Scrapbookpages Blog

October 8, 2012

Amazon.com has pulled the jigsaw puzzle of Dachau ovens

Filed under: Dachau, Germany — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 12:30 pm

According to this news article, Amazon has pulled the Dachau jigsaw puzzle from its website after protests.

This quote is from the news article:

The American online retailer Amazon.com has stopped selling a jigsaw puzzle featuring the Dachau Nazi concentration camp following complaints.

The puzzle has 252 parts that together form a picture of the camp. Before it was taken offline Oct. 1, the product description said the toy was intended for customers eight years old and above. It sold for $24.99.

Ovens for burning bodies in the Dachau crematorium

My photograph above shows the two cremation ovens that were in the picture on the puzzle.  This website shows the exact picture of the two ovens that was on the puzzle.  The cremation ovens at Dachau had two sets of doors; the first set of doors opened outward. In my photo above, one of the ovens on the right has a metal inner door, positioned on the brick wall above the outer door; the inner door was dropped down into the oven behind the outer door. The oven on the left has a pulley and a counterweight for raising and lowering an inner door, but the metal door itself is missing.

Dachau oven near the wall in the crematorium

The photo above shows the single oven that is against the wall of the morgue room next door.  Notice the pulley which was used to raise and lower the inner door.  The Dachau Memorial Site tells visitors that the pulleys were used to execute prisoners by hanging them until dead in front of the ovens.

The jigsaw puzzle would have been quite educational for 8-year-old children.  Too bad that it was pulled by Amazon.

Auschwitz today: from mass murder to mass tourism

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:40 am

I am so glad that I got to see Auschwitz before the mass tourism of today. I went to Poland in 1998, at a time when the factory of Oskar Schindler was still being used as a factory; it has now been converted into a Museum.

When I went to the main Auschwitz camp in 1998, I was the only American there, AFAIK.  The other visitors were mostly Polish students who were very boisterous and disrespectful in my opinion.  My private tour guide had to admonish them.

My tour guide was also unhappy with my demeanor because I was not sad enough to suit her.  I could detect that she was very suspicious of me because I didn’t act like the typical tourist.  I knew that she expected me to cry and express hatred for the German people, but I just couldn’t do it.

I had to hire a different tour guide to take me to see the Auschwitz II (Birkenau) camp because my first guide told me that there was “nothing to see” there.  My new tour guide, my cab driver, and myself were definitely the only people at Birkenau that day in 1998, except for one Polish woman who was working at the gate house.

The Birkenau camp was grown up in weeds, and filled with snakes and bees, according to my tour guide.  We had to stay on the roads, and I was not allowed to get close to the ruins of the gas chambers.  The Sauna building was closed up tight and I was not permitted to look though the windows.  Now it is a Museum.

This quote is from a newspaper article, published yesterday:

Drawn to Auschwitz
Mass murder was the business 70 years ago. Today, “mass tourism … is a good thing,” a key to remembrance.

By William Ecenbarger

For The Inquirer

OSWIECIM, Poland – There is something terribly wrong here. Scribbles of clouds cruise across a blue sky that hovers over neat, rectangular red-brick buildings. A loitering breeze wimples green leaves, exposing their gray undersides, and beyond, fields swim in yellow and purple flowers. These bright colors are unnerving. This should be only in black and white, like a grainy old newsreel.

The Poles call this Oswiecim, but the Nazis called it Auschwitz, and the name still leaves a metallic taste in your mouth. Here, between May 1940 and January 1945, death was a way of life, established and organized along the principle of absolute evil. At least 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed here with industrialized efficiency – usually within an hour after they arrived. Here is the biggest cemetery in the world, but there are no gravestones.

[…]

…. the most effective genocide machine in human history is now a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracted 1.4 million visitors last year, nearly three times the total of just a decade ago.

[…]

Odysseys Unlimited, which is based in Newton, Mass., runs about 20 trips a year to Eastern Europe. Each has a full measure of visits to museums, cathedrals, castles, and battlefields, but Auschwitz is part of every itinerary.

My 1998 photo of the administration building in the main Auschwitz camp

I took the photo above in 1998, just after all the boisterous Polish students had exited from the doors of the movie theater inside the building.  The exit doors are shown on the right side of the photo; the wide doors on the left were the doors into the disinfection chambers where the clothes were deloused with Zyklon-B to prevent the spread of typhus. This building was called die Aufnahmegebäude (Building to Receive Newcomers).  Notice the complete lack of tourists in the photo.

My 1998 photo of the entrance into the main Auschwitz camp

The photo above was taken from the same spot as the first photo; I turned around and took this photo before we entered through the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate.  In 1998, I did not yet know the importance of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign, which has now become a Holocaust icon.  I could have taken a good photo of the sign over the gate if I had only known then what I know now.  Instead, I took the photo below which shows the gate.  I actually waited until two people entered the camp because I wanted to show tourists entering the camp, not the sign.

My 1998 photo of two tourists entering the main Auschwitz camp

Today it is literally impossible to get a photo of the sign on the Auchwitz gate because tour groups line up in front of the gate, and a tour group enters the camp every 15 or 20 minutes.  The tour guides won’t wait for tourists to take photos of the gate.