia was annexed into the Greater German Reich, which at that time consisted of Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland in what is now the Czech Republic.

When railroad lines were built in the 19th century, the little town of Auschwitz, at the junction of three empires, became the crossroads of Europe. There were 44 train lines coming into Auschwitz, making it at one time a larger railroad hub than Penn Station in New York City.

It was because Auschwitz was such an important railroad junction that a camp for migrant workers was built in a suburb of the town in 1916; seasonal farm workers from all over Europe were sent from Auschwitz to the large German estates. The migrant worker camp, with its beautiful brick barracks buildings, was the place that eventually became the Auschwitz I concentration camp.

In 1919, Poland became an independent country again and Auschwitz became a Polish town called Oswiecim. The former migrant worker camp was used as a garrison by the Polish Army.

Brick buildings in Auschwitz main camp were remodeled by the Nazis

The Auschwitz main camp originally had 20 brick barracks buildings; 14 of them were single story buildings and 6 were two stories high. When this camp was converted into the Auschwitz concentration camp, a second story was added to the 14 single story buildings and 8 new two-story buildings were added, making a total of 28 barracks buildings. Between 13,000 and 16,000 concentration camp prisoners were crowded into these 28 buildings where they slept in three-tiered bunks. At one point, in 1942, there were 20,000 prisoners at the Auschwitz main camp.

Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and the town of Oswiecim was captured on September 6th. Following the conquest of Poland, the name of the town reverted back to Auschwitz.

Almost every news article that you read today, and including the articles that you don’t read, will say that the name of the town was originally Oswiecim and the Nazis changed the name to Auschwitz.  I previously blogged about the origin of the names Auschwitz and Birkenau here.

July 14, 2012

The death of Gitta Sereny (author of a book about Franz Stangl, the Commandant of Treblinka)

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:41 am

I have just learned of the death of Gitta Sereny, at the age of 91, in June 2012. She is the famous author who wrote about evil people and their crimes, including Franz Stangl, who was involved in the euthanasia program in Germany before he became the Commandant of the Sobibor death camp for six months and then the Commandant of the Treblinka death camp.  Her book about Stangl, entitled Into That Darkness: From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder was published in 1974, and is still in print.

You can read one of her obituaries here.

Franz Stangl

Franz Stangl was imprisoned by the Allies after the war, but was released two years later, without ever having been put on trial. Following his release, he went to Italy, where he was helped by the Vatican to escape to Syria. He lived with his family in Syria for three years. In 1951, he moved to Brazil, and lived openly, using his real name.

Stangl was a native of Austria, but for years the Austrian authorities declined to bring him to justice for the murder of thousands of Jews at Treblinka. Finally in 1961, a warrant for his arrest was issued, but it was not until six years later that he was captured in Brazil by the famous Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal; he had been working at a Volkswagen factory in Sao Paulo, still using his own name.

In 1969, Dr. Wolfgang Scheffler submitted an expert opinion, based on more recent research, that the total number of persons killed at Treblinka was 900,000. (The number of Jews killed at Auschwitz has recently been reduced to 900,000.)

Franz Stangl was finally put on trial in the Second Treblinka Trial by the court of Assizes at Düsseldorf on October 22, 1970, charged with the deaths of 900,000 people at Treblinka. Stangl confessed to the murders, but in his defense, he said, “My conscience is clear. I was simply doing my duty …”

After his six-month trial in the German court, Stangl was found guilty on December 22, 1970 and sentenced to life in prison in January 1971; he died in prison at Düsseldorf on June 28, 1971, shortly after he was interviewed by Gitta Sereny.

Franz Stangl got his start when he was appointed by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler in 1940 to be the superintendent of the T-4 Euthanasia Program at Schloss Hartheim. He was transferred to the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland in March 1942 where he was the Commandant until September 1942 when he was transferred to the extermination camp at Treblinka.

A poster at Hartheim shows a photo of Franz Stangl

Stangl is pictured on the poster above, which is in the Museum at Hartheim. His photo is on the far right in the left-hand column.

The exhibit at Hartheim makes it clear that Euthanasia started in America before it was done in Germany. One room in the exhibit area at Hartheim has posters from America, as shown in the two photographs below.

Exhibit at Hartheim shows Euthanasia posters in America

Exhibit at Hartheim shows a poster in America

These posters from America promote the idea that heredity is to blame for the mentally and physically handicapped. In Hitler’s Germany, deformed and mentally retarded persons, who had been institutionalized by their families, were sent to Hartheim Castle or the five other euthanasia centers, where they were killed.

The Nazis kept track of how much money the German government had saved by putting these people to death. After the war, these documents were found by General Patton’s army. The total amount saved by killing over 70,000 handicapped people was 885,000,000 Reichsmark or over 3 billion dollars in today’s money.

Gitta Sereny talked about her interview with Franz Stangl in a YouTube video.

This quote about Franz Stangl and his work at Treblinka is from Wikipedia:

Stangl assumed command of Treblinka on September 1, 1942. “He proved to be a highly efficient and dedicated organizer of mass murder, even receiving an official commendation as the ‘best camp commander in Poland’. Always impeccably dressed (he attended the unloading of transports at Treblinka dressed in white riding clothes), soft-voiced, polite and friendly, Stangl was no sadist, but took pride and pleasure in his ‘work’, running the death camp like clockwork.”[5] Stangl wanted his camp to look attractive, so he ordered the paths paved and flowers planted along the sides of Seidel Street, near camp headquarters and SS living quarters. Despite being directly responsible for the camp’s operations, Stangl limited his contact with Jewish prisoners as much as possible. Stangl rarely interfered with unusually cruel acts (other than gassing) perpetrated by his subordinate officers at the camp. Stangl usually wore a white uniform and carried a whip, which caused prisoners to nickname him “The White Death”.[1] He claimed that his dedication had nothing to do with ideology or hatred of Jews.[5] He viewed the prisoners as objects of his work rather than as people, and he regarded his job the same as he would any job: […]

In September 1942, Stangl supervised the building of new, larger gas chambers to augment the previously existing gas chambers. The new gas chambers became operational in early autumn 1942. It is believed that these death chambers were capable of killing 3,000 people in two hours, and 12,000 to 15,000 victims easily every day,[1] with a maximum capacity of 22,000 deaths in 24 hours.[13] According to Jankiel Wiernik [a survivor of Treblinka]: “When the new gas chambers were completed, the Hauptsturmführer [Stangl] came and remarked to the SS men who were with him: ‘Finally the Jewish city is ready’ (German: Endlich ist die Judenstadt fertig).”[11]  […]

At the end of the war, Stangl concealed his identity and fled. He was detained by the American Army in 1945 and was briefly imprisoned pending investigation in Linz, Austria in 1947. Stangl was suspected of complicity in the T-4 euthanasia programme. But on May 30, 1948, Stangl escaped to Italy with his colleague from Sobibor, SS officer Gustav Wagner. The Roman Catholic Bishop Alois Hudal, a Nazi sympathizer forced in 1952 to resign by the Vatican, helped him to escape through a “ratline” and to reach Syria using a Red Cross passport.[14] Stangl was joined by his wife and family and lived in Syria for three years before they moved to Brazil in 1951. After years of other jobs, Stangl found work at the Volkswagen plant in São Bernardo do Campo with the help of friends, still using his own name.  […]

The court Schwurgericht Düsseldorf found Stangl guilty on October 22, 1970, and sentenced him to maximum penalty, life imprisonment.[9] While in prison, Stangl was interviewed extensively by Gitta Sereny, for a study of him published as Into that Darkness….

I find it very strange that Franz Stangl was not put on trial by the Allies.  As the Commandant of both Sobibor and Treblinka, he could have been included among the defendants at the Nuremberg IMT where testimony about Treblinka was given by the survivors of the death camp.

The American Military Tribunal had no jurisdiction over Stangl since his crimes did not include Allied victims. The British had no jurisdiction over him since he had not served at Bergen-Belsen which was in their zone of occupation.

Stangl was able to live in Brazil, under his own name, and it was left up to the Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal to track him down, so that he could finally be put on trial by the Germans. By that time, Germany had a law against Holocaust denial, so Stangl did not claim that Treblinka and Sobibor were transit camps, from where Jews were “transported to the East.”  If he had used that as his defense, Stangl would have been imprisoned for Holocaust denial.

July 13, 2012

The heartwarming story of how Moishe Perlman escaped summary execution in the Plaszow camp

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:47 am

I have been doing a lot of research on the Plaszow concentration camp, near Krakow, which was made famous by the movie Schindler’s List.  This morning, I came across the story of Moishe Perlman, which is quoted below:

Moishe Perlman

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Submitted by his granddaughter Rivka Perlman

My grandfather, Moishe Perlman was in the concentration camp, Plaszow, for most of the Holocaust. Plaszow did not tattoo their prisoners, they simply had to memorize their numbers. One Yom Kippur, grandfather gave one of his non-Jewish workers his bread because he was fasting. As a means of thanking him, the worker made him a leather and metal bracelet with his ID number etched into it.

One night a soldier stopped my grandfather and demanded his ID number. Faced with no other choice, he slipped off his bracelet and handed it to the soldier. The next day a list of numbers were called to be shot, as a lesson to the rest of the camp. All but one person came forward. The camp ledger was checked out but the number did not exist! My grandfather looked down at his bracelet and realized that his number comprised digits that could be read upside down as well as right side up. He had given his bracelet to the soldier upside down, and the soldier dutifully copied down the wrong numbers. All the people who had been called up were killed. Thanks to a piece of leather and some crude metal I am able to have a grandfather.

It is a pretty ugly bracelet to look at, yet more precious than any other jewelry our family can own.

Apparently, Moishe Perlman’s identification number included only the numbers 1, 6, 8, 9, and 0, which read the same upside down or right side up.

My first thought was that his identification number would have been printed on a white piece of cloth and sewn to his striped prison uniform.  Many of the prisoners in the concentration camps wore ordinary clothes instead of the striped uniform, but the identification number on a white piece of cloth was required.

Some prisoners at Dachau are not wearing both pieces of the striped uniform

The photo above shows two prisoners at Dachau wearing striped pants with their identification number sewn to the pants leg.

Photo of Jewish prisoner at Plaszow not wearing a uniform

The photo above shows a Jewish prisoner, named Karp, wearing a suit, but he has a star of David and a prison number sewn to his jacket.  The normal procedure was to sew the prisoner’s identification number to the striped prison uniform, as shown in the photos below.

Prisoners at Sachsenhausen camp wearing identification on their striped uniforms

Striped uniforms with identification sewn onto the jacket was the norm in the concentration camps

Moishe Perlman was apparently a Jewish Kapo, who was supervising non-Jewish workers.  Kapos were privileged prisoners who helped the Nazis in the concentration camps.  (Note that the plural of Kapo is Kapos, which means that it is not a German word, but a word borrowed from another language.)  As a Kapo, Moishe Perlman might have been able to get by without wearing his prison number on his clothes.

Photo in the Dachau Museum in 1997 shows a prisoner not wearing an identification number

The photo above was scanned from the English language version of the Dachau Museum Guidebook for the Dachau Museum which was set up in 1965. The caption under the photo says “The youngest of the French prisoners.”

In the background of the photo is a barrack building of the type used at Auschwitz II, also known as Birkenau. The Dachau concentration camp did not have barracks of this type, which clearly indicates that the photo was not taken at Dachau. Note also that the prison uniform does not have a badge, like those worn on the uniforms at Dachau. A prisoner in the background is wearing a yellow star on his uniform, like those worn by the Jews at Birkenau. There is no prison identification number on a white piece of cloth, because this photo obviously shows a prisoner at Auschwitz, who would have had a tattoo on his arm for identification.  Photographs displayed in the Dachau museum, that were taken in 1938, show most of the prisoners wearing a regular shirt and striped pants with their prison number worn on their pant’s leg.

According to the granddaughter of Moishe Perlman, the prisoners in the Plaszow camp had to memorize their identification numbers, since they didn’t have tattoos.  This implies that the prisoners did not have their identification number on their clothing.  The movie Schindler’s List shows prisoners with an ID number on a strip of white cloth on their clothing.

Moise Perlman was very lucky that an exception was made for him and he did not have to wear an identification number on his clothes at the Plaszow camp. Once again, a Jewish prisoner was able to survive the Holocaust because the Nazis were not vigilant in their administration of the camps.  The clip from Schindler’s List shows how inept the Nazis were.  They couldn’t do anything right.

July 12, 2012

The layout of the Plaszow camp, compared to the Schindler’s List movie set

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 1:09 pm

It has come to my attention, after reading a comment on one of my blog posts, that there is a serious misconception, among today’s youth, about how the Plaszow camp actually looked and where the home of Commandant Amon Goeth was located.  Plaszow is the camp that is featured in the movie Schindler’s List.  Since Schindler’s List has been shown in American schools for years, young people think that everything in the film is the gospel truth and that the movie portrays accurate history.

Basically, the movie Shindler’s List is the story of the quintessential evil Nazi (Amon Goeth) and the one good Nazi (Oskar Schindler) who is the hero of the movie. The evil Nazi killed Jews for sport and the one good Nazi made a list of the Jews (Shindler’s List) that he was going to save from the gas chamber. In real life, both Amon Goeth and Oskar Schindler were notorious drunks and both were womanizers. They were the same age, the same height and build, and the same in their beliefs: they were both Nazis.

The Plaszow camp was located 10 kilometers outside the city of Krakow. The photo below shows an old photo of the Plaszow camp.

The Plaszow camp, with the city of Krakow in the background

The movie set was built inside the Liban quarry, where prisoners from the Plaszow camp worked, although there were no barracks inside the quarry, and the prisoners did not live inside the quarry.

The Liban quarry, where Spielberg built the movie set for Schindler’s List

The movie set was built at this end of the Liban quarry

Scene from Schindler’s List shows Amon Goeth shooting at actors on the movie set inside the Liban quarry, which is not where the  Plaszow camp was located

Path built from tombstones was part of the movie set for Schindler’s List

The actual Plaszow camp was built near the site of two Jewish Cemeteries.  According to the fictional movie Schindler’s List, the Nazis used whole tombstones to build a path through the camp.  Spielberg reconstructed this alleged path inside the Liban quarry and it was left there for tourists to see.

Would the Nazis really have made roads or paths from whole tombstones?  I don’t think so.  They would have crushed the tombstones to make crushed granite.  The paths in the main Auschwitz camp are covered with crushed brick and decomposed granite, as shown in the photo below.

Close-up of the crushed brick and decomposed granite which covers the streets of the main Auschwitz camp

In the movie, Schindler’s List, it appears that the house, where Amon Goeth allegedly shot prisoners from the balcony, was only a few feet from the Plaszow camp.  In real life, the house with the balcony was far away from the camp and behind a hill.

When I visited the site of the former Plaszow camp in 1998, my private tour guide drove us up a hill, on a rutted one-lane dirt road, thinly covered with small white granite rocks. This was the site of two Jewish cemeteries before the Nazis built a labor camp.  Amon Goeth’s house, which had a balcony on the rear of the building, was near the site of the two Jewish cemeteries, which are now long gone.

The granite quarry, near where the Plaszow camp was built, was at that time owned by a Jew, but the Nazis confiscated the property, without compensation, for their labor camp. There was a Jewish mortuary chapel near the cemetery, which the Nazis converted into a stable.

The Plaszow camp was formerly located on this spot

Shown in the background of the photo above, up on a high plateau, is the back side of the large Holocaust monument, which faces the city of Krakow. On the right side of the photo, you can see some of the buildings of the city of Krakow in the distance.

It was on this plateau that mass executions took place, according to testimony in the trial of Amon Goeth in a Polish court in 1946. According to survivors of the Plaszow camp, 8,000 bodies were later dug up and burned on pyres in order to destroy the evidence. Goeth, who was charged with responsibility for these 8,000 deaths, was convicted and hanged.

According to my tour guide, some of the barracks of the Plaszow forced labor camp were located on the terraced terrain that you see in the foreground of the photo above; portions of the barrack foundations are still visible.

The construction of the Plaszow camp began in June 1942. A guidebook, which I purchased at the Eagle Pharmacy museum in Podgorze, the former Jewish ghetto in Krakow, says this:

“According to the Heydrich plan the Plaszow camp and its sub camps were meant to constitute a stage in the concentration of the Jews deported to the East. The camp was built on the area of two cemeteries at Jerozolimska and Abrahama street. The location of the camp — near the Plaszow railroad station — made the access to communication tracks relatively easy.”

The “Heydrich plan” was a reference to the conference which SS officer Reinhard Heydrich led on January 20, 1942 at Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin. This is where plans were made for the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”

Today, it is not possible to walk around the former Plaszow camp because the area is now a nature preserve.  The photograph below shows a sign which stands just to the left of where the photo above was taken; the sign says that this is a nature preserve because of the rare plants, native to the area, which are located here. Because this is a protected area, Spielberg could not build a movie set here. Besides, the monument would have shown in the background.

The location of the former Plaszow camp is now a nature preserve

German soldiers picking flowers at the former Plaszow camp

The story of Amon Goeth shooting prisoners at random from his balcony is one of those events that happened, but are not true (as Elie Wiesel famously said).

July 11, 2012

New movie about Obama coming out in July — from the producer of Schindler’s List

This quote is from an article which you can read in full here:

“2016 Obama’s America” is coming from Gerald Molen, the Academy Award-winning producer of “Schindler’s List,” whose new project is based on Dinesh D’Souza’s bestselling book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.” […]

“….So I read Dinesh D’Souza’s book ‘The Roots of Obama’s Rage,’ and then Dinesh and I teamed up on this thing with some other great people and we just want to get the story out there out on what we feel America will look like in 2016 if, in fact, President Obama gets elected into a second term.”

Molen’s in-depth research on “Schindler’s List” also helped him decide to make “2016.” After all, people of goodwill must know history to avoid loss of liberty and further tragedy, and he had discovered that many history books reduced the Nazi holocaust to a merely paragraph, if they mentioned it at all.

Now, as Americans and billions of people around the world suffer many crises, Molen believes he shouldn’t neglect the opportunity to open the eyes of American voters.

As he put it: “At least ‘Schindler’s List’ kind of opened the floodgates and got the information out.”

It’s true, Schindler’s List opened the floodgates.  I saw the film in 1993, the year that it came out.  At that time, I knew nothing about the Holocaust.  I was confused by the film. There is a scene in Schindler’s List where a group of Jewish women are in the shower at Auschwitz, and water comes out.  The women were overjoyed because they thought that they were going to be gassed.

I was totally confused by the scene in the shower.  What was Spielberg trying to say?  That there were no gas chambers?  And the Jews were really given a shower when they arrived at Auschwitz, not gassed?

It was the movie Schindler’s List that prompted me to start studying the Holocaust.  I wrote about the movie Schindler’s List on my website here.

Spielberg is an Obama supporter.  According to the article, “Spielberg has given $100,000 to a pro-Obama political action committee, $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012 and, as Bloomberg Businessweek revealed, he advised the Obama re-election campaign to attack GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital.”

Now Molen “believes he shouldn’t neglect the opportunity to open the eyes of American voters.”

I am looking forward to seeing this movie and learning the secrets of Obama’s past.  I just hope that there are no scenes of Obama shooting people from a balcony at the White House, as in the Spielberg film Schindler’s List which has a scene where Amon Goeth is shooting prisoners from his “White House.”

Scene from Schindler’s List shows Amon Goeth shooting prisoners in the Plaszow camp from the balcony of his house

The main point that was hammered home in the film Schindler’s List is that there was absolutely no higher authority over the concentration camps.  The SS men who ran the camps could do anything they wanted, with absolutely no consequences.  They could beat the prisoners with 100 strokes from a whip, or they could shoot prisoners for sport.

The fact that Amon Goeth was arrested by Dr. Konrad Morgen who did a six-month investigation of him is not mentioned at all in the film.  Suddenly, Goeth is gone, and there is no mention of his absence in the film.

The idea that the concentration camps were not controlled by the Nazi government is what most Americans now believe, thanks to the film Schindler’s List.

July 10, 2012

Did Amon Goeth really shoot prisoners from his balcony? (Testimony from his trial)

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:53 am

I am blogging about Amon Goeth today in answer to comments made on a previous post about him.  As every school child in America knows, Amon Goeth was the Commandant of the Plaszow camp, near Krakow, and he shot prisoners in the camp from his balcony.  Testimony from his trial, which you can read here, proves it. Or does it?

The photo below, which shows Goeth’s house, was copied from the H.E.A.R.T website.

The three-story white house where Amon Goeth lived

Photo on H.E.A.R.T web site shows Amon Goeth on the patio of the white house

The most important testimony in Amon Goeth’s trial came from one of his former maids, Helena Horowitz. (Goeth had two maids, both named Helen or Helena.)

This quote is from Helena Horowitz’s testimony, which I copied from the H.E.A.R.T website:

Witness -Helena Horowitz (age 30, seamstress)

Witness: I arrived in the camp on the 13th of February I managed to obtain work in the camp kitchen, where I worked as a potato peeler. Right at the beginning I received 10 strokes on my back for allegedly not working hard enough. A short while after, I have been selected by the kitchen Kapo to work in the kitchen for the Germans.

I enjoyed the work there, and I have been promised that if I continue to work as at present, I will be retained there permanently. At that moment I was there in place of a maid who was taken ill with Typhus, at a later stage I have been retained to work there permanently.

At the beginning I believed this to be tremendously lucky, but at that time I have not been aware of the terrible behaviour of the accused (Amon Goeth). My first encounter with him (Goeth), was as follows;

After a dinner I threw out the bones remaining on a plate, in the evening the accused appears in the kitchen and demands to know where are the bones, I replied I threw them out. He struck me in the face, with such a force, that I fell over and he tells me that if I will not obey his orders, he will shoot me. Once in the “Red House” entering a room I noticed a rifle, or another type of weapon

Chairman: You must clarify what was this “Red House?”

Witness: This was the private residence of the accused. That is where I noticed how he held a rifle, and congratulating himself on its ability, or his expertise, in front of other Germans also present in the room, he was firing at a group of people working at a distance of maybe 200 metres from the apartment window.

Next another fact, following the liquidation of the Ghetto in Krakow, Jews were brought into the camp and on to the hill only to be shot there. After the execution a party took place there, at which I have been subjected to abuse and torment.

There were women in the party as well, and despite the fact that they were of low morals, frequently they came to my defence. He would tell them that I am Jewish criminal who must be treated without pity.

Another fact in the “Red House” he drunk round the clock, still drunk he would come to me asking if I have prepared a dinner party, which he intended to give in honour of a president called Brauling, I believe that was his name. I replied clearly to this, that I am not aware of this at all, as I have not received any instructions to this effect.  At that point he grabbed me with both his hands by my throat, choking me, as a result of which I fell unconscious to the ground.

After regaining my consciousness I asked why he did this? He replied first of all because you ask questions, and secondly because you did not carry out my order, which in reality, he never gave, because he was drinking that day round the clock.

He then told me at the time that if the dinner party will not be a success, in the evening, I will be shot. Naturally, following such a threat, I did what I could, so that the dinner party was prepared in a exemplary way. All the food used to prepare this dinner came from the camp prisoner’s kitchen.

Luckily for me the party turned out to be a success, and to my surprise, the following day he was furious again. I did not know that an additional person would turn up for the party, Goeth summoned me to him, asking why was the table laid short for one person? Without waiting for my reply, he threw a sharp knife at me, which penetrated my leg.

Another fact, in the camp there was one German called Biegel who worked in the camp commercial buying and selling administration office. At one dinner party this officer Biegel gave an order to a boy, who worked there as well, he should fetch a carriage from the stables. The boy froze when told by Biegel, he will be whipped 25 times, if he fails to carry out his order.

Naturally, the boy brought the carriage, as ordered, which Goeth learned later. Goeth summoned the boy to him and asked him who gave him the order to bring that carriage there. The boy replied, explaining the circumstances and how it arose. Goeth without listening to the boy, killed him on the spot, the boy was 20 years old.

Chairman: Have you seen this?

Witness: Yes I have been present, when it happened.

Once I have been summoned to his room in the morning, where he showed me his uniform thrown against a wall. He asked me why I have neglected and failed to clean it?

I was unable to explain this, Goeth, assuming that I was neglectful, hit me across my face, that made me more nervous, it must have shown itself on my face, as he dragged me into another room, and there beat me without a stop, damaging my ear drum. Only following the interference of his mistress, that the beating stopped.

Chairman: What was her name?

Witness: Ruth Kalber
Chairman: Not Majola?
Witness: That was how she was called in the camp

Now let’s look at the photo of the house again.

The white house where Goeth lived with Ruth Kalder

I have proof that I saw this house, since I took a photo of it when I was there.  You can see in the photo below that the house is white, although it was badly in need of a fresh coat of paint when I took the photo in 1998.

White house where Amon Goeth lived with Ruth Kalder

The balcony and the patio on the rear of the white house where Amon Goeth lived

As the photo above shows, tourists are taken to see the WHITE HOUSE on Jerozolimska street where Amon Goeth lived.  When I visited this house, it was at least a 10 minute drive from the location of the former camp.

Now let’s read the testimony of his maid again:

….Once in the “Red House”entering a room I noticed a rifle, or another type of weapon

Chairman: You must clarify what was this “Red House?”

Witness: This was the private residence of the accused. That is where I noticed how he held a rifle, and congratulating himself on its ability, or his expertise, in front of other Germans also present in the room, he was firing at a group of people working at a distance of maybe 200 metres from the apartment window.

The testimony at his trial was that Amon Goeth was firing his rifle at a “group of people” who were “maybe 200 meters from the apartment window.” And there were other Germans present, presumably SS men, and maybe even his good friend Oskar Schlindler was there.

So he was NOT killing PRISONERS in the Plaszow camp.  He was FIRING HIS RIFLE….and not at prisoners, but at a GROUP OF PEOPLE who were very close to the RED HOUSE, not the white house that tourists are shown today.

The house that is shown to tourists is behind a hill which is between the house and the camp.  What was Amon Goeth really shooting at when he lived in the Red House?  No one knows because Helena was the only witness.

The movie Schindler’s List was based on a novel entitled Schindler’s Ark.  In the book, the author says that Goeth stepped out of the front door of a “temporary residence” and shot prisoners at random. Later when he moved into a three-story white house on Jerozolimska Street, Goeth shot prisoners from the balcony, according to the novel. In the movie, Schindler’s List, Goeth is shown standing on the balcony in the rear of his house, shooting prisoners, who were not working fast enough, with a high-powered rifle.

The “temporary residence” that is mentioned in the novel Schindler’s Ark might be the RED HOUSE where Goeth stepped out of the front door and shot at something at random.  We will never know because there was only one witness to this event.

Amon Goeth was arrested by the Nazis on September 13, 1944. Oskar Schindler was arrested a few days later and interrogated by the SS as part of the Goeth investigation, according to a book by David Crowe, entitled Oskar Schindler. Crowe wrote that Schindler “did move a lot of the former Plaszow commandant’s war booty to Brünnlitz” where Schindler had set up a new concentration camp. Göth, who still considered Schindler to be his friend, visited Brünnlitz several times during the latter months of the war while on parole, according to Crowe’s book.

David Crowe wrote that Amon Goeth had been arrested after a 6-month investigation of Goeth’s tenure as Plaszow’s Commandant.  The man who investigated Goeth was Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, a Waffen-SS officer and attorney whom Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had put in charge of investigating murder, corruption and mistreatment of prisoners in all the Nazi concentration camps in 1943.

Dr. Morgen’s first investigation had resulted in the arrest of Karl Otto Koch, the Commandant of Buchenwald. Koch was convicted by a Nazi court and executed.  When Goeth realized that he was being investigated by Dr. Morgen, he sought permission from Wilhelm Koppe in the central office in Oranienburg to execute Wilek Chilowicz, who could have testified against him.
According to David Crowe’s book, Goeth asked one of his SS officers, Josef Sowinski, to prepare a detailed, false report about a potential camp rebellion led by Chilowicz and other OD men. Based on this report, Koppe sent a secret letter to Goeth giving him the authority to carry out the execution of Chilowicz and several other OD men. The execution took place on August 13, 1944; Goeth was arrested exactly a month later and charged by Dr. Morgen with corruption and brutality, including the murder of Wilek Chilowicz and several others. The office in Oranienburg did not have the authority to give an execution order; an execution could only be authorized by the Gestapo in Berlin. Dr. Morgen did not charge Goeth with shooting prisoners at random from his balcony.

Due to the fact that Germany was losing the war and the SS now had bigger problems, Goeth was never put on trial by Dr. Morgen’s court and this was the last investigation done by the SS. After the war, Dr. Morgen was arrested as a “war criminal,” and imprisoned in the bunker at the Dachau concentration camp to await his own trial.

The charges brought against Amon Goeth by the Polish government did not include the charge that he had shot prisoners from his balcony. Nor did the charges brought against him by Dr. Morgen. If Dr. Morgen had talked to Goeth’s maid and learned that Goeth had shot at a group of people, he would have included this charge against him.

Unfortunately, Dr. Morgen never talked to Helena Horowitz, the only witness to the shooting at the RED HOUSE, who testified about this alleged crime.

The photo below, which purportedly shows how close Amon Goeth’s house was to the camp, is on the H.E.A.R.T website.

The title of this photo is “View of the Plaszow camp from Goeth’s terrace”

How do we know that the photo above was taken from Goeth’s terrace.  I would like to see something in the foreground that would prove that the photo was taken from the terrace.

View of Krakow from the location of the Plaszow camp

I took the photo above, from the location of the Plaszow camp, to show how close the camp was to the city of Krakow.  Whoever took the photo of the camp from Goeth’s house should have included the steps of the house in the photo.  In other words, the old black and white photo of the camp proves nothing.

I took the photo below to show how close houses are to the location of the former Plaszow camp.

The fence around the former Plaszow camp with a house in the background

July 9, 2012

The plan to execute German-American citizens of the USA during World War II

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:44 am

I was reading the very informative blog of Herb Stolpmann today when I came across his blog post about the Chelmno extermination camp here.  It started off with this startling statement:

Readers of the New York Times found on July 2nd 1942 page 6 an unusual item. Under the title “Allies are Urged to Execute Nazis,” it was reported by a call of the Polish government in exile in London, initiating threats of retribution (Vergeltungsdrohungen) against German citizens living in western countries abroad. […]

For this reason, it was recommended the liquidation of Germans in the U.S. and other countries as a deterrent.

I had to read this several times before it sank into my brain.  The “Polish government in exile in London” was calling for the murder of German citizens living in western countries.

According to Wikipedia, there were “over 110 German-American citizens arrested between 1941 and 1944 in cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Honolulu and Los Angeles.”

This quote is from Wikipedia:

A total of 11,507 Germans and German-Americans were interned during the war, accounting for 36% of the total internments under the Justice Department’s Enemy Alien Control Program, but far less than the 110,000 Japanese-Americans interned.[26] Such internments began with the detention of 1,260 Germans shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.[27] Of the 254 persons evicted from coastal areas, the majority were German.[28]

In addition, over 4,500 ethnic Germans were brought to the U.S. from Latin America and similarly detained. The Federal Bureau of Investigation drafted a list of Germans in fifteen Latin American countries whom it suspected of subversive activities and, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, demanded their eviction to the U.S. for detention.[29]

The article in the New York Times states that it was the news of the killing of the Jews in gas vans in Chelmno which prompted the Polish government in exile in London to call for the murder of German civilians in retribution. Fortunately, this never happened, as far as I know.

I was a child, living in Missouri, during World War II.  There were whole towns in Missouri, which were predominantly German-American.  The most famous one is Hermann, MO which is now a tourist attraction.  I knew about the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war, but I didn’t know about the German-Americans who were imprisoned in internment camps.

This quote is from Herb Stolpmann’s blog post:

After listing the main sites of mass murder in eastern Poland, it was said in the (New York Times) article: “In early winter the Germans methodically continue to kill all Jews. They sent special mobile gas chambers to western Poland, into territories incorporated into the Reich. In places like Chelmno near Kolo, ninety people were put at once into those gas chambers. The victims were buried in graves that they themselves had dug in the forest of Lubarski. Between November 1941 and March 1942 about 1,000 people a day from the residential districts of Kolo, Dabie, Izbica and other places as well as the 35 000 Jews from Lodz were killed during the period 2-9 January.

Chelmno is listed as one of the six extermination camps, but it differs from the other five “death camps.”  Chelmno didn’t have gas chambers.  Instead, the Jews were killed in “gas vans.”  The killing of the Jews at Chelmno began on December 8, 1941 — before the start of the Wannsee Conference where the genocide of the Jews (“the Final Solution”) was planned.  Some historians say that the start of the killing at Chelmno was on December 6, 1941.  This was before Germany declared war on America and America then declared war on Germany.

After World War II ended in Europe with the surrender of the German Army on May 7, 1945, the provisional Polish government set up the Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland. The purpose was to gather evidence for the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal which was set to begin on November 20, 1945, and for the planned trials of Germans who had committed war crimes in Poland.

The main report by the Central Commission was entitled GERMAN CRIMES IN POLAND; it was originally published in two volumes in 1946 and 1947. The report included an overview of the main Nazi concentration camps and death camps in Poland. Two of the death camps, Auschwitz and Chelmno, had been in Greater Germany while they were in operation but now they are located in Poland.

This quote is from the report by the Central Commission on the Chelmno camp:

The camp was established in November 1941.The extermination process began on December 8, with the ghetto population of the cities and towns of the Warthegau, first from the neighbouring Kolo, Dabie, Sompolno, Klodawa and many other places, and later from Lodz itself. The first Jews arrived at Chelmno from Lodz in the middle of January 1942. From that time onwards an average of 1000 a day was maintained, with short intermissions, till April 1943.  […]

Those who were brought here for destruction were convinced till the very last moment that they were to be employed on fortification work in the East. They were told that, before going further, they would have a bath, and that their clothes would be disinfected. Immediately after their arrival at the camp they were taken to the large hall of the house, where they were told to undress, and then they were driven along a corridor to the front door, where a large lorry, fitted up as a gas-chamber, was standing. This, they were told, was to take them to the bath-house. When the lorry was full, the door was locked, the engine started, and carbon monoxide was introduced into the interior through a specially constructed exhaust pipe. After 4-5 minutes, when the cries and struggles of the suffocating victims were heard no more, the lorry was driven to the wood, 4 km (2 1/2 miles) away, which was enclosed with a high fence and surrounded with outposts. Here the corpses were unloaded and buried, and afterwards burnt in one of the clearings.

All this seems very strange to me.  Knowing how the German people are always highly organized and efficient, it doesn’t make any sense that they would start killing the Jews before the plans for “the Final Solution” were made at the Wannsee Conference.  And they did it by the very inefficient method of gassing them in vans with carbon monoxide!  Say what?  They couldn’t be bothered with building a proper gas chamber?  And they had no ovens to burn the bodies?  What was the big hurry that they couldn’t take the time to set up a proper death camp?

The wall around the place at Chelmno where the bodies were buried, then later dug up and burned Photo Credit: Alan Collins

In the winter of 1941-1942, the bodies of the Chelmno victims were buried in mass graves in the frozen ground of a nearby forest. In the Spring of 1942, two open-air crematoria were built and the bodies were dug up and cremated. The cremation ovens were open concrete-lined pits where the corpses were burned on grates. After the first phase of the killing between December 1941 and April 1943, these “furnaces” were destroyed on April 7, 1943. When the second phase began in May or June 1944, two more open-air crematoria were constructed, but they were also destroyed by the Nazis in order to get rid of all the evidence.

Place where bodies were buried behind a wall in forest near Chelmno Photo Credit: Alan Collins

The following quote is from a book by the Central Commission for Investigation of German Crimes in Poland entitled “GERMAN CRIMES IN POLAND” (Warsaw, 1946, 1947):

The ashes and remains of bones were removed from the ash-pit, ground in mortars, and, at first, thrown into especially dug ditches; but later, from 1943 onwards, bones and ashes were secretly carted to Zawadki at night, and there thrown into the river.

[…]

In the autumn of 1944 the camp in the wood was completely destroyed, the crematoria being blown up, the huts taken to pieces, and almost every trace of crime being carefully removed. A Special Commission from Berlin directed, on the spot, the destruction of all the evidence of what had been done.

Memorial stone at Chelmno  Photo Credit: Alan Collins

The text on the Memorial stone in the photo above says that about 350,000 Jews – Men, women and children – were murdered at Chelmno.

Martin Gilbert wrote in his book, entitled Holocaust, that 360,000 Jews were killed at Chelmno just in the first phase of the killing, between December 7, 1941 and March 1943. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum says that “at least 152,000” Jews were killed at Chelmno. The Museum at the villa in Wannsee, near Berlin, says that “152,000 Jews and 5,000 Gypsies” were killed at Chelmno.

Obviously, the Nazis destroyed all the evidence, so the number of Jewish deaths at Chelmno is unknown.

July 8, 2012

Hitler’s persecution of Jewish lawyers

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 9:49 am

This quote is from an article on the Haaretz website, which you can read in full here.

There were 4,000 Jewish lawyers in Germany in 1933 with the rise of the Third Reich, constituting about 20 percent of all attorneys in the country. They held high office in the courts, the justice ministry and the bar association until a series of discriminatory laws disenfranchised them beginning in 1933.

Only 4,000 Jewish lawyers in Germany in 1933 when Hitler came to power?  How many Jews were there in Germany at that time?  According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, there were 523,000 Jews living in Germany in January 1933, but only 400,000 of them were German citizens.  This means that one out every 100 Jewish citizens in Germany in 1933 was a lawyer.

Most of the other 123,000 Jews in Germany in 1933 were Polish citizens who had been kicked out of Poland when Poland became a country again at the end of World War I.  These Jews became stateless after Hitler kicked them out of Germany in October 1938 and Poland refused to take them back.  This was what led to Kristallnacht on the night of November 9, 1938.

The population of Germany in 1933 was 67 million, according to the USHMM.  The Jews were only a small percentage of the total population, but 20% of the lawyers in Germany were Jewish.

According to the USHMM, about 70 percent of the Jews in Germany lived in urban areas, with 50 percent of all Jews living in the 10 largest German cities. The largest Jewish population center was in Berlin (about 160,000 in 1925), representing less than 4 percent of the city’s entire population.

Hitler’s main complaint about the Jews was that they were over-represented in positions of power in Germany. Hitler felt that this resulted in the Jews having too much influence.

In 1933, most of the Jews in Europe were not assimilated.  They had their own “state-within-a-state.”  Inside their ghettos, the Jews had everything that a country would normally have:  They had their own flag which is now the flag of Israel; they had their own national anthem, which is now the anthem of Israel; they had their own language (Yiddish) which uses the Hebrew alphabet; they had their own laws, based on the teaching of the Jewish religion.

Most importantly, the Jews had their own culture: their own foods, their own style of dress, their own kind of music, their own style of art, etc, etc, etc.  Even their clocks ran backwards because Hebrew is read from right to left, not left to right, as other languages are read.

According to Hitler, the Jews in Germany were responsible for the rise of everything that he was against: Communism, modern art, pornography, homosexuality, prostitution, etc. etc. etc..  Hitler believed that the Jews were in control of the Social Democrats political party in Germany and this would soon lead to them taking over Germany completely. He also believed that the Jews were responsible for Germany losing World War I.

Hitler wanted the Jews out of Europe in the worst way. This was what eventually led to the Holocaust. It all started with the persecution of the Jewish lawyers.

This quote is from the Haaretz article about the Jewish lawyers:

An agreement to probe the persecution of Jewish lawyers in Nazi Germany was signed last week by the bar associations of Tel Aviv and Berlin. The two groups resolved to research, document, exchange information and organize joint conferences on the subject, and to cooperate on human rights issues.

“We want to remember the past and cherish the memories of our Jewish colleagues who were persecuted by the Nazis, and to honor them,” Irene Schmid, who chairs the Berlin Bar Association, told Haaretz at Tuesday’s signing in Tel Aviv. “We want to pass on their memory to the coming generations and prevent Holocaust denial,” Schmid added. Also present were Effi Naveh, chairman of the Israel Bar Association’s Tel Aviv district, director general of the Justice Ministry Guy Rottkopf and German ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis.

A new book is now in preparation in Germany documenting the fate of the Jewish lawyers in Berlin after the Holocaust. “Many of them, about 160, went back to work in Berlin,” Schmid said.

The book and the agreement between the Tel Aviv and Berlin bar associations are part of a long-term documentation project, which includes an exhibit that has been presented internationally in recent years and a series of books, telling the stories of Jewish lawyers in Germany during the Holocaust.

This quote from the USHMM website tells about the fate of the Jews in Germany:

90% of the 214,000 Jews still left in Germany in 1939 were killed during the war.[1] A few thousand Jews were actually still living in Berlin when the Soviet army took over the city in 1945.[24][25] Most German Jews who survived the war in exile decided to remain abroad; however, a small number returned to Germany. Additionally, approximately 15,000 German Jews survived the concentration camps or survived by going into hiding. These German Jews were joined by approximately 200,000 displaced persons (DPs), eastern European Jewish Holocaust survivors. They came to Allied-occupied western Germany after finding no homes left for them in eastern Europe (especially in Poland) or after having been liberated on German soil. The overwhelming majority of the DPs wished to emigrate to Palestine and lived in Allied- and U.N.-administered refugee camps, remaining isolated from German society. After Israeli independence in 1948, most left Germany; however, 10,000 to 15,000 remained. Despite hesitations and a long history of antagonism between German Jews (Yekkes) and East European Jews (Ostjuden), the two disparate groups united to form the basis of a new Jewish community. In 1950 they founded their unitary representative organization, the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

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