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December 23, 2012

Holocaust survivor who volunteered for the gas chamber, but a Nazi doctor intervened

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 7:50 am

Holocaust survivor Rose Sherman Williams told her story recently to students in San Antonio, Texas.  Her emphasis was on the consequences of bullying.  The Nazis were the greatest bullies of all time, and God forbid that today’s American children should grow up to be Nazis.

Rose is now speaking out after years of silence. The most remarkable detail in her story is that she was in such misery at the Auschwitz death camp that she VOLUNTEERED to go to the gas chamber so that she could end it all.  But a Nazi doctor stopped her.

In her speech to the school children, Rose said that when “Nazi Germany troops” invaded her home town in Poland, she was about the same age as the middle school students, who were visiting the Jewish Community Center that day to hear her speech.

Rose told the students that, instead of water, gas would come out of the shower heads in the camp where she was taken.

Rose was eventually sent to Auschwitz.

This quote is from the news article about her speech, which you can read in full here:

“They gave us a number which I still carry on my hand, tattooed: “A15049,” Williams said while holding up her arm so students could see the tattoo. “That was the name I had to answer to and God forbid if I didn’t hear my name called. You cannot imagine the beating I would get.”

So much suffering, and Rose said she wanted to die: she volunteered to go to the concentration camp’s gas chamber.

But a Nazi doctor intervened. For years, Williams wondered why.

For years, Rose wondered why a Nazi doctor would not let her volunteer for the gas chamber at Auschwitz?  (By the way, who was this Nazi doctor?  Was this the famous Dr. Mengele, who appears in every Holocaust survivor story?)

Rose was not allowed to volunteer for the gas chamber because she had already been tattooed. She had already been registered in the camp and there was an IBM Hollerith punch card for her in the camp administration records. I previously blogged about the Hollerith punch cards on this blog post.

If her card had been found after Auschwitz was abandoned, this would have been proof that someone had been gassed at Auschwitz after they had been registered.   Of course, the Nazis were not going to let that happen.  The Jews who were gassed were sent immediately to the gas chamber without being registered and tattooed.  The names of the Jews who were gassed are unknown.

Nice try, but no cigar!  Sorry, Rose.