Scrapbookpages Blog

March 24, 2013

Mietek Grocher, the man who walked backwards out of a gas chamber and survived

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 1:34 pm

Mietek Grocher has an entry in Wikipedia, which you can read in full here.  This quote is from Wikipedia:

Mietek Grocher is a Polish Jewish author and speaker who survived The Holocaust. Grocher recounts the events in his 1996 book Jag överlevde (English translation: I survived).

Grocher was born in 1926 in Warsaw, Poland and lived with his family in the Warsaw Ghetto. As a teenager during World War II, Grocher survived the gas chamber and nine concentration camps including Buchenwald and Majdanek. He was the only member of his family to survive. […] He also survived the Majdanek gas chambers. He realized he was actually in a gas chamber and began walking backwards. The guard guarding the gas chambers was in a conversation with another guard so Grocher escaped and found his father.

When I visited the Majdanek death camp in 1998, the Majdanek Memorial Site was telling visitors that there were 5 gas chambers at Majdanek, including 4 that were in Building 41 near the entrance into the camp.  Now the number of gas chambers at Majdanek has been reduced to only 2, which are both in Building 41.

Building #41 is on the right. Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

Building #41 is on the right. Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

Could it be that Mietek Grocher walked backwards out of one of the gas chambers that is no longer claimed to have been a gas chamber?  The photo above shows Building #41 which was claimed to have four gas chambers in 1998, but that has changed now, so that there were only 2 gas chambers in Building #41.  Note the buildings in the background.  The Majdanek gas chambers were very near a major road; the Majdanek Memorial Site is now within the city limits of Lublin, Poland.

You can read a newspaper article about Mietek Grocher here.  This quote is from the article:

Mietek Grocher managed to escape from a gas chamber in Maidanek in 1943, when he was sixteen years old.

Wait a minute!  He was sent to the gas chamber at the age of 16?  Was he small for his age, and the Nazis didn’t know that he was over the age of 15?  Only Jews under the age of 15 or over the age of 35 were gassed.  What about his parents?  Were they under the age of 35 and exempt from the gas chamber?  The quote from the article continues:

– When I was in there I knew what awaited me and the rest of the space. Instinctively, I started to back off a little backwards, without any real thought that I could get away. […]

– But by chance, I managed to do it. An officer started talking to another officer and took a few steps away. In that moment, I managed to slip away to eventually join my parents in the camp.

Mietek says that the officer obviously had the opportunity to catch up with him – but he dared not do so, for then he would have been accused of misconduct in office and had suffered really bad.

So his parents were obviously under the age of 35, or they would have been in the gas chamber with him.

My theory is that Mietek was not in a gas chamber at all, but in one of the rooms that is no longer claimed to be a gas chamber.  Mietek was INSIDE an alleged gas chamber and there were allegedly two SS officers inside the gas chamber with him.  The SS men did not go inside the gas chamber with the victims.  This would have been too dangerous.  What if someone had dropped the Zyklon-B pellets into the gas chamber while the SS men were inside?  This would have been a disaster.  Surely, the Nazis were not that careless when they gassed the Jews at Majdanek.

The photo below shows the main gas chamber in Building 41.  This gas chamber was the one that was used most often, as evidenced by the blue stains caused by the use of Zyklon-B gas.  Is this the gas chamber that Mietek walked backwards out of?

The main gas chamber in Building 41  Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

The main gas chamber in Building 41 Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

The photo above shows the gas chamber in Building 41 at Majdanek which is most often photographed because it has the heaviest blue stains, indicating the frequent use of Zyklon-B gas.  The door in the photo is the exit to the outside of the building.  Did Mitek walk backwards out the back door?

The back door into the gas chamber in Building 41 is on the right Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

The back door into the gas chamber in Building 41 is on the right Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

The photo above show the rear of Building 41.  The gas chamber with the heavy blue stains was in the brick annex to the building, shown in the foreground.  The door on the right is the back door into the gas chamber.  On the left, you can see the part of the building that is made of wood; in this part of the building was an undressing room and a shower room.  Does this remind you of Dachau, which also had an undressing room and a shower room in the same building with four disinfection chambers for clothing?  I predict that, soon, the whole gas chamber story at Majdanek will drop by the wayside.

The gas chamber with the heavy blue stains, in the photo above, is right next to the gas chamber with a glass window, which is no longer claimed to be a gas chamber, but a disinfection chamber. Zyklon-B was obviously used in the gas chamber with the window because it also shows blue stains.  However, so many people, including me, have made fun of the gas chamber with a window that it has now been downgraded to a clothing disinfection chamber.

The photo below shows the roof of the gas chamber that has heavy blue stains.

Roof of the gas chamber at Majdanek has no holes. Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

Roof of the gas chamber at Majdanek has no holes. Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

Note that there are no holes in the roof for pouring in the Zyklon-B pellets.  What?  No holes?  Did the SS men just throw the Zyklon-B pellets onto the floor of a homicidal gas chamber?  That would have been stupid because it would have been hard to retrieve the pellets, to be used again, when they were mixed with the bodily fluids from the victims who died in this chamber.  This is a clue that the main gas chamber at Majdanek may have been a disinfection chamber for clothing.

When I visited Majdanek in 1998, there was a sign that said that the victims had to take a shower before entering the gas chamber in order to warm up their bodies so that the gas would work faster.  I suspect that this stupid sign is now gone because it caused so much laughter among the tourists. Did Mietek somehow wander out of the shower room and take a wrong turn into a clothing disinfection chamber where he backed out just in time before the Zyklon-B pellets could release the poison gas?

The photo below shows the door into the gas chamber with the heavy blue stains.  Note that there is a glass door.  This door was not there when I visited in 1998, but my tour guide would not let me enter the gas chamber; she hustled me out as fast as she could.  Note the wooden boards over the concrete floor.  The door to the gas chamber is in a room next to the shower room.

Peephole into the gas chamber with the heavy blue stains. Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

Glass door into the gas chamber with the heavy blue stains. Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

The photo below shows the peephole in the door shown in the photo above.  Note that the glass in the peephole is on the inside of the door, where it could easily have been broken by the victims inside.  Why would the Nazis have put the glass on the inside?  Was it because they thought that an SS man might become trapped inside and would have had to break the glass to save his life?

Peephole into the gas chamber with the heavy blue stains. Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

Peephole into the gas chamber with the heavy blue stains. Photo Credit: The Black Rabbit of Inlé

The fact that the glass is on the inside of the door has been used by Holocaust deniers to claim that this could not have been a homicidal gas chamber.  That is not a valid claim.  The victims were unclothed when they were shoved inside this gas chamber after first taking a shower.  They would not have had anything that would break glass on their person.  However, an SS man who had been trapped inside the gas chamber, by accident, would have had something that could break glass.  I am sure that the SS men were smart enough to have been prepared before entering a gas chamber.

So why has the number of gas chambers at Majdanek been downgraded?  I think it is because the number of Jews who died at Majdanek has recently been lowered to just 59,000.  Assuming that some of the deaths were caused by typhus or other diseases, that leaves around 50,000 Jews who could have been gassed at Majdanek.  Five gas chambers would have been too many if only 50,000 Jews were gassed.

With respect to the gas chambers of the Holocaust, if Majdanek goes, can Auschwitz be far behind?