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November 11, 2012

Kristallnacht marked the beginning of Hitler’s war against the Jews

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 12:08 pm

The title of my blog post today is a quote from an editorial piece written by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield on Fox News.  I previously blogged about the events leading up to Kristallnacht here.

Here is the full quote from Rabbi Brad Hirschfield’s editorial:

Kristallnacht marked the beginning of Hitler’s war against the Jews – his campaign for a “final solution” to the so-called “Jewish problem.” Seventy-four years later, people gather around the world to remember that horrible and fateful night. But how does one remember and commemorate a terrible past when the present is good and the future is looking even better?

What was “the so-called Jewish problem?”

The title of the Wannsee Conference, ordered by Hermann Goering, where the Holocaust was planned, was “The total solution to the Jewish question in Europe.”  According to Goering’s testimony at the Nuremberg IMT, the German word “Die Endlösung” meant “the total solution, not the final solution.”

On the third day of his cross examination of Goering at the Nuremberg IMT, the American prosecutor Robert Jackson questioned him about the treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany, including the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship, which Goering had signed in September 1935.

Then Jackson confronted Goering with the most incriminating piece of evidence in the entire trial: a letter dated July 31, 1941, in which Goering had ordered Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), to prepare a plan for the “Final solution of the Jewish question.” Goering testified that the German term “Die Endlösung” in the letter should have been translated as the “total solution,” and that it referred only to “the emigration of the Jews,” not the extermination of  the Jews.

“The Jewish Question” was Should the Jews have their own state, or their own state-within-a-state?  Those who were against the Jews having their own state, or their own state within another country, were called anti-Semites because they wanted the Jews to assimilate, instead of having their own state.  Hitler was NOT an anti-Semite.  He did not want the Jews in Europe to assimilate; he wanted them to have their own state.

As the rabbi makes clear in his editorial, the Jews in America have assimilated, so there is no “Jewish problem” in America today.

November 10, 2012

Why was no one ever put on trial for the torture and murder of Noor Inayat Khan?

Filed under: Dachau, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:04 am

This morning, I read the following, regarding the torture and abuse of Noor Inayat Khan, on this blog:

On September 13, 1944 Noor, and three other women agents – one of them Elaine Plewman – were taken to Dachau concentration camp. Her three fellow agents were shot immediately, Noor suffered further torture and abuse by SS guards before being shot through the head, her body was immediately burnt in the camp crematorium.

September 13, 1944?  The plaque on the wall of the Dachau crematorium, shown in the photo above, states that the four women were executed at Dachau on September 12, 1944, but September 13th is close enough.

It is strange that the exact date of the execution is unknown, but what is even more strange is that no one was ever prosecuted for the deaths of these four British SOE agents.  The women were fighting as illegal combatants during a war, so their execution was legal, but that didn’t matter.  Under the ex-post-facto laws, made up by the Allies after the war, the murder of these women was a “war crime,” so why was no one ever put on trial for this ignominious act?

The man who was responsible for shooting the four women at Dachau was Frederich Wilhelm Ruppert, who was the officer in charge of executions at Dachau.  Most accounts of the death of Noor Inayat Khan say that Wilhelm Ruppert personally shot the women in the head, but even if he did not do the actual shooting himself, he was still guilty of a “war crime” under the ex-post-facto law of “common design.”

Frederich Wilhelm Ruppert

Ruppert was put on trial, and convicted, by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, but he was not charged with a crime in the deaths of the British SOE agents at Dachau.  Why not?

Wilhelm Ruppert is identified by a witness during his trial

When Dachau was liberated by American troops on April 29, 1945, all of the camp records were still intact.  The SS men had fled the night before, but without destroying the records, or blowing up the gas chamber.

The camp had been turned over to the International Committee of Dachau, an internal prisoner organization, of which Albert Guérisse was in charge.  Guérisse was a British SOE agent himself, and you would think that he would have immediately informed the Americans of the torture and abuse of his fellow SOE agent Noor Inayat Khan.  But no!  Guérisse immediately escorted the Americans to the gas chamber and never said a word about the crime of torturing and shooting an Indian Princess who was an SOE agent.

On the day that Dachau was liberated, there were at least six male British SOE agents among the prisoners, including Johnny Hopper, Robert Sheppard, Brian Stonehouse and Albert Guérisse. After surviving Mauthausen and Natzweiler, two concentration camps that were much worse than Dachau, all of these male SOE agents had been brought to Dachau on September 6, 1944, less than a week before the women were allegedly executed.

But after all the trouble that the Nazis went to, in order to provide SOE men as witnesses to the execution of four SOE women, the male agents neglected to inform the Americans of this crime.

This quote is from another blog post which you can read here:

At Dachau, they [the SOE women] were locked up separately overnight. There is some evidence that Noor was brutally beaten–not for interrogation purposes at this point, but out of pure sadism. In the morning, they were led to the execution ground and were all shot.

The blogger doesn’t say what the evidence is that Noor was brutally beaten …. out of pure sadism.  Yet, we know that Noor was tortured and beaten all night before she was killed the next morning because this is mentioned in every news article and blog post about her.

Why was Noor singled out for torture and abuse out of pure sadism? Was it because she was an Indian Princess?

Wikipedia also says that Noor was beaten and killed at Dachau, so we know that it is true:

On 11 September 1944 Noor Inayat Khan and three other SOE agents from Karlsruhe prison, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman and Madeleine Damerment, were moved to the Dachau Concentration Camp. In the early hours of the morning of 13 September 1944, the four women were executed by a shot to the head. Their bodies were immediately burned in the crematorium. An anonymous Dutch prisoner emerging in 1958 contended that Inayat Khan was cruelly beaten by a high-ranking SS officer named Wilhelm Ruppert before being shot down from behind.

Why did the anonymous Dutch prisoner wait until 1958 before coming forward as a witness?  How did he know the name of the SS officer whom he observed beating poor Noor?  How did he manage to be at the bunker, where the women were imprisoned at Dachau, so that he could witness the beating and torture of Noor?

What is the evidence that Noor Inayat Khan was brought to Dachau?  There were no records of the British SOE women being brought to Dachau, nor any records of their execution found by the Americans who liberated the camp.

This blog post gives the evidence that the four SOE women were brought to Dachau:

Some time in September 1944, a teleprinter message from Berlin arrived at the local Gestap (sic) office in Pforzheim. It directed that Noor, along with three other female agents being held in the prison, be taken to a “convenient” concentration camp and executed.

I think that the blogger is mixing up Pforzheim, where Noor was a prisoner, with the Karlsruhe prison where the other three SOE women were being held.

According to Sarah Helm’s biography of Vera Atkins, entitled A Life in Secrets, Atkins went to the Karlsruhe prison on April 27, 1946 to examine the records of the SOE agents who had been imprisoned there for nine months. The records show that, on July 6, 1944, four British SOE women were taken to “einem KZ,”  a concentration camp.  The name of the camp where they were taken was not mentioned in the records.  Nor was the word “execution” mentioned.

Atkins did not find Noor’s name, nor her alias Nora Baker, in the Karlsruhe records, but when she discovered that “Sonia Olschanezky” was one of the women who had left on July 6, 1944, Atkins assumed that Noor had used a new alias, just as Madeleine Damerment had given the alias “Martine Dussautoy” at the prison. She was now positive that Noor Inayat Khan was one of the women who had left Karlsruhe on July 6th, bound for an unnamed concentration camp, which Atkins was sure was Natzweiler. At that point, Atkins had no idea that Noor Inayat Khan had been a prisoner at Pforzheim, not Karlsruhe.

November 8, 2012

Sculpture of Noor Inayat Khan unveiled by the British

Filed under: Dachau, World War II — Tags: — furtherglory @ 10:23 am

This morning, when I checked my blog stats, I noticed that three of my previous posts about Noor Inayat Khan were getting lots of hits.  (here, here and here) This tipped me off that there must be some news about her.  I did a search and found a news article about her here.  I previously blogged about the memorial for Noor Inayat Khan here.

I learned something new about Noor: she was executed by a FIRING SQUAD at Dachau.  That is good news.  At least she was given a proper execution, befitting a brave heroine who fought as a legal combatant during a war — NOT!

Unfortunately, no one took a photo of her execution.  The only witness to her execution, who came forward long after the war, said that she had been shot in the head by a high ranking SS officer after he had beaten her into a “bloody mess.”

This quote is from the article in the BBC news:

After evading capture for three months, the spy was imprisoned, tortured and eventually shot by the German Gestapo at Dachau concentration camp in 1944.

Her final word – uttered as the German firing squad raised their weapons – was simple. “Liberté”.

The article doesn’t say whether she was given the usual blindfold before she was executed by a firing squad.  Hopefully, she was.

The usual method of execution at Dachau was by hanging.  You can read, on my website, about the staff members of the Dachau camp who were convicted of a war crime, by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, because they participated in the executions by hanging at Dachau.

With all of the proof that Noor was shot, either by a firing squad, or by a shot in the head by an high ranking officer, the staff members at the Dachau Memorial site have the nerve to tell people, who inquire about the records of her execution, that there are no records of Noor being brought to Dachau, nor any records of her execution at Dachau.

You can read about the alleged execution of General Delestraint at Dachau on my website here.  Strangely, none of the male prisoners in the SOE were executed at Dachau; on the contrary, the men were treated very well.  Only women in the SOE were tortured and killed at Dachau.

You can read about the fate of Andrée Borrel, one of the SOE women here.  You can read a previous post about the SOE women here.

November 7, 2012

Was the “tree hanging” (den Baum hängen) punishment used at Auschwitz?

Filed under: Buchenwald, Dachau, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:14 pm

A reader of my blog made a comment on my post about Father Kolbe, the priest who volunteered to die in someone else’s place at Auschwitz.   It is well known that Father Kolbe died in a “starvation cell” at Auschwitz.  I had no reason to question this story until I read the following comment:

In July 49, it was said that Father Kolbe had died from stravation and injection of carbolic acid.

In August 55 it was said that Father Kolbe had died from starvation. It was also said that he was recovering from pneumonia at that time.

In March 1960 it was said that Father Kolbe had died in a gas chamber.

What is the true version of his death? Different versions generally mean “lie”. Maybe he just died from pneumonia…

I agree with the reader who made the comment.  When there are different versions of a story, that usually means that the story is a lie.  So I decided to do a little research on the subject of punishments used in the concentration camps.

In the course of my search, I found this quote on the website of the Auschwitz Museum:

Punishments and executions
Contributed by Jacek Lachendro
Page 4 of 10

The “post” was an especially painful punishment. It was usually administered in the loft of block 11 or in the yard outside the block. The victim’s hands were tied behind his back and he was hung from a post so that his feet could not touch the ground. The punishment was usually inflicted for several hours, an hour at a time. The prisoner lost consciousness because of the intense pain. The punishment usually caused the rupture of the tendons in the shoulder, leaving the victim unable to move his arms. This put him at risk of being sent to the gas chamber as unfit for work.

I  also found this quote, about the hanging punishment, on this blog:

2) Backwards Hanging
Outside of Block 11 stands a three-meter post, with a hook near the top. Victims of this unspeakable torture had their arms tied behind their back, were lifted up, and hung onto the hook by their bonds, their arms breaking at the joints. Some died of shock and pain there on the post; others did not. The problem with the latter case was that you were no longer fit to work and therefore of no use to your captors, and were either sent to the hospital where the experimenting doctors could find you (see #5), sent to the gas chamber (see #4), or simply executed via a shot of acid, injected directly into your heart.

I copied the photo below from the blog, from which I quoted above.

Tour guide demonstrates how prisoners were hung from these poles at Auschwitz

On my trip to Auschwitz in 2005, I did not take a guided tour, but I did hear a tour guide tell her group that the two poles shown in the photo above were used for the hanging punishment.

The photo below shows an exhibit at the Buchenwald camp, which was put up for the benefit of the German citizens of Weimar who were force marched, at gun point, to the Buchenwald to see the exhibits of the atrocities committed there.

Exhibit put up at Buchenwald illustrates the “tree hanging” punishment

A close-up of the sign on the “tree hanging” punishment exhibit

The display in the photos above depicts the punishment called “tree hanging,” which was devised by Martin Sommer, the SS officer who was in charge of the bunker, or the camp prison. This punishment was reserved for serious offenses such as sabotage in the factories at Buchenwald, where the prisoners were forced to work. It was discontinued in 1942 by order of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, who was the head of all the concentration camps.

The words on the sign, shown in the photo above, are “Ein Strafvollzug der Nazi-Kultur: Das sogenannte an den Baum hängen.” The last two words are illegible. The English translation is “A Punishment of Nazi Culture: The so-called hanging on a tree.”

Martin Sommer, the alleged innovator of this cruel punishment, was put on trial by SS officer Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen in a Nazi court in 1943 at the same time that Buchenwald Commandant Karl Otto Koch and his wife Ilse were put on trial by the Nazis for embezzlement and abuse of the prisoners at Buchenwald. After the trial, Sommer was transferred to the Russian front where he was wounded in action. Sommer was again tried by a West German court in 1958. Sommer, who was a paraplegic as a result of war wounds, was convicted of the murder of 25 Buchenwald prisoners by injection and was sentenced to life in prison.

I previously blogged about Martin Sommer here.

There were also claims by the Dachau Museum that the “tree hanging” punishment was used at Dachau.

This photo was hanging in the Dachau Museum in 2001

The photo above was taken in the Museum at Dachau in May 2001. The photo, which is a depiction of the tree hanging punishment at Buchenwald, was not included in the new Museum at Dachau which opened in May 2003.

According to Harold Marcuse, Professor of History at the University of California at Santa Barbara, this scene was created in 1958 for an East German DEFA film, which is why the photo is no longer used. Reference: H. Obenaus, “Das Foto vom Baumhängen: Ein Bild geht um die Welt,” in Stiftung Topographie des Terrors Berlin (ed.), Gedenkstätten-Rundbrief no. 68, Berlin, October 1995, pp. 3-8.

Buchenwald was in the Soviet Zone of occupation in Germany after World War II.  Why did the Soviets have to fake a photo of the “tree hanging” punishment?  The Germans took photos of everything, so why are their no real photos of the “tree hanging” punishment?

Before Heinrich Himmler banned this cruel punishment, it had apparently spread to the Auschwitz camp in what is now Poland.  You know it’s true if a tour guide mentions it.

I took the photo below in 2005, just after the tour guide moved on.

The Block 10 building at Auschwitz with two poles for the “tree hanging” punishment

Notice how short the poles are. They don’t look to be 3 meters high. The idea behind the “tree hanging” punishment was that the victims were hung by the arms so that their feet were not touching the ground and their whole body weight was on the arms.  Block 10 was a hospital building, so the victim could have been immediately carried into a hospital as soon as their shoulders became dislocated.

I personally don’t believe that this punishment was used at Auschwitz.  I am also beginning to have doubts about the “starvation cells.”

I also learned about these methods of killing at Auschwitz from this website:

In addition to the killing of prisoners who were not capable of working, children were the other target of execution. The SS men killed children by bending them over their knees and breaking their spines, then throwing them into ditches. They gassed all children under 1.2 meters tall. The adults also suffered from the brutal tortures used in the camp. The Nazis sometimes placed iron bar on the victims’ throats and stood on the bar with feet placed on the ends. Inside the Auschwitz’ starvation cell, prisoners were so desperate that they ate their own companions’ organs. The SS extracted nails from fingers, inserted needles into sensitive parts of the body and on women’s breasts, poured water down the throats.

November 4, 2012

Nazis were counting on the disbelief of the implausible monstrosity of Auschwitz

Filed under: Buchenwald, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 6:37 am

In a telephone interview with John Przybys of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Elie Wiesel gives his explanation for how the Nazis got away with the mass murder of the Jews at Auschwitz: they knew that no one would stop it because no one would believe it.

This quote from Elie Wiesel is in the article written by John Przybys which you can read in full here:

…. ‘But the trouble, maybe, was, why should a normal reader in New York or Paris believe that people were like that, that people did what they did to other people, to other human beings? That they created a universe called Auschwitz, that 10,000 people (a day) would be killed? Why would they believe it?”

The almost implausible monstrosity of the event was “exactly what these killers were counting on,” Wiesel says. “By going too far, by embracing too much and daring to do things no other state has ever done, they felt the world won’t believe, so they are immune.” In “Night,” Wiesel writes that when their train stops at Auschwitz station, the deported Jews on board know nothing of the name’s meaning and assume it to be merely a work camp.

“What pains me is at the end of May 1944 (the date of Elie Wiesel’s arrival in Auschwitz), everyone knew the meaning of Auschwitz,” Wiesel says. “They knew it in Rome, they knew it in Washington, they knew it in Stockholm, they knew it in London. Everybody knew it, except we Jews from Hungary didn’t.”

What Elie Wiesel seems to be saying is that the whole world, except for the people in Hungary, knew that 10,000 people per day were being murdered at Auschwitz, yet no one did anything to stop it.  Why?  Because this was such “an implausible monstrosity of an event” that no one could believe it.

Elie Wiesel may have gotten the idea for the expression “an implausible monstrosity of an event” from Primo Levi, another prisoner at the Auschwitz III (Monowitz) camp.  A reader of my blog post wrote this in a comment:

“The Italian survivor Primo Levi recorded in his The Drowned and the Saved the following admonishment that the SS guard enjoyed to give to the prisoners.

“However this war may end, we have won the war against you; none of you will be left to bear witness, but even if someone were to survive, the world will not believe him. There will be perhaps suspicions, discussions, research by historians, but there will be no certainties, because we will destroy the evidence together with you. And even if some proof should remain and some of you survive, people will say the events you describe are too monstrous to be believed: they will say that they are exaggerations of Allied propaganda and will believe us, who will deny everything, and not you. We will be the ones to dictate the history of the Lagers.”

Robert Jan van Pelt, Expert Report

“Almost four million other innocents were swallowed up by the extermination plants erected by the Nazis at Birkenau, two kilometres from Auschwitz.”

– Primo Levi

As it turned out, Elie Wiesel and his father were spared because they were selected to work, and when the three Auschwitz camps were abandoned, they were taken to Buchenwald. (Auschwitz was a combination “death camp,” labor camp, and transit camp.)

You can read more about Elie Wiesel at this website.  You can read about the identity of Elie Wiesel on this blog.  I previously blogged about Elie Wiesel and his tattoo number here.

November 3, 2012

Jewish population in Israel will soon reach 6 million

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 1:04 pm

In an article which you can read in full here, I learned that the number of Jews in Israel will soon reach the number of 6 million, the number of Jews that were killed in the Holocaust.

This quote is from the article:

Sometime this year, or early next, Israel’s Jewish population will reach six million. It is close: 5.975 million, according to the Israeli government’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

The figure has not been marked in any ceremony, it is simply a number in a routine publication released by the organization’s statisticians. In some respects six million is just a number—after all, no one knows precisely how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust. And taking into account its 1.6 million Arab minority and some foreign workers, Israel’s overall population is already more than seven million. What’s more, if the diaspora is included, there are 13.5 million Jews worldwide. But like dates and anniversaries, the six-million figure has become as embedded in the popular culture of Jews in Israel and in the diaspora as the phrase “never again,” adding considerable significance to this looming demographic milestone. The Holocaust is slowly passing from living to historical memory, as only about 200,000 survivors are left in Israel. Last year, 12,000 died. Yet, as it slips into the past and becomes part of a particularly bloody century, the Holocaust is more remembered and commemorated than ever before.

What makes this perhaps more significant is that in the years after the war, the survivors were virtually ignored in the young state, said Robert Jan van Pelt, a Holocaust historian and professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. Thanks to the survivors sharing their stories with friends and relatives in their new communities, their experiences were passed on and gradually became part of Israeli public consciousness, he said.

I was surprised to read in this article that there are only 13.5 million Jews world wide today.

This quote is from the Nizkor website:

Authors: Annie Alpert, John Morris In August of 1997, an author identifying himself as Bob Djurdjevic, the founder of “Truth in Media,” included the following paragraph in a letter to The Arizona Republic:

“The World Almanac for 1940 gives the world’s Jewish population as 15,319,359. The World Almanac for 1949 puts the number of Jews in the world at 15,713,638.

“If the World Almanac figures are correct, “the world’s Jewish population did not decrease in the war decade, but showed a small increase.”

The 1949 figure offered by Mr. Djurdjevic was, as you’re about to see, an outright lie, as was the conclusion drawn.

When citing the World Almanac as a source for data “proving” that there was no Jewish population decline during World War II, Holocaust deniers are simply propagating one of the standard denier myths that has recurred regularly for more than a decade.

The Nizkor website is an anti-revisionist website. Note that Nizkor is disputing the number of Jews in 1949.  How could there be an increase in the number of Jews, after the war, when 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, including 1.5 million children?

This quote is from a revisionist blog which quotes figures from the 1934 World Almanac and the 1948 World Almanac:

The 1934 World Almanac notes the following pre-WWII populations of Christians and jews:

Christians 682,400,000

jews 15,315,000

In 1948, after WWII, the 1949 World Almanac notes the following populations:

Christians 592,406,542

jews 15,753,638

So which side is right about the world population of Jews before and after the Holocaust?  Note that the number of Christians decreased during World War II.

Perhaps this quote from the news article about the Jewish population of Israel will help people to make up their minds with regard to stories told about the Holocaust:

Survivors such as Freddie Knoller, 91, have dedicated a large part of their lives to testifying against what happened to them during the Holocaust when approximately six million Jews were murdered.


Knoller’s parents died in Auschwitz, he survived Nazi-occupied France, and he watched prisoners eat dead bodies to stay alive in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

I’ve seen lots of photos of the prisoners who died in the typhus epidemic at Bergen-Belsen, but most of the bodies do not look as if they had been eaten.

Did the prisoners have knives suitable for carving the flesh from dead bodies?  Did the prisoners cook the meat from the dead bodies, or did they eat it raw?  Does eating flesh from a diseased body cause a person to get sick?  There were 13,000 prisoners at Bergen-Belsen who died AFTER the British took over.  Allegedly, they died from eating too much rich food given to them by the British.  Did they really die from eating dead bodies?

The photos below show some of the dead bodies found at Bergen-Belsen when the camp was voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945.

British liberators of Bergen-Belsen used a bulldozer to shove diseased bodies into mass graves

The body in the foreground of this photo appears to have had flesh cut off the back

Mass graves were dug by the British at Bergen-Belsen after they took over the camp

German civilians were forced, at gunpoint, to load dead bodies into trucks at Bergen-Belsen

November 1, 2012

Maryland students hear a talk by a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:16 am

There are hundreds of Holocaust survivors who are giving talks to American students about the horrors of the concentration camps and the “death camps” which they survived.  From an article in the Washington Post, I learned about Emanuel “Manny” Mandel, a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp, who spoke to students in Maryland.

This quote is from the Washington Post:

Mandel was the youngest survivor to address the students Tuesday.

He was raised in Budapest and was 8 when he was sent to Bergen-Belsen with his mother in 1944.

Nothing more was said in the article in the Washington Post, but I immediately recognized that Manny might have been one of the prisoners at Bergen Belsen, who were exchanged for prisoners being held by the Allies.  So I did a search and found another article here which explains how Manny survived six months in the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp before it was turned into a concentration camp in December 1944.

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

Manny Mandel was only 7 years old when the Germans occupied Budapest in March 1944.


Mandel and his family were among a group of Jews that were going to be traded in exchange for materials and goods from the Allied powers, a deal which was being negotiated by Nazi commander Adolf Eichmann. About 1,600 to 1,700 Hungarian Jews left Hungary and were promised they would be transported safely to Switzerland, he said. When the negotiations fell through, they were taken on a train to the Bergen-Belsen camp.

While his father was off performing hard labor for the government, Manny and his mother were taken to Bergen-Belsen in July 1944. He said they stayed in barracks 11 and 12. Each barrack held about 100 people with triple bunk beds.

Manny and his mother were taken out of the camp in December 1944. They were taken by Nazi transport to Switzerland, first to a Red Cross hotel in Caux, the French part of Switzerland, near Montreux, and later to a children’s home in Heiden.

Nineteen other children went with them. Manny said his mother was allowed to go because she was a former schoolteacher and was fluent in German, French and Hungarian, and would be able to translate lessons.

After the war ended, Manny and Ella traveled by ship to Palestine. They learned his father had survived and was in Hungary. Manny’s father had boarded a ship in La Spezia, Italy, along with 100 other people who were trying to get into Israel illegally, but the ship was stopped by British destroyers.

“As part of an agreement, the British would not allow any more Jews into Israel and had closed the borders,” Mandel said. Mandel said his father and the 100 other people went on a hunger strike for several days until the British finally decided to let them go.

Did Manny tell the Maryland students the truth about Bergen-Belsen being an exchange camp and the truth about the British trying to keep Jews out of Palestine while Hitler was sneaking Jews into Palestine via “The Transfer Agreement”?

I did learn something new from the article:

“There was not a stick left from 65 years ago,” Mandel said. “The Germans burned down almost everything before the British came and destroyed most of the records.”

When British forces liberated the camp on April 15, 1945, they discovered about 60,000 prisoners and thousands of unburied corpses on the camp grounds. After evacuating Bergen-Belsen, British forces burned down what was left of the camp to prevent the spread of typhus.

Why would the Germans have destroyed “most of the records” from an EXCHANGE camp?  Did they want to prevent future historians from knowing that Hitler had a plan to exchange 30,000 Jews for 30,000 prisoners in Allied camps?  You can read about the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp on my website here.  I previously blogged about the records in the Bergen-Belsen camp here.

As for Manny Mandel’s statement that the Germans burned down “almost everything” at Bergen-Belsen, where did the prisoners live until the British arrived?

After the British burned down the barracks at Bergen-Belsen, the prisoners were moved to the SS barracks that were adjacent to the camp.

This quote is from the article in the Washington Post:

They came as part of a program aimed at connecting curriculum with real life. The students are reading Anne Frank’s diary.

If this program in a Maryland school was aimed at connecting the curriculum with real life, I wonder if Manny Mandel pointed out that, unlike Anne Frank, who was sent from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen, he was in “the Hungarian camp” where prisoners were treated very well as they waited to be exchanged?

I previously blogged here about how Anne Frank would have fared if her family had not gone into hiding.

This quote is from this page of my website about the 8 separate camps at Bergen-Belsen:

4. Hungarian Camp (Ungarnlager)

This camp was established on July 8, 1944 for 1683 Jews from Hungary. According to the Memorial Site, they were treated even better than the inmates in the Star camp. They were allowed to wear civilian clothes, with a Star of David sewn on. They did not have to work, nor were they forced to attend the endless roll calls. They were given better food and the sick were properly cared for. They were known as Vorzugsjuden or Preferential Jews. Like the Star Camp, this camp had a Jewish self-administration.

5. Star Camp (Sternlager)

Approximately 4,000 Jewish prisoners, mostly from the Netherlands, lived in the Star camp, where conditions were somewhat better than in other parts of Bergen-Belsen. In the Star camp, the prisoners wore a yellow Star of David on their own clothes instead of the usual blue and gray striped prison uniform, but they did have to work, even the old people, according to the Memorial Site.

In spite of the fact that Manny Mandel was in the very best section of the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp, he had to tell something about the horror of the camp.  This quote is from this article:

Manny said he had symptoms of what was pneumonia. Since antibiotics were not available, he and his mother wrapped burlap sacks covered with muster plaster around his body to treat the infection in his lungs.

Mandel said the prisoners knew full well that the Nazi officers would remove the sick people from the camp and take them to the dispensary, where they were never seen again.

Were the sick prisoners “never seen again” because they were put into a hospital in the camp or because they were killed, as Manny implied?

How did his mother manage to have “muster plaster” in a Nazi camp?  Oh, that’s right, Manny was in the best section of the camp, as he waited to be exchanged.  The truth is, that the “muster plaster” was probably supplied by the German doctors in the camp, who did not want to put little Manny in the hospital where he might have caught other diseases.

I had never heard of “muster plaster” so I had to look it up on Wikipedia, where I found this quote about MUSTARD PLASTER.

A mustard plaster is a poultice of mustard seed powder spread inside a protective dressing and applied to the chest or abdomen to stimulate healing. In times past and present, the mixture was spread onto a cloth and applied to the chest or back. The mustard paste itself should never make contact with the skin. Applied externally, black mustard is used in the treatment of bronchial pneumonia and pleurisy.

Fortunately Manny’s mother just happened to have some black mustard seed among her possessions in the Bergen-Belsen Hungarian camp, so Manny didn’t have to go to the camp hospital and he was saved from certain death.

I continued to search for other stories of Bergen-Belsen survivors who are speaking to American students and I came across an article here about Marion Blumenthal Lazan who has been speaking to students for 27 years.

Marion’s father was sent to a camp “for 10 days after Kristallnacht, and when he was released [the family] went to Holland.”  According to the article, “They were in Holland, waiting in the Westerbork detention camp to leave for the United States in December 1939 when Germany invaded.”  (Germany invaded Holland in 1939?)

It is my understanding that the “Westerbork detention camp” was originally set up for Jews who were in Holland illegally; it was later turned into a transit camp for Jews who were sent to concentration camps. I previously blogged about Westerbork here.

In January 1944, the Blumenthal family was sent to Bergen-Belsen.  The photo below shows Marion holding up a Gold Star which she and her family had to wear in Bergen-Belsen. This means that she was in “the Star camp,” where prisoners at Bergen-Belsen were treated well.

Marion Blumenthal-Lazan gave a stirring talk on her surviving the holocaust and the horrendous living conditions in the concentration camps during W.W. II. She holds up the yellow Star of David she was given to wear in the interment camp in Holland and had to continue to wear it while she was a prisoner in German concentration camp. Photo by JohnStrickler/The Mercury

Marion has written a book that is in its 23rd printing and has been translated into German, Dutch and Japanese, as well as being the inspiration for an hour-long documentary titled “Marion’s Triumph — Surviving History’s Nightmare.”

With her book and the documentary, combined with speaking to students for 27 years, how much money has Marion made off her four months of imprisonment in the Star Camp of Bergen-Belsen?

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