Scrapbookpages Blog

October 19, 2012

The house next to the wall around the former Dachau concentration camp

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 3:27 pm

One of the houses next to the wall around the Dachau camp is on the right

In the photo above, the white building on the left is part of the Dachau bunker, where some of the prisoners were housed. Between the bunker and the house is a patch of grass where the prisoners could exercise.  Behind the grass is the wall around the Dachau camp.  A row of houses has been built right next to this wall.

The first house in the row of houses in the background is next to the Würm river canal that runs through the Dachau camp concentration camp

In the photo above, the iron fence goes across the Würm river canal which runs through the former Dachau camp. The houses in the background are right next to the wall around the camp.

Dachau gatehouse is on the left and behind the camera is the location of the bunker

My photo above shows the side of the gatehouse that faces the camp.  On the other side of the gatehouse, the Würm river canal runs in front of the gatehouse.

For years, visitors to the Dachau Memorial Site have complained about people living in houses so close to the former concentration camp, which is sacred ground because so many people died there.

I have often wondered about the people who live in these houses, which are on Pater-Roth Strasse, the street that goes past the camp.  Father Roth was the priest who stayed on at Dachau to administer to the German “war criminals” who were imprisoned at Dachau, beginning in June 1945, just after the last prisoners had left the camp when Dachau was liberated on April 29, 1945.

I finally learned from this blog about a man who lives in one of the houses next to the camp wall.  This quote is from the blog:

Our guide told us about the house standing adjacent to the wall of the camp. An old grumpy man lives there now and he peers out of the windows and watches the visitors every so often. He lives there because Dachau is the only home he remembers. He was brought to the camp as a 12 year old and was 25 when he left. Homeless, having lost his parents to the camp, he lived on the streets for two years. He returned when Dachau was turned into a refugee camp. He met his wife there, fell in love there, and had his kids there. He doesn’t remember life before Dachau and so he will die there.

I had assumed that members of the Dachau Memorial staff live in these houses, but I was wrong.

The story told by the Dachau guide is a colorful account, but I have my doubts about the truth of it.

Dachau was opened on March 22, 1933 and closed in June 1945 when it became War Crimes Camp No. 1 for German prisoners.  If this grumpy old man was 12 years old when he was brought to Dachau, and 25 when he left, that means that he was a prisoner in the camp for 13 years, one year longer than Dachau was a concentration camp.

Dachau was primarily a camp for adult men, not a camp for families. Yet the grumpy old man, who lives in one of these houses now, was brought to Dachau along with his parents, who were killed in the camp, according to the story told by the tour guide.

Dachau was originally a camp for Communists, Social Democrats, trade union leaders, religious dissidents, common criminals, Gypsy men, homosexuals, asocials, spies, resistance fighters, and others whom the Nazis considered “enemies of the state.” Dachau was not a “death camp” for the genocide of the Jews, although there were some Jews in the camp from the very beginning.

The grumpy old man lived on the streets for two years, according to the tour guide.  Why didn’t he go to the Displaced Persons Camp that was set up near the town of Dachau?

According to the Dachau tour guide, the grumpy old man came back to the Dachau camp when it was turned into a refugee camp.

After the Dachau War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 was closed in 1948, the barracks were renovated and 5,000 refugees from Czechoslovakia, who were among the 12 to 18 million ethnic Germans that were expelled from their homes after the war, lived in the Dachau camp until 1964.

In 1964, an organization of Communist survivors of Dachau began demanding that the refugees be moved out so that a Memorial could be built in honor of the former concentration camp political prisoners.  The remaining 2,000 German refugees were moved in 1964 to Dachau East, a new suburb which was created for them.

The expellees from Czechoslovakia had come to Dachau because they had no place else to go, since there was a shortage of housing in Germany after the war. Some of the expellees were living on the streets of Germany for many years after the war, begging for food and cigarette butts.

Former prisoners at Dachau were able to emigrate to America or Canada or the UK after 1948.  But apparently, the grumpy old man sneaked in among the expellees and lived in poverty at Dachau until 1964.

Where did the grumpy old man live after that?  The row of houses next to the Dachau wall were not built until the 1990s, according to what I was told on my first visit to Dachau in 1997.

After being a prisoner at Dachau for 13 years, and living with the expellees for even more years, why is the name of this grumpy old man not a household word?  Especially since he was a prisoner in the War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 for German war criminals for one year, following his 12 years as a prisoner in the Dachau concentration camp.

Ernst Kroll, a Communist prisoner, who had been an inmate at Dachau since it first opened on Mar. 22, 1933, was quoted by Nerin E. Gun, a journalist who was a Dachau prisoner, in a book entitled “The Day of the Americans.”  Why didn’t Nerin E. Gunn mention the 12-year-old boy who was a prisoner at Dachau until he was 25 years old?

My photo of the unknown prisoner at Dachau

Here is another quote from the same blog:

This statue outside the gas chamber [shown in my photo above] was rife with defiance and meaning. It shows a prisoner with a casual stance. Prisoners were not allowed to be at ease at any time, they were always expected to stand at attention. It shows him hand in pocket, which was punishable with a shot to the back of the head. It shows him wearing covered shoes and a big, thick coat. Both forbidden at Dachau. The inscription on the bottom urges the viewer to remember the dead and warn the living. The patch of land the statue looks over contains one of Europe’s largest mass graves. The beautiful trees growing there now were fed off the ashes of those sent to the crematoriums.

The “patch of land the statue looks over” is located only a few feet from Baracke X, the gas chamber building. My photo below shows the grave of ashes for the Jews who died at Dachau.

It has occurred to me that some readers might think that the grumpy old man in the house next to the wall around Dachau might be Martin Zaidenstadt, the pan-handler who used to demand money from American visitors to the Memorial Site.  If given less than $20, he would get very grumpy.  A house next to the wall would have been a convenient place for him to live,  but for a man as rich as Zaidenstadt, that would not have been an option.

Martin Zaidenstadt stopped coming to the Dachau Memorial Site to beg for money in 2001.  I was told by someone on the Dachau staff that he was too ill to come to the camp anymore.  Martin was born in 1911, so if he is still alive, he is 101 years old.  I was told by someone in the town of Dachau that he lives in the luxurious house in the photo below, which is just off the main street in the town.

Two story house, with a courtyard, in the heart of the town of Dachau

Records found in the 1990s show that the father of Daniel Goldsmith was killed in a gas chamber

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:25 am

I have always thought that there are no records of the prisoners who were gassed at Auschwitz.  I have always heard that selections were made, just after the Jews arrived on trains at Auschwitz, and those who were selected for the gas chamber were not registered.  No records were made for the prisoners who were gassed, according to every Holocaust book that I’ve ever read.

But according to a recent talk, given by Holocaust survivor Daniel Goldsmith at a Catholic school, there was a record made for his father, who was “killed in a gas chamber.”  You can read the full story in a news article here.

This quote is from the news article:

Daniel Goldsmith, a Holocaust child survivor, and Bernard Lens, a World War II veteran who helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp, visited Hilltown’s St. Agnes-Sacred Heart Catholic School for a slideshow presentation on the Holocaust Thursday, Oct. 11.

[…]

In the fall of 1944, the town he were (sic) living in was liberated by American soldiers, and he was able to reunite with his mother. Goldsmith found out from his mother that his father had died in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

[…]

Years later, in the 1990s, Goldsmith found records that stated his father had been killed in a gas chamber.

This is BIG NEWS.  The records of the prisoners who were gassed at Auschwitz have apparently been found.  This means the end of Holocaust denial.

The memorial stones, at the International Monument in the former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, now say that 1.5 million people died at Auschwitz.  This number is an estimate.  Now that the records have been found, the stones, which originally said that 4 million had died at Auschwitz, will have to be changed again and this time the exact figure for the number of Jews who were gassed can be put on the memorial stones.

Original plaque at the International Monument in Auschwitz-Birkenau

Memorial stone at the International Monument in Auschwitz-Birkenau

The old black and white photo above shows that the original plaque at the Internationl Monument claimed that 4 million people died at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  The color photo shows the new plaque which says that 1.5 million died at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

As shown in the color photo, the English inscription reads:

FOR EVER LET THIS PLACE BE A CRY OF DESPAIR AND A WARNING TO HUMANITY, WHERE THE NAZIS MURDERED ABOUT ONE AND A HALF MILLION MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN MAINLY JEWS FROM VARIOUS COUNTRIES OF EUROPE. AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU 1940-1945

From 1986 to April 3, 1990, the words on the English plaque read:

FOUR MILLION PEOPLE SUFFERED AND DIED HERE AT THE HANDS OF THE NAZI MURDERERS BETWEEN THE YEARS 1940 AND 1945.

Four million was the number of Auschwitz-Birkenau victims that the Soviet prosecutors at the Nuremberg IMT claimed in their charges against the Nazi war criminals in November 1945.

After the fall of Communism in 1989, the Soviet Union released the 46 death register books (Sterbebücher) which they had captured when they liberated the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps on Jan. 27, 1945. The books, which were turned over to the International Red Cross, contained the names of 69,000 prisoners who had died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps from July 27, 1941 to December 31, 1943.

The Auschwitz I camp opened on May 20, 1940 and both camps were evacuated on Jan. 18, 1945, so some of the death registers were missing. The Red Cross extrapolated these figures and estimated that there was a total of 135,000 registered deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The Jews who were gassed had allegedly not been registered in the camp and their deaths were not included in the records that were turned over to the Red Cross in 1989.

The train records for the Jews who were transported to Auschwitz have never been found, but it has been estimated that a total of 1.3 million Jews were sent to Auschwitz and around 200,000 were eventually sent to other camps after being registered. Based on these figures, the total number of deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau is now estimated to be 1.1 million, including 900,000 Jewish deaths.

Strangely, the records, to which Daniel Goldsmith alluded, were found in the 1990s.  This was after the Russians had turned over the records from the camp to the Red Cross.

I am looking forward to reading more about the records that were found in the 1990s, since apparently these records name names.  This will finally put an end to Holocaust denier Bradley Smith asking for the name of just one person who was gassed.  (I love Bradley Smith; he is a great writer, but he is constantly making trouble. He writes on the CODOH website.)