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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?


  1. Tadeusz Borowski was a Communist and a purported suicide by gas. His book This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen is fiction yet it’s often referenced by Holocaust scholars and the media as a non-fiction survivor’s eyewitness account of the “Final Solution.” Borowski’s Italian counterpart who also helped popularize Nazi atrocity fiction is Curzio Malaparte whose book Kaputt is also cited as fact by writers who should know better. Malaparte was also a Communist. I’ve asked Poles why Tadeusz Borowski stuck his head in an oven at the height of his literary popularity and they can’t tell me. There isn’t much information about his life in English and I don’t read Polish so the
    man remains a mystery to me. Was the movie The Grey Zone inspired by his short story about the the sonderkommandos? BTW wasn’t a tin can with a written testament to the gassings signed by some sonderkommandos found buried at Auschwitz? Where’s is this can and it’s contents today?

    Comment by who+dares+wings — February 18, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    • I think that Borowski’s suicide was caused by his being manic-depressive. People who are manic-depressive are frequently very creative. I don’t think that his suicide had anything to do with what he experienced at Auschwitz.

      Comment by furtherglory — February 18, 2013 @ 9:31 am

  2. interesting interview from ” bomber” Harris. his directive it seems was not to bomb any particular site but just flatten the cities; He might be accused of revisionism!

    Comment by Pete — February 10, 2013 @ 11:08 am

  3. “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?”

    Did anything the Nazis did ever make any sense? Did the plundering of Europe make any sense? Or didn’t they do that as well? Any WWII deniers here also?

    Comment by mogsey — February 9, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    • Did anything the Survivors told ever make any sense?

      Comment by Eager For Answers — February 9, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

    • I am often amazed by the views and what is written,(often rather naive) specially by the younger generation in their comments when replying to some blogs or that of their own, that makes butter go sour, how stupid and ‘nutty’ the Nazis were, yet they did run structurally a very efficient system in their attempt to shape a new world order no matter how brutal their ideology was enforced, I lived and grew up under the regime as a youngster, although I had a liberal upbringing. Germany marked the 80th anniversary on 30 January 2013 of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power with a warning from Chancellor Angela Merkel that social divisions could allow far-right tyranny to rise again. I have outlined how the system worked in general brief terms for further study and reading at your convenience: Facts and Figures-Auschwitz

      Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — February 9, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

      • I tried to leave this comment today at your “outline” on how the Hitler system worked, but my comment was repeatedly rejected with the warning “URL contains illegal characters.” So I posted it at The White Network, … scroll down to bottom. I will also copy it here, since Herb is touting this particular blog entry of his. From Carolyn:

        This is a huge amount of information you have posted here under the heading FACTS AND FIGURES – AUSCHWITZ

        But where do your ‘facts’ come from? You begin with this web site: under INTRODUCTION AND PLAN
        Within all the text, there is not a single source given for the “facts and figures” therein. Without that, what you write is not reliable; why should anyone believe it?

        Further down, we come upon another link you give for FATE OF CIVILIAN BUNA MANAGEMENT The I.G. Farben Trial,

        Finally, you offer the “remember” web site again with a link under a section headed MEN’S CAMP (B Ib AND B IIb) BIRKENAU:

        Following this is still tons of text with no source for any of it. You obviously have the idea that “blogging” means you give your opinion and say whatever you want – even when dealing with historical subjects over which people GO TO PRISON! You are around 85 years old but seem not to care that you are being extremely irresponsible. You call this “your hobby.”

        In addition you use photos irresponsibly. Just one example, under the section THIERENSTADT FAMILY CAMP, you label a picture of a train on a platform with a few men in suits calmly shaking hands with persons inside the train as “Departure of a train of German Jews being deported to Theresienstadt. Hanau, Germany, May 30, 1942.” This could be any train at any train station.

        A second example is a picture that is a well-known fake/forgery: “Sonderkommando burning corpses” under the heading SURVIVAL. Close inspection reveals the “corpses” to be drawings of shapes without any anatomical likeness to human beings. This is a photo composite made from something being burned, but it wasn’t people – maybe clothing or refuse. Above this photo forgery the text reads:
        “The fate of the prisoners in the Sonderkommando was unimaginable in the face of daily horrors at Auschwitz. Upon their arrival, young, strong men would be selected and were assigned to bring the victims out of the gas chambers and have them cremated after the removal of hair, the hidden jewellery and removal of gold teeth, dragged them into the crematory ovens or stacked them on pyres. They lived away from the other prisoners and were well fed and cared for, even provided with alcohol, up to the stage, before they were murdered themselves, as they knew too much and replaced by new workers.”
        Below the picture it says: “Thus, the image is composed of the “Privileged” in Auschwitz from many facets. Because in addition to corruption, selfishness and cruelty, there was also this group of prisoners that showed empathy and humanity. The reports of the survivors of Auschwitz runs like a red thread through their internment that they have survived thanks to the help of fellow inmates. What percentage of prisoners existed, who used their pre-eminence for the good and sometimes jeopardising their own lives to save their fellow prisoners can not be determined. Nor can the number of Auschwitz ‘celebrity’ figures who survived the death camp and the evacuation of Auschwitz and the months until liberation who now live in other countries be counted.”
        What fantasy. And not a word about the photo – it’s left to your reader’s imagination to interpret it as sondercommandos burning corpses that were simply laying on the ground.

        You should correct your errors (although they are multitudinous) or don’t expect anyone to take you seriously.

        Comment by Carolyn Yeager — February 22, 2013 @ 10:09 am

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