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December 30, 2012

The Buchenwald concentration camp and the Treblinka “extermination camp” both had a zoo

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 6:23 am

There is an on-going discussion in the comments section of my blog about the mislabeling of photos by Holocaust Museums.  For example, the photo below, which is shown on the Yad Vashem Museum website here.

Bears in the Treblinka zoo

Photo of the Treblinka zoo on Yad Vashem website

Photo of bears, enhanced in PhotoShop

Same photo of bears, enhanced in PhotoShop

I have added an enhanced version of the photo. Notice the background, which shows a stone structure, like the one at Buchenwald zoo.

Here is the caption on the photo above, as it is written on the Yad Vashem website:

Treblinka, Poland, Bears in the menagerie belonging to the camp command.
Belongs to collection:
Yad Vashem Photo Archive
Additional Information:
The photograph is from the private album of Kurt Franz from the time of his service as Deputy Commandant of Treblinka. The album was presented by the prosecution at Franz’s trial in Dusseldorf during the years 1964-5.
Justizverwaltung des Landes Nordrhein- Westfalen
Yad Vashem
Name of submitter:
Leitender Oberstaatsanwalt-Dusseldorf

One of the regular readers of my blog believes that the photo, shown above, is mislabeled and that the photo was actually taken at Buchenwald, a concentration camp which also had a zoo.

The photos below were taken by me in 1999 when I visited the Buchenwald Memorial Site.

Bearpit in the Buchenwald zoo

Bear pit in the Buchenwald zoo

House for bears at Buchenwald

House for bears at Buchenwald

The zoo at Buchenwald was built in 1938, as soon as the camp was opened. Commandant Karl Otto Koch ordered the construction of a park area for the SS guards, just outside the camp fence. The park featured a birdhouse, a water basin, and a zoo for four bears and five monkeys. The bears were in full view of the prisoners, and there was also an elaborate falconry in another area outside the camp where the SS kept birds of prey.

Commandant Koch may have been a cruel, ostentatious embezzler, but he was soft-hearted when it came to animals. The Buchenwald camp guidebook contains the following order by Commandant Koch, concerning the animals at Buchenwald:

Commanders’s Order No. 56 dated 8th September 1938 (Extract)

1. Buchenwald zoological gardens has been created in order to provide diversion and entertainment for the men in their leisure time and to show them the beauty and peculiarities of various animals which they will hardly be able to meet and observe in the wild.

But we must also expect the visitor to be reasonable and fond of animals enough to refrain from anything that might not be good for the animals, cause harm to them or even compromise their health and habits. (…) In the meantime, I again received reports saying that SS men have tied the deer’s horns to the fence and cut them loose only after a long while. Furthermore, it has been found that deer have been lured to the fence and tinfoil put in the mouth. In the future, I will find out the perpetrators of such loutish acts and have them reported to the SS Commander in Chief in order to have them punished for cruelty to animals.

The Camp Commandant of Buchenwald Concentration Camp

signed by Koch


Note that “loutish” behavior by the SS guards was not tolerated. The German army was the best disciplined of all the armed forces fighting in World War II, and the elite SS troops were held to an even higher standard. Note that the Commandant is threatening to report them. He did not have the power to punish the guards nor the prisoners without approval from headquarters in Oranienburg.

Photo of Buchenwald taken after the liberation of the camp

Photo of Buchenwald taken after the liberation of the camp

The old photo above was taken shortly after the liberation of the Buchenwald camp. On the far left, you can see the Buchenwald zoo, which was just outside the camp. On the far right is the Buchenwald gatehouse, which is the entrance to the prison enclosure.

The camp inmates were not allowed to visit the zoo, but they could see the bears and monkeys through the fence, which is shown in the photo above.

As for Treblinka, a book by Jean Francois Steiner, entitled Treblinka, mentions that there was a zoo, which had been built at Treblinka by Commandant Franz Stangl for the amusement of the SS staff and some of the privileged prisoners, called Kapos, who assisted the Germans in the camp. Treblinka also had a camp orchestra and a brothel for the SS staff, just like the concentration camps.

Aerial photos taken by the Soviet Union while the Treblinka “death camp” was in operation show that there were Polish farms adjacent to the camp and that the whole area of the camp was devoid of trees. Today, the area of the Treblinka Memorial site is completely surrounded by a forest and the section of the camp where the guards once lived is now covered by trees.

Jean Francois Steiner wrote in his book Treblinka that the privileged prisoners in the camp had “a great life.” They were allowed to marry in the camp, and Kurt Franz conducted the wedding ceremonies. After one of the wedding celebrations, the prisoners got the idea of “a kind of cabaret,” where there was music, dancing and drinking on the Summer nights.

The book Treblinka reads like a novel and I am not sure if it is truth or fiction. The Treblinka II camp, where the zoo was located, was supposed to be an “extermination camp” where Jews were brought for the sole purpose of gassing them immediately upon arrival.

The following quote is from Steiner’s book.  It describes how the privileged prisoners (Kapos) and the SS men were having parties at the “death camp.”  The Commandant, Kurt Franz, was nicknamed “Lalka,” which means doll.  He was given this nick name by the prisoners because he was a very handsome man.

When Lalka heard about what was going on, far from forbidding it, he provided the drinks himself and encouraged the SS men to go there. The first contact lacked warmth, but the S.S. men knew how to make people forget who they were, and soon their presence was ignored. In addition to the dancing, there were night-club acts. The ice was broken between the Jews and the S.S. This did not prevent the S.S. from killing the Jews during the day, but the prospect of having to part company soon mellowed them a little.


The high point of these festivities was unquestionably Arthur Gold’s birthday. An immense buffet was laid out in the tailor shop, which the S.S. officers decorated themselves. Hand written invitations were sent to every member of the camp aristocracy. It was to be the great social event of the season and everyone was eager to wear his finest clothes. […] The women had done each other’s hair and had put on the finest dresses in the store, simple for the girls and decollete for the women. […] Arthur Gold outdid himself in the toasts that preceded the festivities. He insisted on thanking the Germans for the way they treated the Jews.


One evening a Ukrainian brought an accordion and the others began to dance. The scene attracted some Jews, who with the onset of Summer, were more and more uncomfortable in their “cabaret.” The nights were soft and starry, and if it were not for the perpetual fire which suffused the sky with its long flames, you would have thought that you were on the square of some Ukrainian village on Midsummer Eve. Everything was there: the campfire, the dancing, the multicolored skirts and the freshness of the night. Friendships sprang up. Just because men were going to kill each tomorrow was no reason to sulk.

Does the photo in the Yad Vashem museum show the Treblinka zoo or the Buchenwald zoo?  I will leave it up to the readers of my blog to decide.


  1. It is absolutely certain there were no bears or zoo at Treblinka. The model of the “camp” at the memorial site is just phony. Why waste time discussing Jewish diversionary propaganda when real work could be done? It’s good you are exposing this, FG, since it’s claimed now there was a bear zoo at Treblinka, but it shouldn’t even be considered as factual.

    Comment by Carolyn Yeager — December 30, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    • There was a building with a collection of animals at Treblinka ; whether it could be described as a “zoo” is debatable ,certainly there were no elephants or rhinos.

      Comment by Pete — December 30, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    • Jewish diversionary propangada?? I can’t wait to hear where you stand on the holocaust. Should be good entertainment.

      Comment by Rick Stanley — December 30, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    • So Carolyn, tell me are you a Neo-Nazi, a Muslim or do you just hate Jews?

      Comment by Rick Stanley — December 30, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

    • I wrote to Juergen Graf, who wrote the book Treblinka: Extermination Camp or Transit Camp, to ask him about the zoo. His reply:

      “I cannot remember any Treblinka witness speaking of a zoo, but of course my memory is not perfect. Barry is of course the grim dog who used to bite the Jews in the testicles and the buttocks. He had the rare talent of being simultaneously in two places, as his presence was attested for both Sobibor and Treblinka in the same period.”

      The page from given by Pete is not to be believed.

      Comment by Carolyn Yeager — December 31, 2012 @ 6:52 am

  2. FG, if you do your Photoshop jiggery-pokery on the “Treblinka bears” photo, like you did on Carolyn’s “four Germans” photo, I bet you could get the stone structure behind the bears to stand out more (I don’t have Photoshop myself).

    Then you could tell precisely where at Buchenwald that photographer must have stood when he took that photo.

    I’ve a fair idea even with the original photo:

    I’ve uploaded some photos of the model in the Treblinka museum. It has the Treblinka II zoo on it.

    It looks exactly the same as it does in the photos:

    The Treblinka zoo didn’t have bears.

    Thanks for sharing the Jean Francois Steiner quotes. Very interesting.

    Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — December 30, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    • The Treblinka zoo looks rather charming and well designed as well……still no pictures of the Treblinka gas chamber though ; even though there would have been hundreds passing by with access to a camera.

      Comment by Pete — December 30, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    • I highly recommend that you get PhotoShop. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements which includes Bridge, an easy way to use PhotoShop. Most photos can be improved, as most photos are not perfect as they come out of the camera. If you shoot Raw, when you take the photos, you will have more room to improve the photos. Photoshop Elements is easy to learn; it is for amateurs who don’t need the professional version of PhotoShop.

      It will take me some time to study your photos of Treblinka. The photo of the “gas chamber” with a star of David on the front of it is very interesting. There was a similar building at Buchenwald that was a barracks building. It is shown in the fourth photo on this page of my website:

      Comment by furtherglory — December 30, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    • I have enhanced the photo and added it to my blog post in full size. It could be a photo taken at Buchenwald, but in my opinion, it was not taken at Buchenwald.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 30, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

      • Thanks FG.

        You don’t really think it was taken at Treblinka though do you?

        Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — December 31, 2012 @ 8:38 am

        • I don’t think the photo was taken at Buchenwald. The only other camp, that I know of, which had a zoo, is Treblinka.

          Comment by furtherglory — December 31, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    • I’ve uploaded some photos of the model in the Treblinka museum. It has the Treblinka II zoo on it.

      It looks exactly the same as it does in the photos:

      The Treblinka Museum model was built after the existence of the photos shown on, was it not? BTW, the “zoo” (actually a fox enclosure) is seen in the last of your Model photos. Let’s remember this is a model built by Holohoaxers, not reality. And the photos with the ARC copyright on them don’t show any SS personnel or similar signs identifying where they were taken. Only a dog. If I have to spell it out: The Model Builders copied what was shown in those unspecified photographs, and that is good enough for some people to think they corroborate each other.

      Comment by Carolyn Yeager — December 31, 2012 @ 7:45 am

      • I think you need to spell it out. As I’ve not a clue what you’re bugbear is now,

        My stance on this thread has always been, that photo of the bears was taken at Buchenwald, and not Treblinka.

        Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — December 31, 2012 @ 8:22 am

        • I did spell it out.
          “If I have to spell it out: The Model Builders copied what was shown in those unspecified photographs, and that is good enough for some people to think they corroborate each other.”

          I know you said the bears are from Buchenwald. I agree with you! But I’m questioning whether the structure in those photos at are taken at Treblinka, and whether the model-makers at the Treblinka Museum just copied what’s in those photos. Juergen said the dog is claimed to be at both Sobibor and Treblinka. Which?

          Comment by Carolyn Yeager — December 31, 2012 @ 10:51 am

          • Yes, they are undoubtedly genuine Treblinka photos. Why would they fake pictures of a zoo at a death camp?

            >>>> “Jergen said the dog is claimed to be at both Sobibor and Treblinka. Which?”

            Which what?

            Escapees from Treblinka and Sobibor both report seeing Barry at each of the camps. “Anti-Deniers” Holocaust Controversies write about it here, claiming he was at Sobibor first, but was then taken to Treblinka.

            It’s not something HC put in their book on Mattogno/Graf/ Kues (have you even read it?), but MGK response will be published in January, so perhaps MGK have a segment in the book rubbishing HC claims about Barry (who is that dog in those photos of the Treblinka zoo).

            Personally I don’t know much about it, so why you’re even asking me is baffling.

            Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — December 31, 2012 @ 11:55 am

            • This is really absurd. You are not a serious person.

              “Why would they fake pictures of a zoo at a death camp?”
              Gee, I don’t know, maybe to make it seem like more than it really was? And do you consider Treblinka a death camp?
              Do you follow “Anti-Deniers Holocaust Controversies” guys and put a lot of stock in what they say?

              Do you ever think that there might not be any such entity as Barry the dog? Juergen (not Jergen) Graf didn’t corroborate the dog, he was just passing on the stories told about it.

              All I’m asking of you is to comment on my statement that just because there are pictures of a structure (and a dog) at and also there is a copy of that structure in the Treblinka Memorial Museum model of the camp, doesn’t mean that either one represent the real Treblinka. I know that’s a lot for you to follow, but try.

              Comment by Carolyn Yeager — December 31, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

  3. The Black rabbit of Inle has already reported these zoos on his blog.

    Some jewish storytellers (usually called “Holocaust survivors”) reported that a bear and an eagle were fed with jewish inmates at Buchenwald. The bear allegely killed the poor jewish victims and ate their flesh. And the eagle then ate their bones. 😉

    Comment by hermie — December 30, 2012 @ 8:58 am

  4. I have no issue whether the zoo in question is in Buchenwald or Treblinka. I do have an issue with your statement of the Germany Army being the most well disciplined. There were too many rapes and too many murders for sport and amusement for me to agree they were well disciplined. The everyday soldier maybe but not the SS. The SS in the camps both male and female were brutal to the point of being everyday thugs.

    Comment by Rick Stanley — December 30, 2012 @ 8:07 am

    • You been watching too many Spielberg movies Rick over the ” Holidays” ? The SS were the elite akin to the SAS of the British army. They did not indulge in rapes and were severley punished if they did. The mass rapes occurred with the advance of the Red army into Germany in 1945 and over 60,000 Berlin women were raped aged 12 to 90.

      Comment by Pete — December 30, 2012 @ 8:23 am

      • I agree with you that the SS men did not rape during World War II. The punishment for rape was death, so I don’t think that many of them risked it. There were so many rapes by the Allied troops that it is logical to assume that the SS men were rapists, but I don’t think so. On the other hand, there was a lot of sex going on in the German occupied countries, as evidenced by the large number of babies, born to women in Norway, who had German fathers. Have you seen photos of the German SS men? They were very good-looking guys, who did not need to rape women. The women were throwing themselves at the German men.

        Comment by furtherglory — December 30, 2012 @ 11:05 am

        • The offspring of these relationships suffered post 1945 with the victory of the ” democratic” forces. One of course was the ABBA singer Frida Lyngstrad whose mother took her to Sweden to escape the vengeance of the ” democratic” forces.

          Comment by Pete — December 30, 2012 @ 11:13 am

      • Pete, I don’t know where to start in telling you how wrong you are. You are so off base. I am a Historian. My primary focus is Europe, WWII, and the Nazi’s. The SS were among the most ruthless of killers. The raped, tortured and murdered millions. I am not speaking of just Jews. I lived in Germany for 13 very wonderful years while I researched. I dearly love the German people and the German way of life and if I could I would go back and live there the rest of my life. However, the SS and the Gestapo were among the most horrible of all units. I was in Koln when the basement full of Gestapo files was discovered. I was actually privy to viewing some of it first hand. Before you make statements defending an organization known and proven to be virtual monsters you should really research the subject matter first. As far as the Germans and the German women suffering at the hands of the Soviets….they did and horribly so and it continued until the day the wall came down. I have letters Pete from SS Soldiers to their wives and mothers telling them what they had done. Some were proud of it, others were very ashamed and rightfully so. This was not just Jews and did not just occur in the camps but also on the battlefield, in the towns. Russian civilians were butchered in the streets. I assume you’ve heard of Klaus Barbie? The Butcher of Lyon, France. He didn’t just kill Jews or send Jews to the camps. He tortured and murdered French civilians. The list is endless.

        Comment by Rick Stanley — December 30, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

        • Barbie trained a pooch to rape Jewesses. According to Jewess Erna Paris.
          (E. Paris, Unhealed Wounds:France and the Klaus Barbie Affair, Methuen, Toronto, 1985, p. 94).

          “Lies and slander of positively hair-raising perversity are being launched about Germany.”
          – Adolf Hitler, March 28, 1933

          Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — December 30, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

          • “Lies and slander of positively hair-raising perversity are being launched about Germany.”
            – Adolf Hitler, March 28, 1933


            This statement is interesting because it informs today’s reader about the fact that atrocity stories were already spread about Nazi Germany in 1933. At that time it was said that the ‘Evil Nazis’ had dismembered and mutilated jewish bodies, raped jewish girls in front of their parents, killed jewish women, ravaged jewish cemetries and probably many other horror stories. No academic historian would still dare to claim the Nazis did such things to jews in 1933. So these stories (reported in the western newspapers) were all lies. But it’s today forbidden to say the atrocitiy stories that were ‘reported’ later (the alleged Holocaust horrors) were maybe lies too and should be investigated with a critical mind and proved with material evidence and not only with ‘testimonies’ and extracted ‘confessions’.

            Comment by hermie — January 1, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

        • Rick maybe you could post some of these letters ; I do hope they are original. I am fluent in German so I will have no difficulty reading them. Able to post them on here??
          As for your claim of being a “historian” ; that really made me laugh.

          Comment by Pete — December 31, 2012 @ 12:10 am

          • You can laugh all you want stupid. I was attending the University of Berlin for the sole purpose of researching Nazi documents for my Doctorate. I also can read German. I didn’t need to read it tho as I had a German counterpart assisting in the research. You are merely showing your ignorance and your ass on here. You have nothing with which to support your remarks. You’re just another loud mouth with little or no education in this particular area. I’m not bad mouthing the German people, I think they were suckered into this thing by what I consider one of the best speakers in the world..Adolph Hitler. I’m just saying you know nothing of which you speak when it comes to the Nazi’s, the camps, and WWII on the whole and you only run that sewer under your nose to try and stir the pot.

            Comment by Rick Stanley — December 31, 2012 @ 1:29 am

        • Rick, you’re not an American, are you? I know a lot of people from the US who have spent time in Europe, and unfortunately they go home no wiser than when they arrived. But, don’t they just love telling everybody about what they saw etc, ‘oh oh I’m so intelligent, I’ve been to Europe, you know’, – oh really, how exciting. 13 yrs seems a lot but it isn’t enough to know about Germany I’m afraid

          Comment by DB — December 31, 2012 @ 12:54 am

          • Yes I’m an American and no I don’t consider myself anymore intelligent than the next person. I was living in Europe to work on my History Thesis for my Doctorate in History. I was studying at the University in Berlin. Please don’t misunderstand me. I take nothing at face value. If it can’t be shown to me in black and white then it didn’t happen as far as I am concerned. I do know a great deal about the Nazi Military Machine. I will be the first to admit Hitler had some of the best Generals ever assembled in one place. I also consider Hitler to be an absolute spell binding speaker. However, I’ve seen the documents from Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Ravensbrook and many more. This did happen and the SS and Gestapo were the animals carrying out what Hitler, Himmler and Heydrich wanted done. As with people everywhere there were those that relished the work and there were those that were haunted by it til the day they died. I would like to emphasize something. I am not blaming the German people for anything. I feel as tho any debt they may have owed has been long paid. This line of thinking on my part puts me at odds with my peers. Let me also say (and I can’t say this strongly enough) I dearly love the German People, the country, the food and the way of life. My being a historian and my focus being on the Nazi’s does not define me. I did my best to learn as much as possible about everything German while I was there. This may sound stupid to you but my feeling about the entire time period say 1936 to 1950 was a brutal time but it was also one of the most romantic times in history. One of my military idols was Erwin Rommel. A master at his trade. A true military officer and a true gentleman. I wish I could have met his son. I was very fortunate in that I took the old saying “when in another country show respect, learn and experience as much as possible because you are an ambassador and representative of America” to heart. I made a lot of friends. Here is a little more insight to my personal feelings on this subject. I am much more likely to support the Germans on political issues than I am the Americans. You see I spent two years in Vietnam and because of very bad treatment by my people toward me I have a very bad taste in my mouth. I have said many times, if I could have found a way to stay in Germany I would have never left. I would move back tomorrow if there was a way. On a lighter note I one day while I was there winter was approaching and I needed snow tires. A Canadian I knew (he had a dual citizenship, German and Canadian) was service 4 years in the German Air Force and he took me to a place where they sold re-tread snow tires. While they were being put on my car the woman of the house invited me in and brought me coffee and cookies. Her father was sitting with me and he spoke to English. He was probably 70 years old at the time, no teeth but you could tell he had worked hard all his life. Anyway, after his daughter left the room (keep in mind anything with a swastika on it was forbidden and illegal) he pulls this beautiful officers dagger from the drawer of an end-table. I mean it was beautiful. It was engraved. He looked at me like he expected the police to come in at any minute and all he could say was Nazi and then he would laugh as tho he had really just gotten away with something. Then he took me into another room, closed the door and when I looked around he had the most impressive collection of Nazi military items I have ever seen. He had a black SS uniform, a green leather army tunic, several lugers, a mauser rifle. It was a great afternoon and neither of us at the time could understand the other but it didn’t matter. Back to the original subject, I said a disagreed the SS was well disciplined. I was not talking about there combat abilities. As for combat I think that the German military was the most well disciplined war machine ever put together and the executed their attacks with razor sharp skill. I will go on to say this, the only reason the world isn’t speaking German today is Hitler’s fault not the soldiers and generals. His big mistake was taking on England and Russia at the same time. He got too cocky and he was very impatient.

            One other thing so you don’t think I was in your country thinking I was someone important or better than others because I’m not that kind of person. I was invited by a german family that lived on the Mosel River in a little town called Bernkastle-Kues, to come live with them on summer break and learn about the wine business. I was never in my life treated so well. I learned how to pick the grapes, I helped (if you want to call what I did helping) with pressing the grapes. I went back to school and during Christmas break they came to Berlin, picked me up took me back to their home and I spent Christmas with them. I still write to their daughter today.

            I miss the wine, bread….oh hell, I miss it all. Sorry to ramble but I wanted you to know I am not another ugly American and I researched the material because I was and still am in love with that era.


            Comment by Rick Stanley — December 31, 2012 @ 2:18 am

            • Firstly for someone who claims to have a doctorate you seem to lack a basic knowledge of English syntax and paragraph structure. If you attended “Berlin University” perhaps you could tell us which one because there are several but none of them are called ” Berlin University”. To attend any university in Germany you need to be at least C1 standard in German so could you write a post in German ? ( Google translations are easy to spot.).
              I think you are a fraud.

              Comment by Pete — December 31, 2012 @ 5:05 am

            • Herr Doktor, that’s Ravensbrück, not Ravensbrook.

              Comment by Eager For Answers — December 31, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

    • It’s a well-known fact that those kraut monsters viciously revelled in the senseless killing of innocent people.

      They should have taken example on the most moral people in the world instead.

      Comment by Eager For Answers — December 31, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  5. Quite honestly it could be a bear garden or zoo anywhere; they seem to be popular in central Europe and bear gardens are even in 2012 found attached to tourist attractions. Check out the Torgau bears when your next over.

    Comment by Pete — December 30, 2012 @ 7:47 am

  6. Thank you furtherglory for bringing these facts to the masses and have a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May 2013 bring some good cheer to all of the people seeking some truth about the past.

    All the best


    Comment by Alan — December 30, 2012 @ 6:36 am

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