Scrapbookpages Blog

February 27, 2013

New book about Felix Sparks gives a new perspective on the liberation of Dachau and the Dachau massacre

You can read a review of Alex Kershaw’s new book entitled The Liberator here. The liberator in the title is Lt. Col. Felix Sparks, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Division of the US Seventh Army, the first unit to arrive at the Dachau complex, which consisted of an SS garrison and a concentration camp.

It was Sparks who fired a shot into the air to stop the killing of German soldiers with their hands in the air, an event known today as the Dachau massacre.  The Dachau massacre was kept secret for 40 years, and many people today still don’t believe it.

German soldiers being executed at Dachau by 45th Division soldiers

German soldiers being executed at Dachau by 45th Division soldiers

Felix Sparks fires a shot into the air to stop the massacre

Felix Sparks fires a shot into the air to stop the killing of unarmed German soldiers

In the two photos above, note the German soldiers standing against a wall with their hands up; the second photo shows Lt. Col. Felix Sparks firing a shot into the air to stop the massacre.

I received a notice from Amazon today telling me that this new book is out; in the past, I have purchased many books about Dachau and the liberation of the camp.

This quote is from the review of the book which you can read in full here:

….. Kershaw’s exploration of what relentless combat can do to the mind. By Sept. 1944, he notes, more than 100,000 men had been pulled off the line due to combat fatigue.

“According to the U.S. Army surgeon general, all men in rifle battalions became psychiatric casualties after 200 days in combat. ‘There aren’t any iron men,’ declared one army psychiatrist. ‘The strongest personality, subjected to sufficient stress over a sufficient length of time, is going to disintegrate.’ ”

This happens at Dachau. Completely unprepared for what awaits them, and having fought for far too long, some of Sparks’s men crack, and begin shooting and killing unarmed SS men. Sparks manages to stop it, but is held responsible anyway. As fortune would have it, his case winds up on the desk of four-star General George S. Patton in May, 1945.

“There is no point in an explanation,” Patton tells him. “I have already had these charges investigated, and they are a bunch of crap. I’m going to tear up these goddamn papers on you and your men.”

“You have been a damn fine soldier.”

A sentiment this deeply researched and affecting book makes abundantly clear.

I have not read the book yet, so I don’t know if the author mentions that, while the 45th Division was busy killing unarmed German soldiers in the SS garrison that was right next to the camp, the 42nd Division was accepting the surrender of the camp from a German officer.

Surrender of the Dachau camp to the 42nd Division

Surrender of the Dachau concentration camp to the 42nd Division under a white flag of truce

The 45th Division “liberated” the SS garrison, killing wounded Wehrmacht prisoners, along with SS men who had been sent to surrender the camp.  The concentration camp, which was within the walls of the SS garrison, was “surrendered,” not “liberated” in the sense that it was defended and soldiers had to be killed in order to take over the concentration camp by force.

You can read about the surrender of the Dachau concentration camp on my website here.

You can read about the role of the 45th Division in the “liberation” of Dachau on my website here.

The following quote is also from the review of the book:

In France, in the waning months of the war, this almost gets him [Felix Sparks] killed, as he leads a charge to rescue some cut-off forces. As he exits his tank to rescue some wounded, the Germans have an easy shot and Sparks is as good as dead. Astonishingly though, an SS machine gunner by the name of Johann Voss holds his fire. Given the ruthless reputation of the SS, this is a shocking revelation, but Kerhsaw explains: “There was no honor to be gained, said Voss, by drilling a brave officer with 7.2mm bullets as he tried to help his wounded men. Indeed, there was a silent understanding among the SS watching Sparks. Killing him would be wrong.”

So this new book is going to point out that at least one SS soldier fought honorably during World War II?  Was this what caused Lt. Col. Felix Sparks to stop the killing of unarmed German soldiers, about whom Col. Howard Buechner wrote: “Public outrage would certainly have opposed the prosecution of American heroes for eliminating a group of sadists who so richly deserved to die.”

Col. Buechner’s account of the Dachau massacre is quite controversial; you can read about it on my website here.

February 25, 2013

Nazis set up a Family Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau to fool the Red Cross

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:49 am

Most people know about the famous visit by the Red Cross to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in June 1944 where the Nazis fooled Red Cross representatives into thinking that the prisoners were being treated well.  You can read about it on my previous blog post here.

What I didn’t know, until just recently, is that the Czech Family Camp was set up at Auschwitz-Birkenau, in order to fool the Red Cross again, in case Red Cross representatives decided to make a visit to the famous Auschwitz II death camp to see how the Czechs were being treated. The Czech Family Camp was in existence for six months before the Nazis carried out their real plan, which was to murder all the prisoners who had been sent from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz.

One of the survivors of the Czech Family Camp was Otto Dov Kulka (born in 1933) who has written a book entitled Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death. I will get to him later.  Otto’s father was also a survivor of the Family Camp.  You can read about him here.

This quote, regarding the Family Camp, is from this website:

It is still not altogether clear why the organisers (sic) of the final solution created the family camp, with its unusual privileges, only to liquidate it several months later. All that seems clear is that this remarkable activity was connected with the Nazis’ attempts to hide the genocide of the Jews to the outside world, and with the visit of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Terezín, for which Terezín’s SS command ordered the ghetto to be specially embellished. The Terezín SS command then showed the Red Cross delegates a Potemkin village, which had very little in common with Terezín’s cruel reality. A few days before they were murdered, the prisoners of the family camp were ordered to write post-dated postcards to their Terezín relations from the labour camp at Birkenau. The Terezín prisoners were thus meant to gain the false idea, ahead of the Red Cross commissioner’s visit, that their parents, childrens and siblings in Birkenau were all right, and above all alive. Some historians also believe that the family camp was meant to be the target of a similarly-manipulated visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross, this time to Auschwitz.

Map of Auschwitz-Birkeanau

Map of Auschwitz-Birkeanau

But I am getting ahead of the story. The map of Birkenau, in the photo above, shows the Family Camp in section BIIb (B2B) on the left side. Click on the map to see it in a larger size. The main camp road is shown on the map, dividing the Family Camp from the women’s camp and the buildings where disinfection chambers and shower rooms were located. The Krema II and Krema III gas chamber buildings are shown in red on the map.

The article from the website cited above starts out with this quote:

In September 1943 five thousand prisoners were deported from the Terezín ghetto [Theresienstadt] to Auschwitz-Birkenau in two transports.Unlike previous transports, they received unusual privileges: on arriving at the camp they did not undergo the usual selections, and families were also not divided up into various sections in the camp – hence the family camp. The privileges also included the fact that the Terezín prisoners were not subjected to the humiliating ritual of having their heads shaved on arrival, and that children were allowed to spend daytimes in a children’s block. In December 1943 and May 1944, further large transports from Terezín brought a further 12,500 prisoners, who were placed in the family camp. While the first transports consisted exclusively of prisoners who had come to Terezín from the Czech lands, almost half the prisoners on later transports were Jews who had initially been deported from Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

In the family camp, labelled section BIIb in Birkenau, the prisoners had to live in a narrow, muddy strip surrounded by an electric fence. They suffered from hunger, cold, exhaustion, illnesses and poor sanitation. The mortality rate was no lower here than in the rest of Auschwitz. The children were allowed to spend the day in the children’s block, where teachers led by the charismatic Fredy Hirsch engaged them in improvised lessons and games.

The unusual privileges given to the prisoners in the family camp were a complete mystery to the members of the Auschwitz resistance movement. After a while, however, they managed to find out that the prisoners’ personal papers contained the abbreviation SB and the period six months. SB – Sonderbehandlung, or special treatment – was code in Nazi jargon for execution without verdict, in Auschwitz usually death in the gas chambers.

After exactly six months, all the still-living prisoners who had been deported to Auschwitz in September 1943 were told that they would be transferred to the Heydebreck labour camp. Instead of going to this fictitious camp, however, the lorries of prisoners headed to the Auschwitz gas chambers, where on the night of 8 March they were murdered without selection. According to several eyewitnesses, before going to their deaths in the Auschwitz gas chambers they sang, as a sign of resistance, the Czechoslovak anthem, the Jewish anthem Hatikva and the Internationale. Members of the Auschwitz resistance organisation (sic) had warned Fredy Hirsch and other prisoners in the family camp that they were shortly to be murdered, and had appealed to them to rebel – however, there was not enough time to prepare and organise (sic) armed revolt. Fredy Hirsch, who had been expected to lead the rebellion, then died of an overdose of tranquillisers (sic) — it is probable that he committed suicide.

From that point on, the remaining prisoners in the family camp lived in permanent fear that after six months they would meet the same fate. At the beginning of July 1944 these fears were confirmed: unlike in March, however, the prisoners underwent selections, and some of them were sent to work in other concentration camps. By chance, Mengele was persuaded to carry out a selection of the boys from the children’s block, which meant that some of them managed to survive until liberation. Approximately 6-7,000 prisoners remained in the family camp, and were then murdered over the course of two nights, from 10 to 12 July 1944. Of the 17,500 prisoners sent to the family camp, only 1,294 survived.

It is still not altogether clear why the organisers (sic) of the final solution created the family camp, with its unusual privileges, only to liquidate it several months later. All that seems clear is that this remarkable activity was connected with the Nazis’ attempts to hide the genocide of the Jews to the outside world, and with the visit of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Terezín, for which Terezín’s SS command ordered the ghetto to be specially embellished. The Terezín SS command then showed the Red Cross delegates a Potemkin village, which had very little in common with Terezín’s cruel reality. A few days before they were murdered, the prisoners of the family camp were ordered to write post-dated postcards to their Terezín relations from the labour camp at Birkenau. The Terezín prisoners were thus meant to gain the false idea, ahead of the Red Cross commissioner’s visit, that their parents, childrens and siblings in Birkenau were all right, and above all alive. Some historians also believe that the family camp was meant to be the target of a similarly-manipulated visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross, this time to Auschwitz.

The liquidation of the family camp on 8 March and 10-12 July 1944 was the largest mass murder of Czechoslovak citizens during the Second World War.

This quote is from this website, which gives a review of a new book, entitled Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death, written by Otto Dov Kulka, a survivor of the Czech Family Camp:

[Otto] and his mother were part of a unique transport of Jews from Theresienstadt who were housed together in a specially designated “Family Camp”, and allowed to continue some semblance of normal life. He attended a makeshift school, where he and his friends put on plays and concerts, some of which were attended by camp dignitaries like Josef Mengele. They were all aware that this was highly unusual, and could not understand why they should have been singled out for such special treatment (it turned out that they were being kept as a showpiece just in case the Red Cross should visit).

Their good fortune did not last long. In March 1944, exactly six months after their arrival, the entire group was rounded up and taken to the gas chambers. There were no selections, and no possibility of escape – they were simply disposed of en masse. Their place was then taken by a new group, which was again to be granted the same privileges and the same freedoms – but only until their six months had, in turn, come to an end.

Kulka and his mother survived the first culling by a twist of fate: they both happened to be in the infirmary on the night of the liquidation. But they were under no illusion that this was anything but a temporary reprieve. Unlike the rest of Auschwitz, whose inmates might at least hold out hope of being “selected” for work duties, they knew that any future round-up would take in all of them, and that they would all be killed. It is this certainty, this “immutable Law of the Great Death”, that formed the background to Kulka’s experience of Auschwitz, and which has continued to haunt him ever since.


In later years [Otto] visited the remains of Auschwitz, and made a point of stepping through the doorway into the ruins of the crematorium where his childhood friends were all killed, in the hope that this symbolic act might somehow lay his mind to rest.

Ruins of Krema II crematorium

Ruins of Krema II crematorium

Note that Otto Dov Kulka visited “the remains of Auschwitz” and stepped “through the doorway into the ruins of the crematorium” where his childhood friends were killed.  What doorway?  Have the ruins of Krema II, shown in the photo above, been opened up so that tourists can now enter through a doorway?  If so, I think that this is a good idea.

Few people have been brave enough to climb through the hole in the roof of Krema II to see the inside of the gas chamber.  It should be opened up, with wheel chair access, so that everyone can see the inside of the gas chamber, which Fred Leuchter first entered years ago.  Seriously.  Everyone should have the opportunity to see the gas chamber evidence which Fred never  found.

February 23, 2013

“Die Hexe von Buchenwald” — a famous German fairytale

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:00 am

According to Wikipedia, “Buchenwald’s second commandant was Karl Otto Koch, who ran the camp from 1937 to 1941. His second wife, Ilse Koch, became notorious as Die Hexe von Buchenwald (“the witch of Buchenwald”) for her cruelty and brutality.”

(Warning to readers in Germany: if you don’t believe in fairy tales, you could go to prison for 5 years.)

Ilse Kohler had met and married Karl Otto Koch in 1936 while Koch was the Commandant at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and Ilse was a guard there. She was dubbed “the Bitch of Buchenwald” by the American press after the camp was liberated by American troops on April 11, 1945. According to information at the camp Memorial Site and in the camp guidebook, Ilse selected prisoners with tattooed skin to be killed by her lover, Dr. Waldemar Hoven, in order to make leather lamp shades to decorate her home.

Leather lampshade shown on the right has no tattoo

Leather lampshade, found in Ilse Koch’s home is shown on the right

The photo above shows a display table that was set up for the benefit of the German citizens of Weimar (the closest city to the Buchenwald camp) who were marched, at gunpoint, to the camp on April 15, 1945 to see the atrocities that “had been committed in their name,” only five miles from their homes.  Also shown on the display table are two shrunken heads, made by the evil Germans from two Polish prisoners in the camp.

Spread out on the table, shown in the photo above, are several pieces of tattooed skin that were found in the camp, but no lampshade with tattooed skin was ever found — until a few years ago when the lampshade shown below was found in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  The lampshade was tested and found to have been made from human skin.

Human lampshade found in New Orleans after the hurricane

Human lampshade found in New Orleans after the hurricane

The following quote is from this website:

When the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina receded, they left behind a wrecked New Orleans and a strange looking lamp that an illicit dealer claimed was ‘made from the skin of Jews.’ This whirlwind journey takes us from Chicago to Buchenwald… from CSI-type labs to the remains of the pathology department where the SS conducted medical experiments on inmates. Before journey’s end, we go back in time to meet the most notorious Nazi villainess of all: Ilse Koch, the so-called ‘Bitch of Buchenwald.’ […]

That this particular lampshade is human seems incontrovertible. Back in 2006 it was tested by the same DNA lab the FBI chose to identify the 11,000 body parts left after 9-11. And that lab determined that the lampshade was indeed “of human origin.” […]

So far, our forensics tests done at some of the world’s best crime labs have pointed back to origins in Nazi Germany and WWII. The truth behind the lampshade’s important. For years it dwelled between myth and reality. Because although there’s absolutely no doubt that human skin artifacts were made at Buchenwald, a human-skin lampshade has never been found.

What?  You don’t believe in fairytales?  The fairytale of “Die Hexe von Buchenwald” is true.  It was proved, along with other facts, at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.

Well, not exactly proved — but it was brought up at Nuremberg.  On December 13, 1945, the US prosecution introduced Exhibit #253, which consisted of three pieces of tanned human skin that had been removed from prisoners by doctors at Buchenwald. A forensic report confirmed that it was human skin. Although this skin had not been fashioned into a lampshade, US prosecutor Thomas Dodd said that Ilse Koch had ordered tattooed human skin to be made into lampshades for her home. Exhibit #254, also introduced by Dodd, was a shrunken head, allegedly used by Ilse Koch as a paperweight, which Dodd said was the head of a Polish prisoner at Buchenwald.

Everything introduced into the Nuremberg IMT is absolutely true. But it wasn’t just at Nuremberg that the lamp shade story was proved; it was also proved at the trial of Ilse Koch conducted by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau — NOT!

Ilse Koch testifies on the witness stand at Dachau

Ilse Koch testifies on the witness stand at Dachau

According to Joshua M. Greene, author of Justice at Dachau, the prosecution introduced ten witnesses who testified against Ilse Koch at the American Military Tribunal. One of these witnesses, Kurt Froboess, testified that he had seen Frau Koch’s photo album, which he said had a tattoo on the cover. He said that he had seen this tattoo on a piece of preserved human skin, which he said had been removed from a fellow prisoner, in the pathology department at Buchenwald, and he later recognized this same tattoo on the cover of the photo album.

Apparently this photo album had been confiscated by the American liberators, but it was not introduced into evidence in the courtroom. In her plea for mercy from the court, Ilse Koch pointed out that Newsweek magazine had published an article in which it was stated that the US military government in Germany was in possession of her photo album. Frau Koch claimed that the album contained several photos of her home which showed lampshades made from dark leather; Frau Koch said the photos showed that the lampshades were clearly not made from human skin.

At least two witnesses at the trial of Ilse Koch testified about a lamp with a shade fashioned out of human skin and a base made from a human leg bone, which they claimed had been delivered to Frau Koch. One of these witnesses, Kurt Wilhelm Leeser, testified that he had previously seen the tattoos on this lamp shade on the arms of a fellow prisoner, Josef Collinette, before he died. This lamp was not introduced into evidence in the courtroom and there were no witnesses from the American military who testified about its existence.

The Jewish religion frowns upon tattoos and a Jew who is tattooed cannot be buried in consecrated ground, so it would have been unusual for a Jewish prisoner at Buchenwald to have had a tattoo. It was pointed out by defense counsel that Dr. Wagner was doing a study of tattoos and criminal behavior at Buchenwald. Tattooed skin had been removed from dead criminals and preserved at the pathology department where autopsies were done.

Dr. Sitte points to three pieces of tattooed skin

Dr. Kurt Sitte points to three pieces of tattooed skin found at Buchenwald

Three pieces of tattooed skin and a shrunken head were exhibited in the courtroom at Dachau as evidence of the ghastly crimes committed by the staff at Buchenwald. The photograph above shows Dr. Kurt Sitte, on the far right, who is identifying the three pieces of tattooed skin, found in the pathology department at Buchenwald. This same exhibit was shown at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal on December 13, 1945 as evidence of Crimes against Humanity.  (In the trials conducted by the American military, the ex-post-facto law called “Crimes against Humanity.” was not used.)

According to the forensic report prepared for the trial of Ilse Koch, the three pieces of skin had been determined to be human. Joseph Halow, a court reporter for some of the other Dachau trials, claims that he saw a lamp shade that was part of the evidence at the proceedings against Ilse Koch, but if this lamp shade was tested, the results were not included in the forensic report. No one else, that I know of, ever mentioned seeing a lamp shade in the Dachau courtroom.

In the testimony given at Dachau, there was no reference by any of the attorneys to a lamp being on display in the courtroom during the proceedings. Dr. Sitte identified the shrunken head that was exhibited in the courtroom, but he did not mention a lamp being in the courtroom during his testimony.

Dr. Sitte, who had a Ph.D. in physics, was one of the star witnesses against Ilse Koch. He had been a prisoner at Buchenwald from September 1939 until the liberation. He testified that tattooed skin was stripped from the bodies of dead prisoners and “was often used to create lampshades, knife cases, and similar items for the SS.” He told the court that it was “common knowledge” that tattooed prisoners were sent to the hospital after Ilse Koch had passed by them on work details. Dr. Sitte’s testimony of “common knowledge” was just another word for hearsay testimony, which was allowed by the American Military Tribunal.

According to Joshua M. Greene, author of Justice at Dachau, Dr. Sitte testified that “These prisoners were killed in the hospital and the tattooing stripped off.”

Under cross-examination, Dr. Sitte was forced to admit that he had never seen any of the lampshades allegedly made of human skin and that he had no personal knowledge of any prisoner who had been reported by Frau Koch and was then killed so that his tattooed skin could be made into a lampshade. He also admitted that the lampshade that was on the display table in the film was not the lampshade made from human skin that was allegedly delivered to Frau Koch. Apparently the most important piece of evidence, the lampshade made from human skin, was nowhere in sight during the trial of Ilse Koch.

During his cross examination of Dr. Sitte, defense attorney Captain Emanuel Lewis tried to introduce a plausible explanation for the removal of tattoos at Buchenwald when he asked:

“Is it not a fact that skin was taken from habitual criminals and was part of scientific research done by Dr. Wagner and into the connection between criminals and tattoos on their bodies?”

Dr. Sitte answered:

“In my time, skin was taken off prisoners whether they were criminal or not. I don’t think that a responsible scientist would ever call this kind of work scientific.”
In a ceremony to commemorate the 50ieth anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald, one thousand survivors of the camp participated along with some of the American veterans who had liberated the camp. As quoted in an article about this event by Stephen Kinzer in the New York Times International, one of the former inmates shared his memories of Ilse Koch:

“She was a very beautiful woman with long red hair, but any prisoner who was caught looking at her could be shot,” recalled Kurt Glass, a former inmate who worked as a gardener at the Koch family villa. “She got the idea she would like lamp shades made of human skin, and one day on the Appellplatz we were all ordered to strip to the waist. The ones who had interesting tattoos were brought to her, and she picked out the ones she liked. Those people were killed and their skin was made into lampshades for her. She also used mummified human thumbs as light switches in her house.”

If the human thumb light switches were ever found, they were not introduced as evidence into the trial of Ilse Koch.

Just before the American liberators arrived at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, Karl Otto Koch, the husband of Ilse Koch, had been executed by the Nazis themselves on April 5, 1945, two days before they began evacuating the Buchenwald camp. Koch had been incarcerated in the Buchenwald camp prison ever since he was arrested in August 1943 and tried in December 1943 by SS officer Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen in a special Nazi court. Koch was found guilty of extortion for taking bribes from Jewish prisoners, and he was also found guilty of two counts of murder for ordering the deaths of two Buchenwald prisoners.

Ilse had also been arrested by the SS for embezzlement and had been put on trial in Morgen’s court, along with her husband, but she had been acquitted of all charges. Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen had investigated the human lamp shade accusation, but had thrown this charge out of his court case for lack of evidence. Ilse Koch had been implicated in the crime of embezzlement at the Buchenwald camp because she shared a joint bank account with her husband, who was accused of extorting the equivalent of 100,000 dollars from the prisoners. As the wife of the Commandant, she came under the jurisdiction of the SS special court. She had been taken to the city jail in Weimar in August 1943 to await her trial, and had never returned to her former home just outside the Buchenwald camp.

According to a book entitled The Order of the Death’s Head: The Story of Hitler’s SS, by Heinz Höhne, Otto Koch had extorted money from Jewish prisoners who were sent to Buchenwald in November 1938 following the state-sponsored pogrom known as Kristallnacht. Approximately 10,000 Jewish men had been brought to Buchenwald in November 1938 but they were offered the opportunity to be released if they promised to leave Germany with their families within six months. Koch was accused of taking money from these prisoners without official authorization. Koch had also ordered the deaths of two prisoners, allegedly in an attempt to cover up his misdeeds.

Another version of the story, according to The Buchenwald Report commissioned by the US Army, is that Koch had syphilis and he had ordered the deaths of two hospital orderlies to prevent them from revealing his secret.

Before his crimes at Buchenwald were uncovered, Commandant Karl Otto Koch had been transferred to the Majdanek death camp in Poland in September 1941, but his wife stayed behind, continuing to live in the Commandant’s house. According to The Buchenwald Report, it was rumored that Ilse Koch was having simultaneous love affairs with Dr. Waldemar Hoven, a Waffen-SS Captain who was the chief medical doctor at Buchenwald, and Hermann Florstedt, the Deputy Commandant.

Waldemar Hoven, a doctor at Buchenwald

Waldemar Hoven, a doctor at Buchenwald

Both Florstedt and Dr. Hoven had been put on trial in the special Nazi court, which was run by Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, who was also an officer in the Waffen-SS. Florstedt was convicted by the Nazi court and was executed. Dr. Hoven, who was a Communist sympathizer, was convicted of killing non-Communist Buchenwald prisoners by injecting them in the heart. He was sentenced to death by the SS court, but his sentence was never carried out. After serving 18 months in the Buchenwald camp prison, he was reprieved because there was a shortage of doctors in the camp and his services were needed.

After World War II ended, Dr. Hoven with again charged with killing Buchenwald political prisoners by injection. He was one of the 23 Nazi doctors who were put on trial in June 1947 in the case of USA vs. Karl Brandt and others at Nuremberg, where he was again convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Dr. Hoven was executed by hanging on June 2, 1948.

In April 1947, Ilse Koch was convicted by the American Military Tribunal in Dachau and sentenced to life in prison. She was not convicted of ordering lamp shades to be made, but rather she was found guilty on a charge of participating in a “common plan” to violate the Laws and Usages of War under the Geneva Convention. During the review process, her sentence was reduced to time served, or four years, and she was released in 1949 by General Lucius D. Clay who said that the lamp shades in her home had been made from goat skin.

Ilse Koch was then retried in a German court on charges of cruelty to the prisoners and ordering prisoners to be murdered. She was convicted again and sentenced again to life imprisonment; after 20 years in prison Ilse committed suicide in 1967. The German court had not charged her with making lamp shades, but the judges did take judicial notice that lamp shades, made from human skin, had been found in her home, although this had not been proved during the proceedings of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau.

Room at Buchenwald where lampshades were made

Room at Buchenwald where lampshades were made

The photograph above shows a room in the pathology annex at Buchenwald, which is called the Gedenkraum, or Place of Thought in English. A plaque on the wall of this room says that this is the room where the skin was flayed from dead prisoners to make lamp shades. I took the photo above in 1999 when I visited the Buchenwald Memorial Site. No lamp shades, nor even a picture of them, were displayed anywhere at the Buchenwald Memorial Site when I was there.

The Jewish newspaper Forward reported on April 4, 1997 that the National Archives in College Park, Maryland has identified “a human skin lampshade, or part of one,” taken from the Buchenwald concentration camp and kept with government documents, and that the National Museum of Health and Medicine holds three pieces of tattooed human skin also taken from Buchenwald.

Of all the propaganda published by the American liberators of the Nazi camps, in order to demonize the German people, the fairytale “Die Hexe von Buchenwald” is the most egregious, in my opinion.

I previously blogged about the lampshades at Buchenwald here.

February 19, 2013

Prize-winning essay written by an Israeli visitor to Auschwitz: “Auschwitzland, fun for the whole family”

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 1:24 pm

I was searching for more information about the scratch marks on the walls of the Auschwitz gas chamber, when I came across an excellent essay written by a young Israeli visitor to the Auschwitz camp. The word “Auschwitzland” in the title of the essay is a play on words, comparing Auschwitz to Disneyland.  Unfortunately, in today’s world, that is a valid comparison.

As I read this essay, I was reminded of the writing style of Tadeusz Borowski, whose collected essays were published in a book entitled This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen.  In particular, it was these two sentences near the beginning of the essay, which reminded me of Borowski’s writing:

Everyone seemed to know one another, and the groups of girls would squeal with delight and kiss the air around one another’s cheeks, looking over their shoulders to see who was watching. The guys were a bit more awkward, shaking hands and standing in tense circles, holding their paper plates.

Although I enjoyed the essay very much, I was puzzled by some of the descriptions of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  For example, the Israeli essayist wrote this about the ashes from the crematoria at Birkenau:

We walked across a green field, to some ponds, and stopped at the edge of one of them. […] If I really concentrated on them I could almost ignore the ominous brick chimney looming in the distance. […]  I was brought back to reality as Avi [the tour guide] explained that these ponds were man-made. A place was needed to dump the ashes from the crematorium, ashes of the Jews who were tortured, humiliated and systematically murdered and then burnt by the Nazis. This pond was built to receive these remains.

The ash ponds at Birkenau are shown in my 2005 photos below.

Large ash pond at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Large ash pond at Auschwitz-Birkenau

In the photo above, you can see the ash pond for the Krema IV crematorium in the foreground and the Central Sauna in the background. On the right in the background, you can see the ruins of Krema IV. The Krema IV building had above-ground gas chambers that were disguised as showers.

Krema V was located on the other side of a road that runs east and west from one end of the camp to the other. Krema V has its own ash pond that has now dried up.

In the photo below, you can see the dried up ash pond for Krema III, which had a large underground gas chamber.

Dried up ash pond for Krema III

Dried up ash pond for Krema III

In the background of the photo above, you can see the round brick structures of the water treatment plant for the Birkenau camp. In the foreground, you can see what looks like a small bog garden. This is where the ashes from the crematory ovens in Krema III were thrown. The dried up ash pond for Krema III looks very similar to the dried up ash pond for  Krema V, which I did not photograph.

Markers at the dried up ash pond for Krema III

Markers in four languages at the dried up ash pond for Krema III

The photo above shows the black markers in four languages that identify the ash pit for Krema III. The Krema III building held one of the two largest gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. An estimated 1.3 million people were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, most of them in the Krema III and Krema II gas chambers.  Yet, the ash pond that (according to a tour guide) was deliberately dug by the Nazis, has now completely dried up and no ashes can be seen.

Ash pond for Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Ash pond for Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau

In the photo above, you can see, on the right side, the ruins of Krema II, a building which housed a large underground gas chamber.  On the left side of the photo, you can see the ash pond where the ashes of millions of burned bodies were allegedly thrown.  In the background on the left is the ruins of the underground gas chamber in Krema II. On the right is the collapsed roof of the brick building where the bodies were cremated.

The ash pit in the photo immediately above does look as if it were deliberately dug, but would the Nazis have deliberately dug such a pond and thrown the ashes into it.  I don’t think so.  The German people are extremely neat and Heinrich Himmler, who was in charge of all the camps, was especially persnickety. He would not have allowed the ashes of millions of people to be thrown into a man-made pond.

I previously blogged about the ashes at Birkenau here.

At other Nazi camps, the ashes of the prisoners who died in the camp were put into urns, like the ones shown in the photo below, which was taken in the Buchenwald crematorium. When the Bismarck Tower on the Ettersberg, near the Buchenwald camp, was blown up by the Soviet Union to provide a place for their Bell Tower Monument in honor of the Communist prisoners of Buchenwald, they found 1286 urns full of ashes in the basement of the tower.

Urns which were used to hold the ashes of prisoners who died at Buchenwald

Urns which were used to hold the ashes of prisoners who died at Buchenwald

In a book, written by Auschwitz-Birkenau camp secretary, Lore Shelley, entitled Secretaries of Death, the author mentioned that the Nazis hauled the urns containing the ashes of the murdered Jews out of the camp before they abandoned the camp on January 18, 1945.

There are some people who claim that the ashes of the Jews were thrown into the Sola river, which runs through the town of Auschwitz.  I don’t think so.  Himmler had a degree in agriculture; he was way ahead of his time, and would never have allowed the ashes of millions of Jews to be thrown into a river.  So where are the ashes of the 4 million Jews who were murdered at Auschwitz?  Excuse me, I mean the 1.1 million people who were killed at Auschwitz.

This quote is also from the prize-winning essay:

We went to the town of Tarnow. Some of the buildings lining the main square dated back to pre-war times. They were quaint and beautiful. People rode by on bicycles, children kicked a soccer ball. Two old men sat on a bench in the sunshine. In this square Jews were forced to sit on their knees without moving for two days. Anyone who looked up off the ground was shot instantly. They were humiliated and tortured. This square, so refined and sophisticated, was witness to such pain and suffering I expected to see blood come seeping up between the paving stones.

I immediately recognized the name Tarnow, which I had learned in my research into the Auschwitz camp a few years ago.  I regret that I never took a side trip to see the town.

The first prisoners in the Auschwitz main camp were Polish political prisoners, including some Jews, and a few German criminals, who were brought to Auschwitz to assist the Nazis in supervising the other prisoners. The first transport of prisoners to the main Auschwitz camp consisted of 728 Polish inmates of the Gestapo prison at Tarnow, Poland. They were mostly university students, including a few Jews, who had joined the Polish Resistance.

Among the first 728 prisoners who arrived at Auschwitz on June 14, 1940 was 18-year-old Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, who later became Poland’s foreign minister and a pioneer of German-Polish reconciliation. Bartoszewski fell seriously ill and was released from Auschwitz six months later, thanks to intervention by the Red Cross.

But I digress.  To get back to the essay, I was surprised to read this:

We had driven by the tall guard towers, and seen the train tracks leading into the camp. These tracks exemplified the Nazis’ manipulation and duplicity. They were designed to look like they continued into the distance, to make sure the passengers on the train weren’t aware that this was their final destination; just one of the ways the prisoners were kept in control.

The Nazis just can’t catch a break.  Everything they did affronted the Jews — even the fact, that they extended the train tracks from the Auschwitz station into the Birkenau camp in 1944, offends the Jewish tourists now.  Before the tracks were extended inside the Birkenau camp, the Jews got off the trains at the Judenrampe, near the Auschwitz train station.  The Judenrampe was about a mile and a half from the camp and the prisoners had to walk to the gas chambers before the tracks were extended into the camp.

The location of the Judenrampe where Jews got off the trains

The location of the Judenrampe where Jews got off the trains

The location of the Judenrampe, which is shown in the photo above, became an official Memorial Site in early 2005 when 5 markers were set up along the tracks, including one in honor of the French Jews who were sent to Birkenau. In the photo above, a tour group reads the sign placed at this location.

Between February 1942 and the end of April 1944, when the railroad tracks were extended inside the Birkenau camp, there were approximately 500,000 Jews who arrived at this ramp. According to the Auschwitz Museum, at least 75% of them were immediately gassed. The old people, who couldn’t walk to the gas chambers, were taken on trucks.

Train tracks go through the Birkenau gate house

Train tracks go through the Auschwitz-Birkenau gate house into the camp

The railroad spur line that goes through the Auschwitz-Birkenau gate house begins on the left side of the gate, about a quarter of a mile away, and curves around until it forms a straight line in front of the gate. Trains coming from the west entered the Birkenau camp from tracks on the left side of the gate, as you are facing it, and did not pass the railroad station in the town of Auschwitz. Trains coming from the opposite direction passed the train station in Auschwitz and then entered the camp on the spur line. The train tracks end only a few yards from two of the gas chambers inside the Birkenau camp — the Krema II and Krema III gas chambers.

Train tracks inside the Birkenau camp

Train tracks inside the Birkenau camp

The photo above illustrates what the Israeli essayist said about the train tracks, which I am quoting again:

These tracks exemplified the Nazis’ manipulation and duplicity. They were designed to look like they continued into the distance, to make sure the passengers on the train weren’t aware that this was their final destination; just one of the ways the prisoners were kept in control.

I don’t think that this was what the Nazis had in mind when they extended the railroad tracks inside the Birkenau camp.  They were trying to make it easy on the Jews; when the tracks were extended, the Jews could now ride to the gas chambers, instead of having to walk more than a mile to their deaths.

The tracks were extended into the Birkenau camp in order to facilitate the killing of the Hungarian Jews.  On May 8, 1944, former Commandant Rudolf Höss (Hoess) was brought back to Auschwitz-Birkenau to supervise the deportation of the Hungarian Jews. The next day, Höss ordered the train tracks to be extended inside the Birkenau camp so that the Hungarian Jews could be brought as close as possible to the gas chambers.

According to Laurence Rees, in his book Auschwitz, a New History, the first mass transport of Hungarian Jews left on May 15, 1944 and arrived at Birkenau on May 16, 1944. The mass transports consisted of 3,000 or more prisoners on each train.  In only 10 weeks time, as many as 500,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed and burned.  Strangely, most of the Holocaust survivors, now alive, are Hungarian Jews.  Each of them has a story to explain why they were not gassed.

February 18, 2013

Holocaust survivor tells Kansas students that priests were killed in the gas chambers

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 2:04 pm

The text quoted below was printed in the online Clay Center Dispatch on February 15, 2013:

Students at Clay Center Community High School had an opportunity to meet history face to face Tuesday when Holocaust survivor Eva Rappart Edmands visited CCCHS [in Lawrence, KS] Tuesday afternoon.

Edmands who lives in Lawrence opened her morning presentation by asking students to complete a quotation often attributed to Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is . . . “ (that good men do nothing.)

She went on to explain that’s what happened in Germany that allowed Hitler and the Nazis to do so much evil.   [….]

By conservative estimates more than 1,000 priests and ministers died in the gas chambers because they helped Jews, Edmands said.

The Clay Center Dispatch did not report whether Ms. Edmands told the students which gas chamber was used to kill priests and ministers. Dachau was the concentration camp where the priests and ministers were sent.  Were the priests and ministers killed in the Dachau gas chamber?  You can read about the priests at Dachau here.

What right do “Holocaust survivors” have to come into American schools and tell lies about the Holocaust?  Ms. Edmands survived because she hid from the Nazis.  She was never in a concentration camp.

This quote from The Dispatch shows that Ms. Edmands is not qualified to talk to students on the subject of the Holocaust:

As for those today who would deny the holocaust, the German’s own records prove it happened.

“The Germans kept excellent records of the trains that went to the death camps. The records had the names of the people who were on the trains,” Edmands said.

It is well known that the “records of the trains that went to the death camps” have never been found. That is why it is ESTIMATED that 1.3 million Jews were sent on trains to Auschwitz; the exact number is unknown.

The train records were kept on IBM Hollerith cards, but those cards were confiscated by the Soviet Union and have never been released.  The Soviet Union claimed at the Nuremberg IMT that 4 million prisoners had been killed at Auschwitz, but there was no evidence submitted to back up that claim.

This quote is from the website of the Auschwitz Museum:

We should remember that the Nazis destroyed most of the documents they created and that a list with the names of all Auschwitz victims does not exist.

Should Ms. Edmands be arrested and sent to prison for 5 years for lying about the Holocaust?  No, it is only “Holocaust deniers” who are sent to prison for as long as 5 years in 19 countries.  A “Holocaust denier” is defined as a person who does not believe Holocaust lies.

How Holocaust remembrance 24/7, 365 days a year affects people today.

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:58 am

Today I read in the news that some people in Greece are becoming fed up with the Holocaust. This quote is from the news article, which you can read in full here:

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — The Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party questioned the country marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, calling it “unacceptable.”

In the Greek Parliament last week, Golden Dawn lawmaker Ioannis Lagos asked the Education and Interior ministers why state institutions and schools commemorate the remembrance day, which is marked on Jan. 27 each year — the day in 1945 that Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz death camp.

“We have received complaints that on this day, in Greek schools, texts are read which praise the Jews and at the same time portray them as heroes,” Lagos said. “Given that at the same time Greek children are completely ignorant of important moments in Greek history and of the real holocausts and heroes of the Greeks, we find it unacceptable that they are taught about the Jewish Holocaust in detail.”

I previously blogged about Holocaust Remembrance Day here.

To give you an idea of how Holocaust education affects people today, I will quote from an essay written by ROBERT HALFON, MP FOR HARLOW, after a trip to Auschwitz.  Halfon starts out by explaining how he came to hate the German people at a very young age.

Quote from the Harlow Star online newspaper:

It was all because I had watched a series about the Nazi Holocaust on television. Suddenly the German adult who had befriended me became an enemy who (sic) I started to hate.


As a Jew who had relatives in another concentration camp (Bergen Belsen), I have grown up with the Holocaust always in my cultural background. I have read about it, watched films about it, heard about it and visited the Holocaust Museum in Israel, known as Yad Vashem, on a number of occasions.


If one thing Auschwitz teaches you it is not to hate Germans . . . or anyone else for that matter. If not checked, hatred grows and grows.

From demonisation to marginalisation to extermination,that is the story of genocide – not just during the Second World War but the world over.

That is why I know I was so stupid in my behaviour to that German lady as a child and why I have learnt my lesson ever since. We can’t visit the sins of the fathers on the sins of the children.

We must learn from the past but not live in it.

Unfortunately a guided tour of Auschwitz DOES teach hatred.  Halfon’s essay is very well written; it is like poetry, but, unfortunately, his essay contains nothing but hatred.

This quote is from the essay written by Halfon:

Auschwitz I is where the Devil’s sign ‘Arbeit Nacht (sic) Frei’ (Work makes you free) is. As we walked around and went into the huts where artefacts (sic) were displayed, there is a sense that the Nazis ran it as if it were a series of conveyer belts in a factory.

Did anyone ever explain to Halfon and the British students, on their one-day trip, why the Auschwitz main camp has an “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign over the gate, but this sign is not on the gate into the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp? I previously blogged about the sign at Auschwitz here.

Continuing the quote from Halfon’s article:

Prisoners arrived, had their possessions taken away, their hair cut and then many were sent to the gas chambers. In one hut we saw rooms full of human hair which the Nazis used to make textiles, rows of suitcases, piles of spectacles, even hundreds of false legs and arms that were seized.

Then you come out of the huts, walk close to a gas chamber and you have another shock. Right opposite is the house of the camp commandant, Rudolf Hoess. A nice house that would have fitted well into a suburban setting, it is hard to believe that this man, lived there with his family whilst mass murder was being committed on his doorstep.

The organisation (sic) of the camp was extraordinary. With all morality gone, evil had become a science.

The house of the commandant, Rudolf Hoess, is not exactly OPPOSITE the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp.  The building that is opposite the gas chamber is the SS hospital.

Auschwitz gas chamber in the foreground with SS hospital in the background

Auschwitz gas chamber in the foreground with SS hospital in the background

Roof of gas chamber with SS hospital in the background

Roof of Auschwitz gas chamber with SS hospital in the background

To any reasonable person, the fact that the SS hospital was across the street from the alleged gas chamber, should be a clue that the alleged gas chamber building did NOT house a homicidal gas chamber.  The house where the Commandant lived was down the street from the so-called gas chamber at Auschwitz. The house is shown in the photo below; notice that the building OPPOSITE it is NOT the gas chamber building.

The Commandant's house at Auschwitz

The Commandant’s house at Auschwitz

The quote from Halfon’s essay continues below:

It was a very cold day when we visited Auschwitz. The temperature dipped to -5 degrees and it snowed constantly. But when we arrived at Auschwitz Birkenau I felt a much deeper chill right inside. I shuddered as if I had had a fright. This was the place where the Nazis killed 1.5 million Jews.

The figure of 1.5 million was suggested by Lech Walesa. In January 1945, the New York Times reported that the number of prisoners who had been killed at Auschwitz was 1.5 million.

The number of Jews who died at Auschwitz is unknown, but the current estimate is 1.1 million deaths, including Jews and non-Jews.  The estimate of the number of Jewish deaths is 900,000. You can read about how the numbers at Auschwitz have changed here.

Continuing the quote from the essay by Halfon:

Strangely for me, the part of Birkenau that had most effect was standing on the railway platform. The Nazis had to ensure the trains ran on time to Auschwitz from almost every destination in Europe. From Corfu to the Netherlands, Jews were squashed in cattle trucks without food or water and, taken to this railway platform.

When they got out of the train, they were put in ‘selection’. The fitter, healthier looking ones became prisoners for slave labour, the others taken to the gas chambers having been told they were going to have showers.

When they walked into the shower huts, gas came through the roofs. The dead bodies were then taken by other prisoners to giant ovens where they were burned.

The “shower huts”? “Gas came through the roofs”?  No, the story told about Auschwitz-Birkenau is that the prisoners went into an underground undressing room, took off their clothes, and then proceeded into gas chambers which had NO SHOWER PIPES and NO HOLES in the roof, through which to input the Zyklon-B gas pellets.

The photo below shows the ruins of Krema II, one of the alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Ruins of Krema II gas chamber have no holes in the roof for inputting the gas

Ruins of Krema II gas chamber have no holes in the roof for inputting the gas

The hole that is visible in the photo above is a hole in the roof of Krema II through which at least three Holocaust revisionists have descended and found no evidence of gassing, and no evidence of holes that might have been closed up before the building was blown up.  No holes, no Holocaust!

The trips, taken by the British to Auschwitz, are nothing but propaganda, designed to promote nothing but hatred, and people the world over are getting sick of it. Enough already!

February 16, 2013

Holocaust survivor was one of the few Jews to leave Auschwitz alive, thanks to Oskar Schindler

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 12:18 pm

Niusia Horowitz was a prisoner at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp when she was a young girl. She was “hand-picked” for the gas chamber twice, but thanks to Oskar Schindler, she was saved because she had small fingers, perfect for polishing the inside of munition shells.  You can read her full story in The Sun online newspaper here.

This quote is from the article in The Sun:

As a 12-year-old, caged in the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp, she was twice hand-picked for the gas chamber.

Incredibly, both times she cheated death at the last minute after guards were bribed to spare her.

And Niusia became one of the few Jews ever to leave Auschwitz alive — thanks to heroic German industrialist Oskar Schindler.

The factory boss — whose selfless mission to save Jews inspired Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Schindler’s List — gave her a job at his fake munitions factory.

He then lied to convince Nazi bosses she was a key worker, despite her age, protecting her until the end of the war. Niusia, now 80, recalls: “An officer questioned whether I was really essential to the war effort. The answer was yes, because my hands were really small and I could polish inside munition shells where adult hands couldn’t reach.”

If you have seen the movie Schindler’s List, you may remember how Oskar Schindler went to Auschwitz and saved two young girls by telling the SS men that he needed someone to work in his factory who had small hands.  Niusia Horowitz was one of those young girls.

This quote is from the news article in The Sun:

Her story is so incredible that Spielberg wrote her character into his film and even let her appear in the final scene as herself.


Niusia’s hellish ordeal deepened in autumn 1944 when Schindler bribed German officials to let him move his operation to safer Brinnlitz, [ Brünnlitz] near Zwittau, his home town.

Each Jew was placed on “Schindler’s List” and transported by train to the town, where he had set up a bogus munitions factory.

All the male workers arrived safely, but a mix-up meant [train] carriages carrying young Niusia and around 300 other female Schindler Jews went to Auschwitz instead.

The movie Schindler’s List is based on a novel, entitled Schindler’s Ark, written by Thomas Keneally and first published in 1982.  The reason that the book is classified as a novel is because the book is LOOSELY BASED ON THE TRUTH; it is not purported  to be the Gospel truth. It is not true that the women on Schindler’s List had been sent to Auschwitz because of a “mix-up.” 

The real-life story is that the men on Schidler’s List were sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp because Schindler’s new factory, a hundred miles from Gross Rosen, was being set up as a sub-camp of Gross Rosen.  On page 276 of Schindler’s Ark, the author wrote that “All Plaszow men would be sent to Gross Rosen.”  The Gross Rosen camp was a men’s camp.  There were no barracks for women at Gross Rosen, so all the Plaszow women had to be sent some place else.

The women on Schindler’s List had to be sent to some other camp until barracks for them could be built at Schindler’s new sub-camp.  The women were NOT sent to Auschwitz because of a mix-up; they were sent to Auschwitz to wait until barracks for them could be built at Schindler’s new sub camp of Gross Rosen.

The Horowitz family is mentioned in the book Schindler’s Ark on page 200 in this quote:

Among prisoners who knew, there was already competition to get into Emalia [Schindler’s factory in Krakow]. Prisoner Dolek Horowitz, a purchasing officer inside the Plaszow camp, [located 10 miles from Krakow] knew that he would not be allowed to go to Schindler’s place himself. But he had a wife and two children. […]

It was not only, and perhaps not mainly, Richard [his son] whom Dolek wanted to get into Schindler’s compound. […] It was his ten-year-old daughter, Niusia, [….]

On page 291 of the book Schindler’s Ark, it is mentioned that the list was being made up by “the personnel clerk, Marcel Goldberg.”

From page 293 of Schindler’s Ark, we learn that Marcel Goldberg was taking bribes from prisoners who wanted on Schindler’s list of prisoners to be taken to his new factory in Brinnlitz  [Brünnlitz], Czechoslovakia.

This quote is from page 293 of Schindler’s Ark:

“For this list,” said Goldberg, a man of prodigious and accidental power, “it takes diamonds.”  […] Dolek Horowitz also, who had earlier got his wife and children out to Emalia, now persuaded Goldberg to include him, his wife, his son, his young daughter [Niusia]. Horowitz had always worked in the central warehouse at Plaszow and had managed to put some small treasure way. Now it was paid to Marcel Goldberg [to get his family on Schindler’s List].

In other words, Dolek Horowitz was stealing diamonds from the warehouse at the Plaszow camp. Amon Goeth, the Commandant of Plaszow had already been arrested for stealing from the Plaszow warehouse.  The arrest of Amon Goeth is not mentioned at all in the movie Schindler’s List.

This quote is from page 284 of Schindler’s Ark:

Amon was on leave in Vienna, staying with his father, the publisher, when the SS arrested him.

Oskar Schindler was also arrested by the German Gestapo, which is mentioned on page 312 of Schindler’s Ark.  Then on page 314 of the book, we find this quote:

The next day he [Schindler] was interrogated by a panel of SS investigators, one a judge of the SS court.

The unnamed judge of the SS court was Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, who had already put SS men in the Buchenwald camp on trial; you can read about Dr. Morgen on my website here.

Now for the most important quote, which is from page 318 of Schindler’s Ark:

What is certain is that Oskar now sent a young woman with a suitcase full of liquor, ham, and diamonds to make a deal with these functionaries [Rudolf Höss, Fritz Hartjenstein, and Franz Hössler, the man in charge of the women’s camp].


Others claim that Oskar stayed away from Auschwitz himself as a matter of strategy and went to Oranienburg instead, and to the Armaments Inspectorate in Berlin, to put pressure on Hoess and his associates from that end.

The story as Stern would tell it years later in a public speech in Tel Aviv is as follows. After Oskar’s release from prison, Stern approached Schindler and —“under the pressure of some of my comrades”— begged Oskar to do something decisive about the women ensnared in Auschwitz. […]

According to Stern, the secretary went [to Auschwitz]. When she did not return within two days, Schindler himself —in the company of the obscure Peltze— went to settle the matter.

The book Schindler’s Ark, which is a novel, goes on and on about what girl went to the camp to get the Schindler’s List women out of Auschwitz, and whom she slept with or didn’t sleep with, whether she volunteered to go or not, etc. etc.  Anything but the truth.  The truth is that Oskar Schindler’s secretary went to Auschwitz to make sure that Schindler’s women got on the right train out of the camp.

Regarding the scene where Oskar Schindler tells the SS at Auschwitz that he needs workers with small fingers, this quote begins on page 319:

…. Oskar pursued his usual line. There are irreplaceable skilled munitions workers [among the women on Schinlder’s List]. I have trained them myself over a period of years. They represent skills that I cannot quickly replace.  The names I know, that is, are the names I know.

A moment said his tempter.  […] I see an 11-year-old daughter of Regina Horowitz [listed].  Are you telling me that […] an 11-year-old [is] a skilled munitions worker?  They polish the forty-five millimeter shells said Oskar.  They were selected for their long fingers, which can reach the interior of the shell in a way that is beyond most adults.

Such conversation took place in support of the girl who was a friend of the family took place, conducted by Oskar either in person, or by telephone.

According to the novel Schindler’s Ark, Schindler had previously claimed in 1943 that another girl, Anita Lampel, whose hands he had never seen, was needed in his factory in Krakow because she had long fingers. This quote is from Schindler’s Ark:

Anita Lampel was herself in Auschwitz now, but was grown tall and no longer needed the long-fingered ploy. So it was transferred to the benefit of the daughters of Mrs. Horowitz [Niusia] and Mrs. Rath.  [the daughter of Mrs. Rath was nine years old]

I could not find any mention in the book Schindler’s Ark about Niusia Horowitz being selected twice for the gas chamber at Auschwitz, and being saved twice by Oskar Schindler.

This quote is also from the article in The Sun:

Crucially, the Horowitzes secured Niusia a menial job in Schindler’s enamel factory, where word had spread that he protected Jews.

His wining and dining of Third Reich leaders meant they let him use captive Jews as cheap labour, sparing them from the killings and torture rife in the ghetto.

And Schindler — called Herr Direktor by his grateful Jewish workers — quickly took a shine to his youngest girl worker.

But that affection nearly cost him his life, as powerfully illustrated in Spielberg’s film.

Niusia was nominated by the factory Jews to present him with a birthday cake made by pressing together their bread rations as a token of gratitude.

 She recalls: “I remember him bending down and kissing me on the forehead. I had no idea it would get him into trouble. I was only young and didn’t understand.”

Schindler was arrested for kissing a Jew before being spared because of his high-ranking Nazi contacts. In March 1943, Niusia’s family were forced into the Plaszow concentration camp. Their factory jobs kept them safe — but Niusia witnessed executions that disturb her to this day.

However, the book Schindler’s Ark mentions on page 109 that Schindler “heartily kissed a girl named Kucharska.”  For this, he was arrested for breaking the provisions of the Race and Resettlement Act because Kucharska was Jewish.

There is no mention in the novel Schindler’s Ark that Schindler ever kissed Niusia.

I previously blogged about the movie Schindler’s List here and here.

February 10, 2013

youngest survivor on Schindler’s List has died at the age of 83

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 1:38 pm

Leon Leyson, who was 13 years old, when his name was put on Schindler’s List, has died in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 83.  You can read the news of his death here.

This quote is from the news article about his death:

Because of Schindler’s interventions and after being ultimately placed on his list of workers which meant they were save from the death camps, Leon survived alongside his parents and an older brother and sister.

His other two brothers were killed.

“Five of us survived the war, this is the bottom line, out of everyone who was related to me in Poland. And we survived because we were on Schindler’s list,” Leon said during an interview in 2008 on NBC4.

On June 1, 2010, I blogged about Leon Leyson and Schindler’s List here.

I am re-posting part of my original blog post from 2010:

Scene from the movie Shindler's List

Scene from the movie Shindler’s List

Schindler did not personally make up the “List of Jews” for his factory, as it was portrayed in the movie. David Crowe wrote a book entitled Oskar Schindler, in which he revealed that the movie scene, shown in the photo above, is pure fiction.

According to Crowe, Oskar Schindler had no role in preparing the famous list, other than giving SS-Hauptscharführer Franz Josef Müller some general guidelines for the type of workers he wanted on the list.

Amon Göth, the Commandant of the Plaszow camp, who shot prisoners from his balacony in the movie, had been arrested by the SS on September 13, 1944 and was in prison in Breslau when the list was prepared, but this is not mentioned in the movie.  Göth just disappears in the movie and no one notices that he is gone.

David Crowe wrote that the person responsible for the preparation of Schindler’s List was Marcel Goldberg, a corrupt Jewish prisoner at the Plaszow camp, who was a member of the Ordnungdienst, the camp’s Jewish police force. Goldberg was the assistant of SS-Hauptscharführer Franz Josef Müller, the SS man responsible for the transport lists. Only about one third of the Jews on the list had previously worked in Schindler’s factory in Krakow.

The novel, Schindler’s Ark tells about how Goldberg accepted bribes from the prisoners who wanted to get on the list.

In his book Oskar Schindler, David Crowe wrote:

“… watch how Steven Spielberg traces the story of Marcel Goldberg, the real author of Schindler’s List, in his film. He begins in the early part of the film with Goldberg sitting near Leopold “Poldek” Page and other Jewish black marketeers in Krakow’s Marjacki Bazylika (church) as Oskar Schindler tries to interest them in doing business with a German. What follows throughout the rest of the film is the subtle tale of Goldberg’s gradual moral degeneration. Schindler, for example, gives Itzhak Stern first a lighter, then a cigarette case, and finally a watch to bribe Goldberg to send more Jews to his factory from Plaszow.”

Here is the true story of what actually happened:

After Germany conquered Poland in 1939,  Oskar Schindler purchased a factory in the city of Krakow, where he employed Jews from the Krakow ghetto.  When the Krakow ghetto was closed, all the Jews were sent to the nearby Plaszow labor camp which was just outside the city of Krakow.

Schindler got permission to turn his factory into a sub-camp of the Plaszow camp, so that he could continue to employ Jews, instead of Polish workers.

He built barracks at his factory for Jewish prisoners, who were then transferred from the Plaszow camp to his sub-camp. After the Plaszow labor camp became a concentration camp, Schindler’s  factory sub-camp was then put under the authority of the WVHA, the economic office of the Nazi concentration camp system.

Oskar Schindler was making a fortune during the occupation of Poland during World War II.  Schindler was hiring Jews in his factory and paying lower wages than what he would have had to pay Polish workers.

By 1944, the Nazis were only allowing munitions factories to become sub-camps in their concentration camp system. 

Schindler’s factory in Krakow had two parts; one part of his factory made enamel pots and pans for the German army, but he was also producing munitions for the German military.  The Nazis did not want to open a munitions factory that would be a sub-camp of Gross Rosen, so Schindler had to bribe them to allow him to open a munitions factory near his home town of Brünnlitz, in what is now the Czech Republic.

When the Plaszow camp was closed in 1944, all the men in the camp were sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp, including the Jews on Schindler’s List.

All the women in the Plaszow camp had to go to Auschwitz temporarily until barracks could be built for them at Gross Rosen, which was a men’s camp.

After barracks, for both men and women, were built at Schindler’s new sub-camp, the Jews on his List were sent there, including his female workers, who were temporarily staying at Auschwitz.

In real life, Schindler sent his secretary to Auschwitz to make sure that his Jewish workers got on the right train, but he didn’t go himself.

What if Schindler had just closed his munitions factory in Krakow and not bribed the Nazis to allow him to move it to Brunnlitz?  What would have happened to the prisoners on his famous list?  Would they have been sent immediately to the gas chambers?  No.  The men would have been sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp which did not have gas chambers.  The women and children would have been sent, temporarily, to Auschwitz which was only 37 miles from Krakow, but they would not necessarily have been gassed.  There were numerous survivors of Auschwitz, including old women and little children.

The food for the prisoners in Oskar Schindler’s sub-camp was provided by the Nazis, but Schindler spent his own money to buy extra food and medicine for them.  His workers had a better chance of survival than they would have had in any other camp, but even then, some of his workers died of disease.  The Plaszow prisoners, who did not get on Schindler’s List, were not condemned to “certain death.” 

This quote is from the news article about Leyson’s death:

When the Nazis ordered the remaining Jews of Krakow to be sent to Auschwitz., Schindler acted again paying huge bribes and using all of his influence to ensure as many as possible were relocated to outside [his] home town and thus away from the Final Solution.

Schindler also dramatically intervened when Leyson’s mother and sister were among 300 Schindler women accidentally re-routed to Auschwitz when they were meant to be led to safety.

They knew the gas chambers awaited them until they heard Schindler’s voice.

The information in the above quote is based on the story that is told in the movie Schindler’s List.  It is true that Schindler had to bribe the Nazis to allow him to set up a factory outside his home town in what is now the Czech Republic, but the reason that Schindler had to bribe the Nazis was not because the workers in his factory had been ordered to be sent to Auschwitz to be killed.  No, the prisoners in Schindler’s factory in Krakow had been scheduled to go to Gross Rosen, a concentration camp which did not have a gas chamber.  Schindler’s Jews had not been scheduled to be killed.

The female prisoners on Schindler’s List had to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau to wait until barracks at Schindler’s new factory could be built for them.  In the movie Schindler’s list, the women are shown in the shower room at Auschwitz and they are over-joyed to see water come out of the faucets, not gas.

February 9, 2013

Tadeusz Borowski quoted in an article about the UN and Israel

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:20 pm

This morning, I read an article here, written by William A. Cook, entitled Neither Justice Nor Morality – Just Impunity From Crimes Against Humanity.  

The article begins with a quote from a book written by Tadeusz Borowski entitled This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen.  The book is a collection of short stories which were first published in 1948 under the title of one of the short stories.

The quote, which William A. Cook used in his article, is from the short story, which is entitled The January Offensive.  This short story begins on page 164 of the book entitled This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen.

The short story that begins on page 164 starts with this quote:

I would like to tell you a short and moral story I heard from a certain Polish poet who during the first autumn after the war came to West Germany, accompanied by his wife and mistress…

In 1944, before the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex was liberated by Soviet soldiers, Borowski had been transported to Dachau; he was liberated by American soldiers at the Allach subcamp of Dachau. Borowski had been a concentration camp prisoner between 1943 and 1945, first at Auschwitz and later at Dachau.  Borowski was a political prisoner; he had been arrested because he was a Communist, who opposed the Nazis.

This quote is from Borowski’s  short story entitled The January Offensive:

After the liberation [of Dachau] we were carefully isolated from the surrounding communities and we vegetated throughout the beautiful, sunny month of May inside the dirty, D.D.T. sprayed barracks of Dachau. [….]

After two months of efforts, so macabre but so humorous that one day they deserve to be described separately, all four of us moved into a little room belonging to the Polish Committee in Munich… [….]

Later, thanks to our concentration camp documents, three of us were able —honestly and legally — to get a comfortable four-room apartment vacated by a Nazi who was temporarily  sent to stay with his relatives and who was told to leave some of his furniture and religious pictures for us.

At that time we longed to emigrate, and all four of us dreamed of nothing else but to escape as soon as possible from the ghetto of Europe to another continent where we could study in peace and get rich. […]

The poet, together with his wife and mistress, rested for several days in the mahogany matrimonial bed belonging to our landlord, recovering from the hardships of his journey. [….]   The four of us became involved in a heated discussion with the poet…

It is at this point in the short story, on page 168, that the quote used by William A. Cook begins. The quote, from the short story The January Offensive is printed below:

The world is ruled by neither justice nor morality; crime is not punished nor virtue rewarded, one is forgotten as quickly as the other. The world is ruled by power and power is obtained with money. To work is senseless, because money cannot be obtained through work, but through exploitation of others. And if we cannot exploit as much as we wish, at least let us work as little as we can. Moral duty? We believe neither in the morality of man nor in the morality of systems.”
― Tadeusz BorowskiThis Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen

It would appear that William A. Cook got this quote from the website in the link above, which gives many quotes from Borowski’s books.  If you read the above quote, in its original context, in the book of short stories entitled This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, you will see that this paragraph has quote marks around it. I interpreted the quote marks to mean that the words quoted above were the words of “the poet” who was living with Borowski in an apartment taken away from a Nazi after the war.

If you read Borowski’s entire book of short stories, as I did, you will observe that the words that were quoted by William A. Cook, were not the sentiments of Borowski.  No, the remarkable thing about Borowski’s book is that he wrote about the good life that he enjoyed at Auschwitz; he mentioned the concerts every Sunday at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the soccer games near the Krema III gas chamber, the boxing matches in the camp, the wedding that took place at Auschwitz, and the road to the Sauna where the prisoners took showers.

The most famous quote from Borowski’s stories is the quote from his short story entitled The People Who Walked On:

Between two throw-ins in a soccer game, right behind my back, three thousand people had been put to death.

In the above quote, Borowski was referring to a transport of 3,000 Hungarian Jews who had been put to death in the gas chambers at Birkenau in 1944.  “The People who walked on” were Jews who walked past the gas chambers and went on to the Sauna where they took a shower. I previously blogged about this here.

While Jews were being gassed to death, only yards from the soccer field, Borowski was playing soccer with a team of inmates against a team of SS men.  Borowski was a hospital orderly; he had taken a training course for this job at Auschwitz.  Did Borowski really believe that Jews were being gassed while he was playing soccer?

This quote, from the book This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, is from the very start of the book, on page 29, after an introduction by someone else:

All of us walk around naked. The delousing is finally over, and our striped suits are back from the tanks of Cyclone B solution, an efficient killer of lice in clothing and of men in gas chambers.

The very first sentence in the book tells how Zyklon-B gas was used to disinfect the clothing of the prisoners as soon as they arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Borowski apparently knew, from the moment that he arrived at Auschwitz, that the same gas that was used to kill the lice that spreads typhus, was also used to kill people in homicidal gas chambers.   The Nazis went to a great deal of trouble to save the prisoners from dying of typhus, while at the same time gassing prisoners to death.  Does this make any sense?

February 5, 2013

the elusive Lt. Heinrich Skodzensky, alleged Commandant of the SS garrison at Dachau

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:12 am

This popular website begins the timeline of the surrender of the Dachau concentration camp with the story of Lt. Heinrich Skodzensky, who surrendered the SS garrison at the Dachau complex on April 29, 1945.  This quote is from the website:

06:00 Waffen SS-Obersturmführer (Lt.) Heinrich Skodzensky, the new, hastily designated Camp Commandant, holds morning roll call for the garrison now guarding Dachau. His roll call tallied 560 men, many of them in hospital. A mere lieutenant had never before commanded the massive concentration camp, but the real SS Commandant, Martin Gottfried Weiss, had “run off” the day before, along with more than a thousand of the Allgemeine and Death’s Head SS guards stationed at the camp prior to the American approach. Skodzensky’s orders were to surrender. (Dachau Archive)

Was there really a man named Heinrich Skodzensky at Dachau when the camp was liberated?  Of course! Several books written by eye-witnesses mention him.  For example, the book entitled The Day of the Americans, written by Nerin E. Gun, a Turkish journalist who was a political prisoner in the camp.

Regarding the liberation of Dachau, Nerin E. Gun  wrote the following about what happened when the Americans reached the gate house into the concentration camp prison compound:

Then came the first American jeeps: a GI got out and opened the gate. Machine-gun fire burst from the center watchtower, the very one which since morning had been flying the white flag! The jeeps turned about and an armored tank came on. With a few bursts, it silenced the fire from the watchtower. The body of an SS man fell off the platform and came crashing loudly to the asphalt of the little square.

Gun wrote that the International Committee of Dachau, headed by Patrick O’Leary, had set up its headquarters at 9 a.m. on April 29th in Block 1, the barracks building that was the closest to the gate house of the prison compound. This was the building that housed the camp library. Gun wrote that Lt. Heinrich Skodzensky had arrived at Dachau on April 27th and on April 29th, the day of the liberation, he had remained in the gate house all that day.

In his book The Day of the Americans, Gun quoted Patrick O’Leary (real name Albert Guérisse) as follows:

“I ascertain that the Americans are now masters of the situation. I go toward the officer who has come down from the tank, introduce myself and he embraces me. He is a major. His uniform is dusty, his shirt, open almost to the navel, is filthy, soaked with sweat, his helmet is on crooked, he is unshaven and his cigarette dangles from the left corner of his lip.

“At this point, the young Teutonic lieutenant, Heinrich Skodzensky, emerges from the guard post and comes to attention before the American officer. The German is blond, handsome, perfumed, his boots glistening, his uniform well-tailored. He reports, as if he were on the military parade grounds near the Unter den Linden during an exercise, then very properly raising his arm he salutes with a very respectful “Heil Hitler!” and clicks his heels.


“Am I dreaming? It seems that I can see before me the striking contrast of a beast and a god. Only that the Boche is the one who looks divine.

(Boche is a French derogatory term for a German person.)


“The major gave an order, the jeep with the young German officer in it went outside the camp again. A few minutes went by, my comrades had not yet dared to come out of their barracks, for at that distance they could not tell the outcome of the negotiations between the American officer and the SS men.

“Then I hear several shots.

“The bastard is dead! the American major says to me.

“He gives some orders, transmitted to the radiomen in the jeeps, and more officers start arriving, newspapermen, little trucks. Now the prisoners have understood, they jump on the Americans, embrace them, kiss their feet, their hands; the celebration is on.”

Did anyone else write about the death of Lt. Heinrich Skodensky?  Of course!  In a book entitled The Day the War Ended, Martin Gilbert wrote the following about the liberation of Dachau, based on the account given by British SOE agent Albert Guérisse who was usng the name Patrick O’Leary in the camp:

As the first American officer, a major, descended from his tank, “the young Teutonic lieutenant, Heinrich Skodzensky,” emerged from the guard post and came to attention before the American officer. The German is blond, handsome, perfumed, his boots glistening, his uniform well-tailored. He reports as if he were on the military parade grounds near Unter den Linden during an exercise, then very properly raising his arm he salutes with a very respectful “Heil Hitler!” and clicks his heels. “I hereby turn over to you the concentration camp of Dachau, 30,000 residents, 2,340 sick, 27,000 on the outside, 560 garrison troops.”

The American major did not return the German Lieutenant’s salute. He hesitates a moment as if he were trying to make sure he is remembering the adequate words. Then he spits into the face of the German, “Du Schweinehund!” And then, “Sit down here” – pointing to the rear seat of one of the jeeps which in the meantime have driven up. The major gave an order, the jeep with the young German officer in it went outside the camp again. A few minutes went by. Then I heard several shots.

Lieutenant Skodzensky was dead. Within an hour, all five hundred of his garrison troops were to be killed, some by the inmates themselves but more than three hundred of them by the American soldiers who had been literally sickened by what they saw of rotting corpses and desperate starving inmates. In one incident, an American lieutenant (1st Lt. Jack Bushyhead) machine gunned 346 of the SS guards after they had surrendered and were lined up against a wall. The lieutenant, who had entered Dachau a few moments earlier, had just seen the corpses of the inmates piled up around the camp crematorium and at the railway station.

Jack Bushyhead had just been given a tour of the crematorium area by Albert Guérisse, aka Patrick O’Leary.

In his book entitled Deliverance Day, Michael Selzer wrote that the American liberators marched 122 SS soldiers, who had surrendered at the Dachau Concentration Camp, to a wall and with their hands up, shot them with machine guns. Included among the 122 SS soldiers was the Commander of the SS garrison, Lt. Heinrich Skodzensky, who had only moments before surrendered the camp to Colonel Jackson of the 45th Thunderbird division, saying in English, “I am the commanding officer of the guard in the camp, and I herewith surrender the camp to your forces.” Skodzensky was shot along with the others, dressed in his immaculate black SS uniform, according to Selzer’s account.

Robert H. Abzug wrote in his book entitled Inside the Vicious Heart that the American soldiers had been enraged by Skodzensky’s clean uniform and shined boots in these squalid surroundings, and that is why he was killed.

Strangely, no records of an SS officer named Skodzensky have ever been found and the story of 122 SS soldiers being shot has never been corroborated by any of the American soldiers who were there. The Dachau Memorial Site has no record of Lt. Heinrich Skodzensky in its archives and there is no record of a man named Heinrich Skodzensky in the Berlin Bundesarchiv.

So was there really a man named Heinrich Skodzensky, who was shot down because his black SS uniform was too clean and his boots were too shiny?  What does Wikipedia have to say about it?

This quote is from the German Wikipedia:  “Ein Mann mit diesem Namen [Skodzensky] konnte jedoch nie ermittelt werden, vermutlich ist er identisch mit Heinrich Wicker.”  With my limited knowledge of the German language, I think that German Wikipedia is saying that the man who surrendered the camp was named Heinrich Wicker.

I have written extensively about the surrender of the Dachau camp to Heinrich Wicker.  You can read it in full at

You can read more about Heinrich Wicker at

So what actually happened on April 29, 1945, the day that the Dachau camp was liberated?

Dachau was mainly a camp for Communist political prisoners and anti-Fascist resistance fighters who had been captured in the Nazi-occupied countries. On the day of the famous liberation of Dachau, the political prisoners were in control of the concentration camp. The camp Commandant, Wilhelm Eduard Weiter, had left the camp on April 26, 1945, along with a transport of prisoners who were being evacuated to Schloss Itter, a subcamp of Dachau in Austria. Former Commandant Martin Gottfried Weiss was in charge of the camp for two days until he fled, along with most of the regular guards, on the night of April 28, 1945.

Before he left, Weiss had turned the camp over to the International Committee of Dachau, an organization of prisoners inside the camp. Albert Guérisse, a British SOE agent from Belgium, who was hiding his identity by using the name Patrick O’Leary was the head of the International Committee.  Albert Guérisse was one of five British SOE agents who had survived the Nazi concentration camps at Mauthausen in Austria and Natzweiler in Alsace before being transferred to Dachau.

After the 45th Division soldiers had left the Dachau SS garrison and proceeded to the concentration camp, Guérisse greeted Lt. William P. Walsh and 1st Lt. Jack Bushyhead of the 45th Infantry Division at the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate.  He took them on a tour of the camp, showing them the gas chamber and the ovens in the crematorium.  At this time, the Dachau massacre had already happened.  It was the “Death Train” which triggered the massacre, not the gas chamber or the bodies in the crematorium.

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