Scrapbookpages Blog

September 4, 2012

300 Luxembourg policemen killed at Dachau — Why has this atrocity been suppressed?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 2:05 pm

I was doing some research on the Dachau concentration camp today, when I came across this blog:  Sráid Marx, An Irish Marxist Blog, which has some information here about a tour that the blogger took at Dachau with an Irish tour guide.

This quote is from Sráid Marx, An Irish Marxist Blog:

[The Dachau tour guide] told the story of the three hundred Luxembourg policemen who refused to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler and who were sent to Dachau as punishment.  When they arrived they were ordered to do so again in the main square.  When they again refused seventeen were selected at random and executed.  The same ritual was held every year.

Although I have read many books about Dachau, and I have visited the Memorial Site five times, this is the first and only time that I have ever heard about 300 Luxembourg policemen being killed at Dachau, or about the ritual that was held every year.  One would think that this atrocity would be well known.  I have never taken a tour at Dachau; I have always wandered around on my own.  Maybe I should go back one more time and take a tour given by an Irish guide.

I tried searching the Internet for more information on the 300 Luxembourg policemen, but all I could find was this website which sells military items.  This quote is from the website:

Accused: Kolb, August Heinrich 4 Years 3 Months. Crime Category:NS-Crimes in etainment Centres, War Crimes Court: LG Nürnberg-Fürth 541013 BGH 550624 Country where the crime was committed: Germany Crime Location: HS KL Sachsenhausen Crime Date: 42-45 Victims: Prisoners, Prisoners of War. Nationality: German, Luxembourg, Polish, Soviet, unknown.Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Sachsenhausen. Subject of the proceeding: Participation of a Schutzhaftlagerführer in the hanging of prisoners on the roll-call square as well as in individual executions of a total of at least 100 persons, who were killed in the factory court-yard by a shot in the back of the neck (‘Genickschuss’) or by hanging, on orders of the Reich Security Main Office. Shooting of at least 50 prisoners, who were unfit for work as well as of 19 Luxembourg policemen, who had refused to take the oath of loyalty on Hitler. Participation in the shooting of at least 20 prisoners, who fell behind because of exhaustion during an evacuation march in April 1945

Note that the above reference is to the shooting of 19 Luxembourg policemen at the Sachsenhausen camp, not at Dachau.

Just how reliable is the information given by the Irish tour guide at Dachau?  Here is another quote about what the Irish tour guide said:

He told the story [of] Johann Georg Elser, a religious worker who was a keen defender of workers’ rights who had voted for the Communist Party until 1933. In 1939 he planted a bomb in a Munich beer hall where Hitler was due to speak.  Hitler was due to fly back to Berlin that night but because of fog it was thought he should take the train so he left earlier than planned.  The bomb missed Hitler by 13 minutes.  Elser was caught, severely tortured by the Gestapo, and incarcerated in Dachau.  Hitler planned that when the war was won he would be put in front of a show trial and executed.

Just a few short weeks before the end of the war Hitler ordered the killing of Elser and he was shot in the bunker at Dachau.

I am surprised that a tour guide at Dachau is now telling visitors that Georg Elser was shot in the camp bunker.  The Dachau Memorial Site was previously telling visitors that Elser was killed by a bomb that hit the camp on April 9, 1945. This was the same day that a British prisoner, Sigismund Payne-Best, arrived at the camp; he had been transferred to Dachau from Buchenwald.  All the prisoners in the bunker had been taken to a bomb shelter on the day that the bomb hit, so Elser could not have been killed by the bomb.

I blogged about the death of Georg Elser at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/who-killed-georg-elser-the-man-who-tried-to-kill-hitler/

So now the truth comes out: it was Hitler who ordered the shooting of Georg Elser.   Hitler thought that the British were involved in the plot to kill him. Did Hitler give an order to kill Elser because he didn’t want anyone to know that the British were involved in the assassination attempt? Or was it Sigismund Payne-Best who gave the order to kill Elser?  I previously blogged about the death of Georg Elser here.

Here is one more quote about what the Irish tour guide told visitors to Dachau:

Our guide pointed out that the concentration camp was only a relatively small part of the whole and the much larger part was the SS training camp.  Today it is a training camp for the German police.  In 1972, for the Munich Olympic Games and because of the widespread media attention this would bring, the authorities knocked down parts of the site and built a mound between this training camp and the concentration camp.  In this way it would not be possible to view the training camp and it would perhaps not arouse questions.  This is now covered in grass and trees today.A campaign involving survivors succeeded in getting part of this removed so that today you can see, but not enter, this camp, and see one of the original but otherwise unremarkable buildings still in existence.

On my first three visits to Dachau in 1997, 2001 and 2003, the entrance into the camp was on the east side, through a hole in the fence around the camp, as shown in the 2003 photo below.

The east side of Dachau Memorial Site where the former tourist entrance was located

My photo below shows some of what is left of the SS training camp today.  The mounds that you see on each side cover the old factory buildings that were torn down. The “authorities” did not build these mounds.

A view of the SS training camp that was next to the Dachau concentration camp

Compare the two photos below.  The old black and white photo below shows factories that were formerly outside the entrance through the Dachau gatehouse.  These factories were torn down and covered over with grass, which you see in recent photos.

Current tourist entrance to Dachau Memorial Site has mounds covered with grass on each side

Old photo shows a large factory near the entrance into the  Dachau concentration camp

There was previously a high wall, built by the American military, which separated the Dachau Memorial Site from the SS training camp, which the US Army took over and occupied for 28 years.  This wall was torn down when the Memorial Site officials decided to allow tourists to enter the camp through the Arbeit Macht Frei gate, just as the prisoners did.  The incoming prisoners had to walk from the train station in the town of Dachau to the camp. They did not arrive on the train tracks that you see at Dachau today.  These were narrow gauge tracks for transporting goods into the camp.

What did the Dachau gas chamber look like the day after the camp was liberated?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:27 am

I am writing today in answer to a comment made by a man whose grandfather was an American soldier at Dachau the day it was liberated on April 29, 1945.  His grandfather brought home photos of Dachau, including a photo of the gas chamber which was piled high with bodies, presumably the bodies of prisoners who had just been gassed.

The photos are no longer in this man’s possession, but he supplied a link to a web site which shows a drawing done by Brian J. Stonehouse, a British SOE agent who was a prisoner at Dachau. The drawing shows an open door and through the door, one can see another door, beyond which there are bodies piled up.  The drawings of Brian Stonehouse are copyrighted so I cannot show the drawing of the gas chamber here.  You will have to go to this website to see the drawing which looks like a drawing of the scene in the photo below.

Bodies found in the Dachau morgue when the camp was liberated on April 29, 1945

Note that the photo above shows a floor drain with blood running down into it.  A gas chamber cannot have a working floor drain because the poison gas would get into the sewer and poison the whole neighborhood.

Dachau gas chamber with a view into the morgue room on the right

My color photo directly above shows the Dachau gas chamber with a view into another room on the right, which is the room shown in the old black and white photo above. There were six floor drains in the gas chamber. Note the one floor drain in the photo, which is now closed up. On the left side in the photo is a water pipe that was used to clean the morgue room which had no water supply. Above the water pipe is an opening for a peephole into the gas chamber. Note that the tiles around the peep hole do not match the other tiles in the room.

When the American soldiers arrived on April 29, 1945, the gas chamber was empty, but the room next to it was piled high with bodies.  The photo below shows the outside of the building where these rooms were located.

Baracke-X the building where the Dachau gas chamber was located

The gas chamber is the room on the far left which has three holes in the wall.  The next room is the morgue room which has windows, and then the room where the ovens were located.

The room that was in the drawing done by Brian J. Stonehouse was the morgue room where bodies were stored until they could be burned in the ovens.  On the day that Dachau was liberated, there was no coal to burn the bodies.

This is the description given on the website for the drawing done by Brian Stonehouse:

Brian Julian Stonehouse, M.B.E. (1918-1998) Dachau gas chambers-the day after liberation signed and inscribed ‘B J Stonehouse/ Dachau 4t’, charcoal 29 x 32cm (11 7/16 x 12 5/8in). In a personal diary started in Dachau on Liberation day Brian Stonehouse described the day this sketch was made: ‘Monday Evening, April 30, 1945 – I visited and made sketches of piles of corpses at the Krematorium. Not much time to sketch, as the place had been mined by the SS before they left, and the building was expected to blow up at any minute.’ The sketches he made in Dachau were presented to the Imperial War Museum, this is believed to be the last known concentration camp picture by Brian Stonehouse still in private hands.

Note that Brian Stonehouse  said that he “made sketches of piles of corpses at the Krematorium.” He did not say that the “piles (plural) of corpses were in the gas chamber.

Stonewhouse literally took his life in his hands to sketch the “gas chambers” (plural) which he believed had been mined by the SS before they left.  He didn’t make this up. According to Sgt. Scott Corbett, a correspondent for the official 42nd Division newspaper who was at Dachau on the day it was liberated, the SS staff had set a time bomb to blow up the gas chamber after they abandoned the camp on April 28th, the day before the American liberators arrived.

I previously blogged here about how the Nazis had set a time bomb to blow up the Dachau gas chamber.

The following quote is from an article written by Sgt. Scott Corbett for the Rainbow Reveille, the 42nd Division Newspaper. This excerpt from Scott Corbett’s article is included on page 42 of the book entitled Dachau 29 April 1945, the Rainbow Liberation Memoirs, Edited by Sam Dann:

The first human beings ever to enter the infamous Concentration Camp at Dachau without despair and terror, entered it today. Infantry men of the XVth Corps, 42nd Division, are now in command of Dachau and they brought a new life to over 30,000 survivors among the prisoners of the horror camp.

What they found there bears out every atrocity told about the first great concentration camp in 12 years of its existence. In the crematorium, the skeleton-like bodies of the dead still lay in a room next to the furnace, stacked like cordwood. The cement floor slanted to a drain which carried off the blood, but not the unforgettable stench of death. Unlike Auschwitz, where the Gas Chamber and the Crematorium were demolished by the retreating SS, the destruction of this horrifying evidence at Dachau by a time bomb was prevented when doughboys discovered and severed the wire which would have set off the charge. In addition, the entire building was a maze of booby-traps.

It is clear from this description of the gas chamber building by Scott Corbet that the room with the bodies “stacked like cordwood” was the “room next to the furnace.”  The room next to the furnace was the morgue room, not the gas chamber.  There was another room at the north end of the Baracke-X building which was also being used as a morgue room on the day the camp was liberated.  This room is shown in the photo below.

Room full of dead bodies at the north end of the gas chamber building

My photo below shows the door into the Dachau gas chamber with a view into the gas chamber and the morgue room next to it. I was standing in the same spot where Stonehouse was standing (or sitting) when he made his sketch.  Actually, I think that Stonehouse drew his sketch from memory after he saw the door into the gas chamber; he didn’t get the doors quite right in his sketch.

Door into the gas chamber at Dachau

I  was standing in the undressing room when I took the photo above, which shows the door from the undressing room into the gas chamber. I composed this photo so as to show the electrical wiring going into the room.  The undressing room is 10 feet high, but the gas chamber as it looks now is around 7 and a half feet high.  The location of the wiring indicates that the gas chamber was originally 10 feet high. (Hint: the “gas chamber” at Dachau may have been a shower room that was modified by the American liberators.)

Blog at WordPress.com.