Scrapbookpages Blog

December 9, 2012

Otto Schimmel, an Auschwitz survivor who has no tattoo

Filed under: Dachau, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:17 am

This quote is from a news article, which you can read in full here:

[ Otto] Schimmel wasn’t tattooed. But for other survivors, the tattoos symbolize the moment the Nazis tried to rob them of their humanity with a number. A universal sentiment is illustrated in this summer’s documentary “Numbered.”

In an article on this website, it is mentioned that Otto Schimmel was a prisoner in Auschwitz:

There, [Betty] Schimmel met her future husband, Otto Schimmel. He had been held at the Auschwitz concentration camp and had lost his entire family in the Holocaust.

So how did Otto Schimmel get out of Auschwitz with no tattoo?  Prisoners who were selected for the gas chamber were not tattooed. What is Otto’s story of how he escaped from the gas chamber?

This quote is from the article which tells that Otto Schimmel has no tattoo:

Decades later, Schimmel recalls in vivid detail, the horror of the gas chambers. “Everything was locked and they had ventilation to pull the oxygen out and they pumped in the gas, so sometimes it took minutes. So [my] mother, my sister and my grandmother were killed within an hour.”

Otto Schimmel knew all about the gas chambers at Auschwitz, where his mother, sister and grandmother were killed within an hour of their arrival, but Otto was not selected for the gas chamber.  He wound up later at Mühldorf, a sub-camp of Dachau.

This quote is from the article about tattoos:

Schimmel will never forget those dark days when the identification marks were an attempt to degrade. He was just 17 when he was imprisoned in Muhldorf, Germany.

Prisoners at Dachau and it’s sub-camps were not tattooed.

It appears that Otto Schimmel was selected for labor when he was sent to Auschwitz, and because of this, he was not tattooed.  Prisoners who were brought to Auschwitz and then transferred out of the camp were not tattooed.  Auschwitz was the only place where Jews were tattooed, and then only if they were imprisoned in the Auschwitz camp.  Auschwitz was also a transit camp and those who were transferred out of the camp, after a period of quarantine, were not tattooed.

American Atrocities in Germany — the torture of accused “war criminals” in the Dachau trials

A reader of my blog made a comment in which he wrote that 137 of 139 German “war criminals,” who were put on trial by the American Military Tribunal in Dachau after World War II, were tortured by having their testicles crushed.  That didn’t sound right to me, so I asked for a source.  The source for this statement was the book entitled American Atrocities in Germany by Judge Edward L. Van Roden.

I looked up the author of the book American Atrocities in Germany and found the following quote on the website of David Irving:

American Atrocities in Germany

By JUDGE EDWARD L VAN RODEN

AMERICAN investigators at the U. S. Court in Dachau, Germany, used the following methods to obtain confessions: Beatings and brutal kickings. Knocking out teeth and breaking jaws. Mock trials. Solitary confinement. Posturing as priests. Very limited rations. Spiritual deprivation. Promises of acquittal. Complaints concerning these third degree methods were received by Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall last Spring [1948]. Royall appointed Justice Gordon Simpson of the Texas Supreme Court and me to go to Germany and check up on the reports. Accompanied by Lt. Col. Charles Lawrence, Jr., we went to Munich, Germany, set up offices there, and heard a stream of testimony about the way in which American atrocities were committed.

[…]

The statements which were admitted as evidence [in the Malmedy Massacre case] were obtained from men who had first been kept in solitary confinement for three, four, and, five months. They were confined between four walls, with no windows, and no opportunity of exercise. Two meals a day were shoved in to them through a slot in the door. They were not allowed to talk to anyone. They had no communication with their families or any minister or priest during that time.

This solitary confinement proved sufficient in itself in some cases to persuade the Germans to sign prepared statements. These statements not only involved the signer, but often would involve other defendants.

Our investigators would put a black hood over the accused’s head and then punch him in the face with brass knuckles, kick him, and beat him with rubber hose. Many of the German defendants had teeth knocked out. Some had their jaws broken.

All but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases we investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was Standard Operating Procedure with American investigators.

The 139 cases, that were investigated by Van Roden, were only a small part of the “Dachau trials” conducted by the American Military Tribunal at the former Dachau concentration camp. I have a whole section on the Dachau trials on my website, which you can read here.  This quote is from my website:

Between November 1945 and December 31, 1947, there were 489 cases brought before the American Military Tribunal at Dachau. There was a total of 1,672 persons who were tried; 1,416 of them were convicted and then sent to War Criminals Prison #1 at Landsberg am Lech for execution or incarceration. There were 297 death sentences, and 279 sentences to life in prison. Between 1946 and 1951 there were 284 death sentences carried out at Landsberg, which included the death sentences at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.

The 1,672 accused war criminals who faced the American Military Tribunal at Dachau had been selected from a group of 3,887 people who were initially accused. The last of those who were not put on trial were finally released from their imprisonment in War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 at Dachau in August 1948. By 1958, the last of the German war criminals, convicted at Dachau, had been released from the War Criminals Prison #1 in Landsberg.

The 139 cases, in which extreme torture was used, were the men in the Malmedy Massacre trial. This is not to say that the only “war criminals” who were tortured were the men accused in the Malmedy Massacre case.  Other defendants in the other cases also claimed that they were tortured in order to force confessions out of them.

This quote is a continuation of the quote from David Irving’s website:

[Lt. William] Perl admitted use of mock trials and persuasive methods including violence and said the court was free to decide the weight to be attached to evidence thus received. But it all went in.

One 18 year old defendant, after a series of beatings, was writing a statement being dictated to him. When they reached the 16th page, the boy was locked up for the night. In the early morning, Germans in nearby cells heard him muttering. “I will not utter another lie.” When the jailer came in later to get him to finish his false statement, he found the German hanging from a cell bar, dead. However the statement that the German had hanged himself to escape signing was offered and received in evidence in the trial of the others.

This quote is from my own website, Scrapbookpages.com:

Lt. William Perl was an Austrian Jew who had emigrated to America in 1940.  He was the chief interrogator of the Malmedy Massacre accused. Perl was an active Zionist who had worked to get European Jews into Palestine illegally before he came to America. His wife was a survivor of Ravensbrück, the Nazi concentration camp for women, where she was sent in 1943. Perl was assisted by other Jews on the interrogation staff, including Josef Kirschbaum, Harry Thon and Morris Ellowitz. […]

In the Malmedy Massacre case, Lt. Col. Peiper presented a summary of allegations of abuse made to him by his soldiers. The German soldiers claimed that they were beaten by the interrogators and that one of the original 75 accused men, 18-year-old Arvid Freimuth, had hanged himself in his cell after being repeatedly beaten. A statement, supposedly written by Freimuth, although portions of it were not signed by him, was introduced during the proceedings as evidence against the other accused. As in the Nuremberg IMT and the other Dachau proceedings, the accused were charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes, as well as with specific incidents of murder, so Freimuth’s statement was relevant to the case, even after he was no longer among the accused himself.  […]

None of the convicted SS soldiers [in the Malmedy Massacre case] were ever executed and by 1956, all of them had been released from prison. All of the death sentences had been commuted to life in prison. As it turned out, the Malmedy Massacre proceedings at Dachau, which were intended to show the world that the Waffen-SS soldiers were a bunch of heartless killers, became instead a controversial case which dragged on for over ten years and resulted in criticism of the American Occupation, the war crimes military tribunals, the Jewish prosecutors at Dachau and the whole American system of justice.

Before the last man convicted in the Dachau proceedings walked out of Landsberg prison as a free man, the aftermath of the case had involved the US Supreme Court, the International Court at the Hague, the US Congress, Dr. Johann Neuhäusler, a Bishop from Munich, who was a survivor of the Dachau concentration camp, and the government of the new Federal Republic of Germany. All of this was due to the efforts of the defense attorney, Lt. Col. Willis M. Everett.

James J. Weingartner, the author of A Peculiar Crusade: Willis M. Everett and the Malmedy Massacre, wrote the story of the Dachau proceedings from information provided by Everett’s family and gleaned from his letters and diary. According to Weingartner, shortly before the proceedings were to begin, defense attorney Lt. Col. Everett interviewed a few of the 73 accused with the help of an interpreter. Although the accused were being held in solitary confinement and had not had the opportunity to consult with each other, most of them told identical stories of misconduct by their Jewish interrogators.

 

December 6, 2012

The UN vote on Palestine

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 6:43 am

This quote is from an article by Gordon Duff about the UN vote on Palestine:

Today’s vote [Nov. 30, 2012] at the United Nations can be seen as a humiliating defeat for Israel. It could also be seen as a humiliating defeat for the United States though the current regime in Tel Aviv is quite violently anti-American and an outspoken enemy of President Obama.

You can read Gordon Duff’s article in full here.

srael’s West Bank separation barrier is often referred to as the “apartheid wall.” (Photo: Marc Venezia)

Israel’s West Bank separation barrier is often referred to as the “apartheid wall.” (Photo: Marc Venezia)

Mr. Netanyahu, tear down this wall.

December 5, 2012

Yanina Cywinska gets a standing ovation after she tells how she survived the gas chamber at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:18 am

As everyone knows, the lethal gas that was used in the gas chambers of Auschwitz was Zyklon-B, the same gas that was used to disinfect the clothing of the prisoners. But according to Holocaust survivor, Yanina Cywinski, carbon monoxide was originally used at Auschwitz.  Yanina Cywinska was inside the Auschwitz gas chamber, where she watched her father die, before she passed out, but was secretly resuscitated by another prisoner.

If someone survived the gas chamber, it was the policy of the Nazis to allow them to live, never sending them to the gas chamber again.  Thanks to this policy, Yanina is still alive today; she recently gave a talk to students on the Pleasant Valley High School campus in Chico, CA.

Yanina Cywinska, a non-Jew, was sent to Auschwitz, after her family was arrested as Polish Resistance fighters early in World War II.

According to the talk that Yanina gave to students at Pleasant Valley High in November, she was put to work, at the age of 10, dragging bodies out of the gas chamber at Auschwitz. One day, she realized, to her horror, that she was pulling her mother’s body out of the gas chamber.  The Sonderkommandos who dragged the bodies out of the gas chambers were all men, except for Yanina and Greta, another female Sonderkommando who yelled at Yanina to stop whining, which prompted her to continue her grim duties, after the horror of finding her mother’s dead body.

The Sonderkommandos, who worked in the gas chambers, were killed every three months, and replaced by new prisoners.  Strangely, Yanina was not killed along with the others.

This quote is from an article in the online Chico News and Review, which you can read in full here:

Cywinska’s 20-minute speech was the most powerful of the performances. She recounted two harrowing escapes from Nazi execution. Her Polish, non-Jewish family was captured by the Nazis for stockpiling weapons and literally going underground, living in sewers as part of the Polish resistance. Cywinska was separated from her family and forced with other prisoners over five days without food or water to dig an enormous ditch that was to serve as their own mass grave.

She recalled that, while lined up along the ditch, she stepped behind a mother and baby to support them as they stumbled. Her maneuver shielded her from the firing squad’s bullets, allowing her to fall unharmed into the grave. She escaped only to be recaptured and sent to Auschwitz with her family. In the gas chamber she held her father’s hand as he died with the others. She passed out but somehow survived the gas—it was carbon monoxide, not the Zyklon B ordinarily used—and was secretly resuscitated by an inmate.

Her spirit, she said, triumphed after the war, when she went on to fulfill her dreams of becoming an actress and ballerina.

Cywinska’s talk elicited several standing ovations. “I’ve been crying for about an hour now,” exclaimed one woman.

I previously blogged about Yanina Cywinska here.

December 4, 2012

8th grade student and 82-year-old Holocaust survivor share stories in Toronto

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:40 am
Mother and bay were directed to Krema II on the left side of the train

Mother and baby are directed to Krema II gas chamber on the other side of an incoming train at Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

Sally Rosen is an 82-year-old survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Joshua is a student in a middle school in Toronto. They shared Holocaust survival stories when Ms. Rosen recently gave a talk at Joshua’s school.

According to her story, Ms. Rosen was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on a train in 1944. It is well known that everyone under the age of 15 was destined for the gas chamber, but Ms. Rosen was saved when Dr. Josef Mengele looked away for a moment, and she was able to join the saved line and also shove her mother into the saved line.

How did Ms. Rosen know about the two lines at Birkenau?  Note the prisoner, wearing striped “pajamas,” on the left side of the photo above.  The Nazis had the courtesy to post prisoners, who were Kapos, at the selections; the Kapos informed the incoming prisoners on methods of survival.

In the photo below, new arrivals at Auschwitz-Birkenau are shown in two lines, one line for men and another line for women and children.  Dr. Mengele is shown at the head of the line of men, holding a cigarette at chest height, totally unconcerned that some of the Jews might try to sneak into a different line.

Dr. Mengele turns his back on two columns at Birkenau

Dr. Mengele turns his back on two columns of prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau

This quote is from an article, about the talk that Ms. Rosen gave to middle school students in Toronto, which you can read in full in the Canadian National Post here:

New arrivals were broken into four lines and inspected by Josef Mengele, the notorious Nazi doctor. They were divided into two groups. One lived. One died.

“Mengele looked at me and I looked down,” Ms. Rosen says. “You couldn’t look him in the eye. And then God said — ‘I shall make you a miracle’ — and Mengele, in that moment, he looked away, and so I pushed my mother into the [group that lived].”

Note that Ms. Rosen did not refer to Dr. Mengele as Doctor, although he had two degrees:  A Doctor of Medicine and a PhD in Anthropology.  Most Holocaust survivors are alive today because Dr. Mengele made some kind of mistake. Yet, he gets no respect.

Where are the photos of the alleged four lines and two groups, one group that was intended to live and one group was intended to die?  Of course, the Nazis didn’t photograph that.  The photo below shows a line of men and a line of women; two women have just been sent to the left of the incoming train.  This road led to Krema III, Krema IV and Krema V, but it also led to the Sauna where incoming prisoners took a shower.  (Part of this road is now covered by the International Monument.)

Two women are sent to the left at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Two women at Auschwitz-Birkenau are sent to the SS man’s left

As you are facing the end of the tracks into the Birkenau camp, with your back to the “Gate of Death,” Krema II is on the left, as shown in the photo below.  Krema III, Krema IV, Krema V and the Sauna are on the other side of the tracks.

Krema II is on the left side of an incoming train at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Krema II is on the left side of an incoming train at Birkenau

This quote is from the article about Ms. Rosen’s talk to the students:

She [Rosen] remembers the sign on the camp gates: “Work will set you free.” She remembers a terrible stench. Death. It is a smell that has followed her through the years, a sensory memory she can’t shake.

The photo below accompanies the article about Ms. Rosen’s talk to the students.

Gate into the Auschwitz main camp.

Gate into the Auschwitz main camp; Sally Rosen was sent to the Auschwitz II camp, aka Birkenau

Photo Credit:  REUTERS /Kacper Pempel

How could Sally Rosen have seen the Arbeit Macht Frei gate at the Auschwitz I camp, as she told the students?  Did the train from the Lodz ghetto arrive first at the main camp, where she was marched though the gate under the iconic sign? No, the train tracks didn’t go to the main camp.

I previously blogged about the meaning of the Arbeit Macht Frei sign here.

In her talk, Ms. Rosen made a big fuss about Holocaust deniers telling lies.  The quote below is from the article:

Ms. Rosen grew tired of people forgetting about a decade ago, tired of people telling lies. She couldn’t stand the stories she would see bubble up in the media about an Ernst Zundel, the German-Canadian hate-monger, or a David Irving, the so-called British historian, or a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the erratic Iranian president, spouting off about the Holocaust.

So Ms. Rosen decided to tell a few lies herself?

What about Joshua, the 8th grade student, who wanted to tell his story to her?  This quote is from the article:

Joshua’s Zadie, or was it his Bubby, [grandfather or grandmother] survived the Holocaust, just like Ms. Rosen did. On the way to Auschwitz they fell deathly ill and were thrown off the train so that the other unwitting concentration-camp-bound passengers wouldn’t contract whatever it was they had. They were left for dead. And yet, somehow, they lived.

Who threw grandpa (or was it grandma) off the train?  The Nazis or the other passengers?  The Nazis would not have cared if all the passengers on a train to a death camp contracted a disease and died.  This would have saved them the cost of the Zyklon-B gas pellets needed to gas the sick prisoners when the train arrived.  The passengers could not have unlocked the doors on the train, because if this had been possible, they would all have jumped off the train.

Prisoners in the Lodz ghetto were among the last of the Jews to be sent to Auschwitz.  This quote is from this website:

On June 10, 1944, Heinrich Himmler ordered the liquidation of the Lodz ghetto. The Nazis told Rumkowski who then told the residents that workers were needed in Germany to repair damage caused by Allied air raids. The first transport left on June 23, with many others following until July 15. On July 15, 1944 the transports halted. The decision had been made to liquidate Chelmno because Soviet troops were getting close. Unfortunately, this only created a two week hiatus, for the remaining transports would be sent to Auschwitz.

On August 4, 1944, a final liquidation transport of 74,000 Jews from Lodz was sent out from the ghetto on its way to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Though a few remaining workers were retained by the Nazis to finish confiscating materials and valuables out of the ghetto, everyone else living in the ghetto had been deported. Even Rumkowski and his family were included in these last transports to Auschwitz.

Five months later, on January 19, 1945, the Soviets liberated the Lodz ghetto.

December 1, 2012

Claude Lanzmann to receive a lifetime achievement award at Berlin International Film Festival in February 2013

I learned about the latest honor which will be given to Claude Lanzmann, the maker of the documentary film, Shoah, from this news article in The Hollywood Reporter.  The following quote is from the article:

Shoah, a nine-and-a-half hour documentary, was groundbreaking in that it used no archival footage, being composed  primarily of interviews with Holocaust survivors and visits to concentration camp sites. The film screened in the Forum section of the Berlin Film Festival in 1986, where it won the Caligari film prize and the FIPRESCI film critics honor. Shoah went on to win numerous other accolades, including the Flaherty Documentary Award at the BAFTAs and best documentary honors from the National Film Critics Association.

During the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (aka the Berlinale), which runs Feb. 7 to Feb. 17, 2013, Lanzmann will be honored with a lifetime achievement honor, the Berlinale Golden Bear.

Golden Bear award given at Berlin Film Festival

Golden Bear award given at Berlin Film Festival

Bears are a symbol of Berlin because the Coat of Arms for the city state of Berlin has a Bear on it.  When I visited Berlin in October 2002, painted bears could be seen all over the city; the painted bear in the front of the Hotel Adlon is shown in my photo below.

Painted bear in front of Hotel Adlon, 2002

Painted bear in front of Hotel Adlon, October 2002

The CODOH website currently has an article about Claude Lanzmann, written by Bradley R. Smith, which you can read in full here.  The article includes a quote from Lanzmann which mentions the stones at Treblinka.  My photo below shows the stones at Treblinka, which are in a symbolic cemetery.

Stones at Treblinka represent a symbolic cemetery

Stones at Treblinka represent a symbolic cemetery

This quote is from the article written by Bradley R. Smith, which is on the CODOH website:

Claude Lanzmann’s Shoa (sic) may be seen as the masterpiece of Holocaust documentaries. But if that is so, then it is also the clearest declaration of bankruptcy ever delivered. After all, in his entire 91/2 hours of documentation, Lanzmann doesn’t show us any documentary or physical proof for the claims he and his witnesses make. Most of these 91/2 hours are actually silent sequences of railway tracks, stones, buildings, and countrysides, whose relation to the ‘Holocaust’ claims exists only through suggestion and imagination. He himself made his brainwashing technique pretty clear when he stated:[13]

“As a result of our filming the stones at Treblinka from all angles, they have finally spoken.”

With the stones of Treblinka, Lanzmann meant the field of stones erected after the war on the area that once was the Treblinka camp. Of course, those stones cannot speak about anything that happened before they were placed there. The stones in the soil underneath this memorial, however, could speak, if only one would ask them to: A thorough geo-physical examination of this entire area could confirm still today, if the Polish forensic investigations of 1946 were correct, that is, whether or not the soil in and around Treblinka was ever disturbed by massive mass graves and huge scale open-air incinerations.

But those stones Claude Lanzmann would never want to speak out, and probably for good reasons, since it would destroy his life’s work and shatter his firm beliefs. It was in 1994 that Claude Lanzmann explained why he did not include any documentary or forensic evidence in his movie, but restricted himself to psychologically impressive, but scientifically untenable witness statements:[14]

“There is not one second of archival material in Shoah because it is not the way I work or think, and besides it does not exist. […] If I had found an existing film-a secret film because that was forbidden-shot by an SS and showing how 3,000 Jews, men, women and children, were dying together, asphyxiated in the gas chamber of Krema 2 in Auschwitz, not only would I have not shown it, but I would have destroyed it. I cannot say why. It goes by itself.”

If it sounds like the statement of an imbecile, as Serge Thion has put it,[15] then read what Lanzmann had to say about his own movie Shoa in 1997:[16]

“Not understanding has been my iron law.”

So what is Shoa all about? It is about—NOTHING. Master Lanzmann himself explained it frankly:[17]

“It was necessary to make this film from nothing, without archival documents, to invent everything.”

“It is therefore a case of making a film with traces of traces of traces, […]. With nothing one comes back to nothing.”[18]

André Glucksmann was a bit more sophisticated when he explained that this movie is not about what happened, but about what could have happened, what would have been possible, what is imaginable:[19]

“The strength of this film is not in showing what took place—in fact it refrains from doing that—but in showing the possibility of what took place.”

I have not seen Claude Lanzmann’s documentary.  I wanted to buy it when I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, but when I found out that it sells for over $300, I changed my mind.

I don’t blame the German people, nor criticize them, for constantly bowing down to the Jews today.  Germany is still occupied and this is their way of preserving all those reconstructed buildings that had been destroyed by Allied bombs in World War II.

For example, the photo below shows the bomb damage to the city of Weimar, the home of Goethe and Schiller.  Why was the historic city of Weimar bombed?  The only reason to bomb Weimar was to destroy historic buildings and murder German civilians, the same reason that Dresden and Nuremberg were bombed.

Bomb damage in Weimar, Germany during World War II

Bomb damage in Weimar, Germany during World War II

Note the building on the left side of the photo above.  The same building is shown in the photo below, after it was reconstructed.

Reconstructed building on Market Square in Weimar

Reconstructed building on Market Square in Weimar

Reconstructed building on Market Square in Weimar

Reconstructed building on Market Square in Weimar

That’s all for today, folks.  I’ll get off my soap box now.

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