Scrapbookpages Blog

April 28, 2013

April 29, 1945 — the day that the Dachau concentration camp was liberated — stories of two survivors

Belief in the “death march” as a means of killing Jews is required in the Holocaustianity religion, so don’t even think of denying this, unless you want your future career to be permanently vitiated.

Death march OUT of Dachau in the last days of World War II

Death march OUT of Dachau in the last days of World War II

The photo above shows Jews being marched OUT of Dachau in order to prevent them from attacking civilians, since they would soon be liberated from Dachau.  Sorry, but I don’t have any photos that show a death march TO Dachau.

In his best-selling book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen wrote this on page 367 in Chapter 14, entitled “Marching to What End?”

Finally, the fidelity of the Germans to their genocidal enterprise was so great as seeming to defy comprehension. Their world was disintegrating around them, yet they persisted in genocidal killing until the end.

Goldhagen was referring to the death marches out of Auschwitz in the final days of the war, but this definition also applies to another death march out of Auschwitz, which began in July 1944 and ended at Dachau on August 6, 1944.

Two of the famous survivors of this death march were Max Mannheimer and Sol Teichman.

This quote is from an article which you can read in full here:

One of my closest friends here in Los Angeles is Mr. Sol Teichman, a prominent citizen, businessman, philanthropist, and a Holocaust survivor.

Born on September 9, 1927, in the Hungarian town of Munkacs, Sol’s family were (sic) prominent and prosperous grain, bean and walnut merchants. The family lived in a lovely home in a quiet cul-de-sac and were known in the tight-knit Jewish community for their piety, charity, and close ties to the Belzer and Munkacs Hasidic dynasties.

Of course, the Nazi death grip descended on the Jews of Hungary, and by 1943, the Teichman home and business had been confiscated. The Jews of Munkacs were cruelly herded into a ghetto and then shipped in cattle cars to Auschwitz.

Sol, 17 years old, and his brother Steve, 14, survived the death camp, only to be sent on a death march to Dachau in August 1944.

This quote is from this website:

Shortly after Sol’s Bar Mitzvah in 1940, his father was taken away to a Hungarian labor camp. On the second day of Passover,1944, all the Jews of Munkacz were given one hour to vacate their homes and were herded into ghettos.

In June, they were transported to Auschwitz. That was the last time that Sol Teichman saw his mother, sister and three of his brothers. […]  As the end of the war approached, the Nazis forced many of their Jewish prisoners to participate in their infamous death march to Dachau. Sol and his brother Steve began the march. But Steve’s strength gave out so Sol carried him for the rest of the journey. Of the 6,000 who started the march, only about 600 survived, Sol and his brother among them.

This quote about Max Mannheimer is from Wikipedia:

In October 1943, Mannheimer and his younger brother, Edger were sent to the Warsaw Ghetto to clear rubble.[4] In July 1944, he was sent on a death march to Dachau, arriving on August 6, 1944. After three weeks in quarantine, he was sent to Allach, a Dachau subcamp where he worked at a BMW factory. At the beginning of 1945, he and his brother were sent to Mühldorf subcamp, which was evacuated by train on April 28, 1945. The train was liberated by American troops on April 30, 1945 in Seeshaupt. In the end, only Mannheimer and his brother Edgar survived.[1][3]

Now for Sol Teichman’s story, which is a real tear-jerker:

Quoted from this website:

Here is an excerpt from Sol’s privately printed memoir, The Long Journey Home, in which he describes hell on earth.

The Crimson Lake

It was a death march, and I was terrified at each and every step. My body was convulsed with excruciating muscle spasms. Everywhere was the sharp crack of rifle fire as the Germans picked off one Jew after another. Was I going to be murdered next?  I had no idea where we were going or for how long we were going to march. Would we be on this road for one day, two days, a week, a month, or did the Germans plan on marching us until we were all dead? Not knowing was torture, just as the Germans planned.

If a prisoner tried to step aside to relieve himself, he was shot, bayoneted or beaten to death with the heavy butt of a rifle.

On the first night of the march my brother Steve lost heart.

“I don’t want to go on. I don’t want to live,” he said.

I looked at my brother and I knew in the depths of my soul that there was no choice. And so, though Steve was bigger and heavier than me, I leaned over, draped him over my back and carried my brother.

All I could do was place one foot in front of the other, one breath and then another.

We marched for days and nights without food or water. The heat was unbearable. My bones felt crushed, pulverized. Every breath was torture, my lungs felt as if they were exploding from unbearable pressure. But I knew that if I stopped, if I collapsed, the Germans would shoot us, beat us to death, or let their attack dogs rip us from limb to limb. And so I staggered onward.

One day, in the distance, we spied a lake.  I think it was T’sha B’Av night. Many of the men on the march started running towards the water, desperate to get a drink of water. As I staggered closer to the lake I saw that the water was a strange color.

And then I realized that the lake was red.

The Germans were shooting hundreds of Jews by the shores of the lake—and the water turned to blood.

We stood and stared at the crimson lake. I could not, would not, drink the bloody water.

We lay down, tried to sleep, and then in the middle of the night a tremendous thunderstorm exploded. Rain poured from the sky.

I stood in the middle of the field, opened my mouth and savored the sharp needles of rain dripping down my throat. The thunderstorm was miraculous and provided just enough water to relieve my overwhelming thirst.

Shivering in the rain and mud, I snatched bits of fitful sleep.

In the middle of the night I awoke and watched in dismay as starved prisoners, crazed by empty bellies, shoved tufts of grass—black dirt clinging to the roots—into their mouths, chewed and swallowed.

In the inky darkness, someone whispered that nearby was a meadow filled with wild potatoes. Steve wanted to sneak into the field and eat the raw potatoes, but I wouldn’t let him. I knew that they would make us sick. Taking advantage of the night because the German guards couldn’t see what was going on, some Jews did sneak off and pick the potatoes. They devoured the raw potatoes in quick, starving bites. But soon they doubled over with agonizing cramps and diarrhea, and then, a few hours later, they died. Those who didn’t die, those who were too sick to move, were shot to death by the Germans.

Later, I discovered that, carrying Steve on my back, I had marched for four days and covered approximately seventy miles. But at the time, not knowing how long or how far I traveled, time seemed to vanish and distances seemed endless as I pushed onward, day after day under the oppressive heat, my back bent like a bow. My throat was parched from thirst; the sun beat down and my skin was burned raw. I was dizzy from exhaustion, hunger and fear. Every bone in my body was throbbing. I felt like a marching skeleton. Thousands were murdered along that road. My fellow Jewish prisoners were beaten to death with wooden clubs and iron bars. Some Jews welcomed death for life had become endless torture, unendurable.

Four uncles and several cousins died on this death march.

In a daze, I realized that we had reached a valley. There we camped for the night. The next day we continued a short distance to a railhead and were loaded on cattle cars bound for Dachau.

When we started the march we were about 6,000 Jews, arriving at Dachau there were only about 600 survivors.

You can see color photos of the survivors of Dachau on this website.

Grandson of a Nazi war criminal takes a tour of the Dachau Memorial Site

A very interesting article about Dachau, written fairly recently, by Jeaneane Payne, can be read here on the online Knoxville Daily Sun.  One surprising fact that I learned from this article is the information in this quote:

“Germans today prefer to use the term ‘death camps’ as opposed to concentration camps because the only purpose of the camps was to kill people in an industrialized way,” stated [the grandson of an SS man]. […]

[This young man’s] grandfather was a Nazi war criminal, an SS agent stationed at Dachau. As I was planning my trip to Germany to visit my daughter and son-in-law, [he] asked if he could travel to Dachau from Southwest Germany with us. […]

His grandfather was a volunteer in the SS. “He was proud of his involvement with the SS,” [his grandson] said. “He never showed remorse for his actions.”

After the war, the SS was declared to be a criminal organization by the Allies at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, so every man in the SS was a war criminal, regardless of his behavior during World War II.  You can read about it on this website.  The grandfather of this young man could have personally saved the lives of many Jews at Dachau, yet he would still have been a war criminal simply because he was in a military unit that had been declared (ex-post-facto) by the enemy to be a criminal organization.

This quote is from the article by Ms. Payne:

After touring the main facilities, we decided to go as a group to visit the crematorium knowing this would be the most difficult part for each of us, particularly for [the grandson of an SS man] who knew his grandfather had a part in the effort by the SS of placing so many innocent people in the ovens.

The crematorium had been built at the backside of the camp, out of view and out of hearing range of the screams of many thousands of people as they were being place[d] into the ovens. It was adjacent to the gas chamber which had been disguised as “showers”.

Cremation ovens at Dachau concentration camp

Cremation ovens at Dachau concentration camp

View of the inside of one of the Dachau ovens

View of the inside of one of the Dachau ovens

Dr. Francizek Blaha was a prisoner, who worked at the Dachau crematorium, performing autopsies. The following quote is from the affidavit of Dr. Blaha, given to American interrogators on 3 May 1945, and presented at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal in November 1945:

Sometimes prisoners were killed only because they had dysentery or vomited and gave the nurses too much trouble. Mental patients were liquidated by being led to the gas chamber and injected there or shot. Shooting was a common method of execution. Prisoners could be shot just outside the crematorium and carried in. I have seen people pushed into the ovens while they were still breathing and making sounds, although if they were too much alive they were usually hit on the head first.

Could this be the origin of the claim that prisoners were burned alive in the ovens at Dachau?  Are tour guides now telling visitors that people were burned alive at Dachau?

According to Marcus J. Smith, a U.S. Army doctor, who wrote a book called The Harrowing of Hell about the days immediately following the liberation of the camp, the ovens at Dachau were used by the American military to cremate the bodies found in the camp, including the bodies of some of the Waffen-SS soldiers who were killed when the camp was liberated.

Smith wrote that, around May 6, 1945, the disposal of the bodies in the camp began:

It is time to dispose of the bodies. Some are carried to the gravel pits. Then the furnaces of the crematorium are stoked and reignited. By increasing the work day for the operators from four to ten hours, 710 corpses are cremated in the next four days. Too slow! A top-level decision is made to bury the dead.

Dachau prisoners who loaded the dead bodies into the ovens pose for a photo

Dachau prisoners who loaded the dead bodies into the ovens pose for a photo

The old photo above show crematory workers demonstrating how they dragged the dead bodies out of the morgue, loaded them onto a stretcher and then shoved them into the cremation ovens. Posed photographs, such as the photo shown above, were offered for sale to American soldiers who visited the museum set up in Baracke X by the US Army after the liberation of Dachau.

According to Marcus J. Smith, the chief of the Dachau crematorium crew was Ludvik “a heavy, powerfully muscled Czech who has labored in the crematorium for a long time.” Smith wrote that Ludvik sent him a letter in which he complained that his team of 10 people were not being treated as well as they had been by the SS. Ludvik wrote in this letter: “We feel that after our liberation, at least the same standard of living should be maintained. But our position is worse than then as to food, drinks and tobacco.”

Could it be that Ludvik and his fellow prisoners shoved Jews into the ovens alive?  Or did the SS men come into the crematorium at night and burn a few Jews alive, just for fun?  Is this why the SS was declared to be a criminal organization by the Allies ex post facto (after the fact)?  The grandsons of the SS men should not be tortured by being told that SS men burned people alive in the ovens at Dachau.  For shame!

Smith wrote that, because the cremation efforts were too slow, the bodies were buried by German civilians “at the American commander’s request.” The corpses were taken on carts to the burial site on a hill called Leitenberg where the bodies were transferred to a bulldozed excavation, according to Smith. He wrote that “Eventually 2,400 bodies were buried.” That would mean that there was a total of 3,110 bodies in the camp, including those of the prisoners who died between April 29th and May 6th after the liberation. There were allegedly 2,310 bodies on the death train that arrived in the camp on April 27, 1945, which would have to be included in this total. There were 2,226 prisoners who died in the month of May 1945 after the liberation of the camp; they were buried in a cemetery in the town of Dachau.

Photo of the body of Louis Schloss, who died at Dachau

Photo of the body of Louis Schloss, who died at Dachau

Ms. Payne shows a photo of Louis Schloss, a prisoner who died after being punished at Dachau with this caption under the photo:

Nurembourg (sic) businessman Louis Schloss died on May 16, 1933 at Dachau as a result of a beating. To give the incident the appearance of a suicide, he was hung on a hook with suspenders. The above image was taken on May 17, 1933 under the direction of the State Prosecution Office.

It is true that Louis Schloss died in the Dachau camp after being beaten.  Here is what happened:  When the Dachau camp was first opened on March 22, 1933, the guards were police officers with the Munich police, but after only a few weeks, SS soldiers were assigned to guard duty in the camp.

The first Commandant of Dachau was SS Standartenführer Hilmar Wäckerle, who began using that title on April 19, 1933. Wäckerle was instructed by Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS and the acting Police Chief of Munich, to draw up a set of rules for discipline in the camp. His rules were extremely harsh and a number of prisoners died after being punished.

The deaths in the Dachau camp came to the attention of the Munich prosecutor after Sophie Handschuch made a formal complaint in 1933, demanding to know the true cause of death of her son who had been an inmate at Dachau. Other prisoners who died in the early days of the camp were Dr. Rudolf Benario, Fritz Dressel, Sepp Götz, Ernst Goldmann, Arthur Kahn, and Erwin Kahn. Karl Lehrburger and Wilhelm Aron, both Jewish, also died as a result of harsh treatment in the Dachau camp. Herbert Hunglinge committed suicide to escape the unbearable conditions in the camp.

After an investigation by the Munich police, Wäckerle was charged with murder for the deaths of Louis Schloss on May 16, Leonard Hausmann on May 17, Dr. Alfred Strauss on May 24 and Sebastian Nefzger on May 25. Dr. Strauss and Louis Schloss were both Jewish. Because of the criminal charges, Himmler was forced to relieve Wäckerle of his command, as of June 25, 1933. The charges against Wäckerle were later dropped, but he was dismissed from his job as Commandant and sent to fight on the Eastern front, where he was killed in action. Wäckerle was replaced by Theodor Eicke who became the new Commandant. Eicke was also killed in action after he was transferred to the Eastern front.

In June 1934, Eicke was given the title of Inspector General and the authority to approve all punishments in all the camps.

The following quote is from the article written by Ms. Payne:

Pole hanging was a method of torture used in interrogation as well as punishment. Victims were hung up by their wrists, swung back and forth, and beaten.

“These are the torments of hell! The whole body weight hangs from the arms that are twisted backward. And the monsters stand in front of you and laugh at your pain, ask you whether you now want to confess, slap you in the face and pull and tug at your body. When you stay silent they swing you, often they whip you at the same time.” — “The Powerful and the Helpless,” prisoner account of Edgar Kupfer-Koberwitz (1940-1945 in the Dachau concentration camp) on pole hanging, 1957 (excerpt).

Fake photo of "tree hanging" is a still shot from a documentary made by the Soviet Union

Fake photo of “tree hanging” is a still shot from a documentary made by the Soviet Union

Pole hanging was also called “tree hanging.”  I previously blogged about pole hanging here.  The photo shown above was taken in the second Dachau Museum, which first opened in 1965.  When the Museum was expanded in 2003, this photo was removed.  Although it was known that this was a fake photo, it was left up in the Dachau Museum for several years.
This quote is also from the article by Ms. Payne, which shows a photo of a door into a prison cell in the Dachau bunker:

During the 5 hours we spent at Dachau, the most difficult for me was viewing the prison cells. The walk down a long corridor portrayed each cell as being more deplorable than that the last.

Apparently, Ms. Payne was not told that the bunker had private cells for the privileged prisoners who were allowed to walk around around outside their cells and even to receive visitors.  There was one wing of the bunker, that has since been torn down, which housed the SS men who had broken the rules.  The night before the Dachau camp was liberated, 128 SS men were released from their prison cells in the bunker and ordered to man the guard towers, while the regular SS guards  left that night.

After Dachau was liberated, it was turned into “War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 for German war criminals”.  The cells in the bunker were used to incarcerate high ranking German prisoners. The Germans didn’t get a private cell; 5 men were placed in each cell where there was only one bed.  They had to take turns standing, sitting and sleeping.

Ms. Payne shows a photo of one of the disinfection cells with the caption “Gas chamber.”  At least, she got that right.  A disinfection cell at Dachau was called a Gaskammer or “gas chamber” in English.

Photo of disinfection cell with the caption "Gas chamber"

Photo of disinfection cell with the caption “Gas chamber”