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May 30, 2013

Rudolf Kasztner, the man who saved Hungarian Jews, but couldn’t win for losing

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:58 am

You can read about the sad case of Rudolf Kaszter in this article:  The Jewish Chronicle – Tragic ghost of Holocaust continues to haunt

It’s complicated, to say the least.  The story might be easier to understand if you read this blog post.

I wrote about the Hungarian Jews at Bergen-Belsen on my website here.  I previously blogged about Kurt Becher, a German who was involved in saving the Hungarian Jews, on a blog post that you can read here.

There is one part of the article in The Jewish Chronicle that I don’t believe is correct.  It is contained in this quote:

And in early April 1945, Kasztner accompanied Becher to Bergen-Belsen where Becher literally compelled SS Commandant Josef Kramer to hand that camp over to the British rather than simply killing all its remaining inmates.

This quote from the article in the Jewish Chronicle tells the story:

Consider the tragic case of Rezao, or Rudolf, Kasztner, who negotiated with Adolf Eichmann and other senior SS officers in Budapest in 1944 to try to save at lease some Hungarian Jews from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  […]

Kasztner, a Zionist journalist from the Transylvanian city of Cluj, was the most prominent member of what was called the Jewish Aid and Rescue Committee.  It must be emphasized that he did not belong to any official body designated or appointed by the Germans.  As it happened, there were Nazis in Budapest in 1944 who, for reasons of their own, were willing to engage in negotiations to barter some Jews — a minimal amount to be sure — for cash, trucks, and/or other critically needed consumer goods.

To make a long and extremely complex story short, Kasztner bargained for the lives of more than 1,600 Jews at a cost of $1,000 a head.  On June 30, 1944, they left Budapest on a train supposedly bound for freedom.  […]

At trial in Jerusalem District Court, Kasztner was denounced for failing to warn the doomed Jews of Hungary of what he knew to be their fate, thereby not giving them the opportunity to try to save themselves.  Moreover, the charge that he was an accomplice of the Germans was intensified by the revelation that he had given testimony after the war on behalf of some of the SS men such as the aforementioned Becher with whom he had, depending on one’s perspective, either worked or collaborated. Following a lengthy, highly sensational trial, Judge Benyamin Halevy found for the defendant in the civil defamation case, concluding famously that Kasztner had “sold his soul to the devil.”

Kasztner, who had been responsible for saving literally thousands of Jews, now became a virtual pariah in Israeli society.  By the time the Israel Supreme Court reversed Halevy’s verdict in January of 1958, Kasztner had been assassinated in front of his home.

The way I heard it is that Heinrich Himmler was negotiating with the British to take over the Bergen-Belsen camp for weeks before the British soldiers arrived to “liberate” the camp.  That was the story that was being told at the Belsen Memorial Site when I visited it several years ago.  Josef Kramer stayed in the camp and met the liberators at the entrance into the camp, offering to help with the typhus epidemic that was killing thousands of prisoners in the camp.  He would not have stayed in the camp if he had been making plans to kill the remaining inmates.

May 29, 2013

Holocaust survivor was saved from the gas chamber when she traded places with a twin who was in line ahead of her…

According to a news article entitled Elderly Survivors Win New Benefits which you can read in full here, a Holocaust survivor told this story of how she survived the selection for the gas chamber:

The woman, who was seated in a chair at a day care center in B’nai B’rak, told the delegation that ahead of her on the selection line [at Auschwitz-Birkenau] were a set of twins. One was sent to the right — which turned out to be the gas chamber — and the other to the left, for work. The woman said she was next in line and was ordered to the right.

“But the twins were inconsolable about being separated and pleaded with her to switch so that they could stay together,” Schneider said. “So she switched places and instead of going to the gas chamber, she went to the work camp and the twins were sent to the gas chamber. Hearing her story was a very dramatic, emotional moment for the German delegation.”

This must have been the one day that Dr. Josef Mengele was not doing the selections for the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  He would never have gassed a set of twins.  As every Holocaust believer knows, Dr. Mengele would have saved the twins for his experiments on hereditary conditions.  And Dr. Mengele would have sent the Jews to the LEFT for the gas chamber, not to the right.  Thousands of Holocaust survivors have testified that the Jews, who were sent to the left, were gassed.

The woman who claimed that she was saved from the gas chamber, when she was sent to the LEFT, was speaking to a delegation of Jews from a Claims Conference, which was extorting more money from the Germans.  I previously blogged about the reparations that Germany has paid to the Jews at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/germany-has-paid-89-billion-in-reparations-to-the-jews-and-there-is-more-to-come/

According to the news article:  Despite questions on Claims Conference fraud investigation, Germans approve $1 billion — largest amount ever — for seniors’ home care.

In other words, the German government has approved $1 billion to be given to Holocaust survivors who were children at the time that they were not gassed.  This is after the Jews perpetrated a $57.3 million fraud against the Claims Conference, taking money that Germany had given to Holocaust survivors.

This quote is from the news article:

…. last week’s agreement comes in the wake of the successful prosecution of all 31 people arrested and convicted in the $57.3 million fraud perpetrated against the Claims Conference. No survivors’ money was lost in the scam, which involved Claims Conference employees fabricating claims that were paid by the German government over the course of some 15 years.

Eizenstat said the German government had been “informed of the fraud for years and insisted on additional auditing when the revelations first broke. The fact that the trial is now over [for the three defendants who pleaded not guilty] and that they have been found guilty was satisfying to them. It shows that the justice system here works.”

So 68 years after the Holocaust, Germany is still paying reparations to the Jews and supporting elderly Jewish survivors, who were mistakenly not gassed.  And this in spite of massive fraud perpetrated by the Jews.

How long will the German people go on paying billions to the Jews?  Until the end of time!  After all the survivors of the gas chamber are gone, the children of the survivors will continue to collect money from Germany while they continue to spew hatred of the German people.

May 28, 2013

the train station for Theresienstadt was at Bauschowitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:45 am

I read in a news article today that Claude Lanzmann’s new documentary The Last of the Unjust mentions the train station where Jews got off for the Theresienstadt ghetto. What train station?

Theresienstadt, now known as Terezin, is a tiny 18th-century walled town which is located on the main road that connects the German city of Dresden with Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic.  This is the place that the Germans turned into the Theresienstadt Ghetto, where Jews were imprisoned during World War II.

The train station for Theresienstadt was at Bauschowitz

The train station for Theresienstadt was at Bauschowitz (Bohusovice)

On one of my bus trips to Terezin, the Czech town where the Theresienstadt ghetto was formerly located, our bus passed through Bohusovice, (Bauschowitz), the village where the Jews had to get off the train and walk to the Theresienstadt ghetto, carrying their bundles.

Later, a branch railroad line to the Theresienstadt ghetto was constructed by the Nazis, using the labor of the Jewish inmates of the ghetto.  However, there is no train station inside the present town of Terazin.

Jews carrying their luggage from train station to Theresienstadt ghetto

Jews carrying their luggage from Bauschowitz train station to Theresienstadt ghetto

This quote from this website describes the arrival of the Jews at the Bauschowitz (Bohusovice) train station:

These Jews were crammed in cattle cars with little or no water, food, or sanitation. The trains unloaded at Bohusovice, the nearest train station to Theresienstadt, approximately 2 km away. The deportees were then forced to disembark and march the rest of the way to Theresienstadt – carrying all of their luggage. Once the deportees reached Theresienstadt, they went to the checking point (called “floodgate” or “Schleuse” in camp slang). The deportees then had their personal information written down and placed in an index. Then, they were searched. Most especially, the Nazis or Czech gendarmes were looking for jewelry, money, cigarettes, as well as other items not allowed in the camp such as hot plates and cosmetics. During this initial process, the deportees were assigned to their “housing.”

Each train transport to the Theresienstadt ghetto consisted of around 1,000 Jews. Upon arrival at the ghetto, the Jews went through a checkpoint, which was called “die Schleuse”, which means the lock, as in a lock on a canal.

You can see the location of the railroad branch line and the barracks where the first transport arrived, on a map of the Theresienstadt ghetto, on my website here:

28. Bahnhofstrasse – Railway branch line built by the prisoners and first used in June 1943. Near the Hamburg barracks from which the transports left for Auschwitz.

32. Block E I — Sudeten Barracks where the first transport of men arrived in November of 1942.

The first Jews, who were brought to Theresienstadt on November 24, 1941, were 342 men who were housed in the Sudeten barracks on the west side of the old garrison, from where one can see the Sudeten mountain range near the border between Germany and the Czech Republic.

Sudenten Barracks were inside the wall of the old Theresienstadt fort

Sudenten Barracks were inside the wall of the old Theresienstadt fort

This first transport, called the Aufbaukommando, was brought to Theresienstadt to prepare the 10 barracks buildings for the rest of the Jews who would soon follow. On December 4, 1941 another transport of 1,000 Jews who were to form the Jewish “self-government” of the ghetto was sent to Theresienstadt. These two early transports became known as AK1 and AK2.

During World War II, when the Jews in the Greater German Reich, including what is now the Czech Republic, were sent to the former military garrison in Theresienstadt, they were housed in eleven former barracks buildings used by the Austrian soldiers in the 18th century.

Podmokly Barracks at Theresienstadt

Podmokly (Bodenbach) Barracks at Theresienstadt

The photograph above, taken in 2000, shows the Podmokly barracks, which the Germans called the Bodenbach barracks; in the background is the bastion on the north side of the old fort. There was a metal barrier in front of the bastion, hiding it from view, and it was off limits to tourists when I visited the former camp in the year 2000.

The Podmokly barrack building, shown in the photo above, is in two parts, separated by a narrow courtyard. This photo was taken from near the end of Langestrasse. The Podmokly barracks is directly in line with the Hannover barracks on the opposite side of the garrison town.

On the left in the photograph above, you can see the walls of the bastion which juts out from the garrison on the north side. Directly opposite, on the south side of the garrison, there is another identical bastion. There were buildings located between the double walls of each bastion. Between the bastion walls was the Aussig barracks which was the “die Schleuse” where the prisoners were registered when they first arrived. This building was very primitive with a latrine instead of flush toilets and rough stone floors.

Inside the walls of the bastion on the south side of the old fort was a bakery during the time when the present town of Terezin was the Theresienstadt Ghetto.

Until June 1943, the incoming prisoners had to walk two kilometers from the nearest railroad station in the town of Bohusovice (originally called Bauschowitz by the Germans) and they entered the ghetto on the same road on which the bus coming from Prague enters the town today.

The branch railway line from Bohusovice to the Theresienstadt Ghetto ended in front of the Hamburg barracks, shown in my 2000 photo below.

Hamburg Barracks in former Theresienstadt ghetto

Hamburg Barracks in former Theresienstadt ghetto

a detailed analysis of Jimmy Gentry’s claim that he was one of the liberators of Dachau on April 29, 1945

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:55 am

Jimmy Gentry of Franklin, TN was a soldier with the 42nd Rainbow Division. In an interview with G. Petrone and M. Skinner on 2/25/2000, he recalled what it was like on April 29, 1945, the day that Dachau was liberated. Was he really there that day, or did he visit the camp days, or even years, after it was liberated? There is considerable disagreement about the liberation of Dachau, as I previously wrote in this blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/the-liberation-of-dachau-no-two-accounts-agree/

This is a detailed analysis of Jimmy Gentry’s story, as told in his own words.

The following quote is the words of Jimmy Gentry in his interview with Petrone and Skinner on 2/25/2000:

On that particular morning that we left for Dachau, not knowing that it was Dachau, we just, another day’s work. We left about dawn, which we always did, and on foot, and went South, Southeast towards Dachau. We arrived about 11 o’clock in the morning.

Jimmy Gentry was a soldier in the 42nd Division.  On the day that Dachau was liberated, a few 42nd Division soldiers arrived in jeeps at the gate into the Dachau complex at 3 p.m.  It was soldiers of the 45th Division that arrived at 11 a.m. on foot at the railroad gate, shown in the photo below.

A section of the tracks at the former railroad gate has been preserved

A section of the tracks at the former railroad gate has been preserved

Only a few 42nd Division soldiers were at Dachau on the day of liberation

Only a few 42nd Division soldiers were at Dachau on the day of liberation

The photo above shows a group of 42nd Division soldiers who accompanied Brig. Gen. Henning Linden to the Dachau camp on April 29, 1945, the day of the liberation.  From left to right, they are T/5 G.N. Oddi, T/5 J.G. Bauerlein, Pfc. C.E. Tinkham, Pfc. Stout, and Pfc. W.P. Donahue.

This quote from Gentry’s interview with Petrone and Skinner mentions the Death Train that was parked outside the Dachau complex:

Because the boxcars that entered the northwest corner of that huge camp were open and the train was partway in the camp, and partway out of the camp. Our and some others went around the end of the box car to enter on the right side, and some others entered on the left side, and we only had about 3 feet between the train and the gate to enter, and on my side when I went around there I saw for the first time literally hundreds of bodies that had been shot and they were dead, and they were spilled out of the boxcar as if you had as if you had taken it, and just turned it over and poured the people out onto the side of the tracks. Some of the bodies were still in the train, some were hanging out over the tops of the piles of people outside, and that’s what I saw for the first time and they were not soldiers. We were used to seeing soldiers, both American and German soldiers who had been killed, but we’d never seen anything like this, they were striped, dressed in striped clothes, their head was the largest part of their body, their eyes all sunken back, they were ashen white, almost a blue color also, their ribs would protrude their arms the size of broomsticks, legs the same, and we didn’t know; I didn’t know who they were.

The railroad gate was at the southwest corner of the Dachau complex, not the northwest corner.  Photos of the train show that there were only two or three bodies lying along the track, not hundreds.  Gentry was describing the “death train,” but the 42nd Division soldiers did not see the train immediately, since they arrived in jeeps at a location near the main gate of the Dachau complex, which was about a mile from the railroad gate.

The quote from Gentry’s interview with Petrone and Skinner continues:

So we climbed over the bodies, and went on into the camp, and inside when we first got inside [the SS garrison,] the buildings were quite large, they were warehouses for the German SS troops, the elite soldiers, and they had all their equipment in these buildings. Now when we went in there were small arms fire, that means rifle fire all to our right and to the front of us, and what had happened, we found out later, some other troops had entered through the main gate, we came in through the train gate, or back gate, and they came in through the front gate so that’s why what we were hearing up ahead of us [was the 45th Division soldiers killing SS men inside the garrison] and to our right, and as we secured the buildings and moved, oh, towards the middle of the camp we found a second wall [there was no second wall in 1945], and on this wall, it was not as, not as large as the outside wall, there was a moat in front of it, a watered moat, and then another barbed wire fence. So there was a barbed wire fence, a moat, and then another wall. And we realized then, after seeing the train and after seeing this that these people were not to come out of there.

The moat and barbed wire fence that 42nd Division soldiers saw

The moat and barbed wire fence that 42nd Division soldiers saw

There was no wall in front of this barbed wire fence when the 42nd Division soldiers arrived at Dachau on April 29, 1945.  The wall was built later to hide the crematorium and the SS garrison from the camp.  At the time that the camp was liberated, there was a line of poplar trees that hid the factory buildings from the camp, as shown in the old photo below.  The concentration camp enclosure is on the right, but not shown.  Note there is a the line of trees, but no wall.

German soldiers who have surrendered outside the Dachau camp

German soldiers surrendered outside the Dachau concentration camp enclosure

Dachau concentration camp with moat and poplar trees

Dachau concentration camp with moat and poplar trees, but no wall between the camp and the SS garrison

Wall in front of the moat was built after Dachau was liberated

Wall in front of the moat was built after Dachau was liberated

The photo above shows a bridge over the moat, which was built AFTER the camp was liberated, along with a wall that was built to hide the crematorium area from the Dachau concentration camp. On the day that Dachau was liberated, the concentration camp was surrounded by a solid wall on three sides with the Würm river forming a moat on the fourth side. Today there is a wall that separates the former prison enclosure from the crematorium area, but this wall was not there in 1945.

Lt. Col. Sparks, the highest ranking officer in the 45th Division at Dachau the day that the camp was liberated, told Flint Whitlock, author of The Rock of Anzio, From Sicily to Dachau: A History of the U.S. 45th Infantry Division, that he ordered his men to enter the railroad gate, while he and a few soldiers climbed over the ten-foot wall around the SS garrison. Sparks said that he deliberately avoided the main gate because, if the SS was planning to defend the camp, that’s where they would do it.

The Dachau camp was surrendered to Brig. Gen. Henning Linden outside one of the gates into the concentration camp

The Dachau camp was surrendered to Brig. Gen. Henning Linden near the main gate into the Dachau complex, which the 45th Division was avoiding

Jimmy Gentry wrote a book entitled An American Life in which he included drawings that he made of the Dachau camp, as it looked on liberation day. He claimed that he entered the Dachau complex through the railroad gate at the “northwest corner” of the camp around 11 a.m. that day.

The railroad gate was actually at the southwest corner of the Dachau complex. Most accounts of the liberation say that it was the 45th Division which arrived at Dachau at 11 a.m. and entered through the railroad gate, and that the 42nd Division arrived around 3 p.m. at the gate near the southwest corner of the complex where SS 2nd Lt. Heinrich Wicker was waiting to surrender the camp. After accepting the surrender of the concentration camp, the 42nd Division soldiers then entered the complex through the main gate.

This quote is from the Gentry’s interview with Petrone and Skinner:

And this sea of faces [of the prisoners in the camp] seemed to be, every one of them seemed to be dead, but they were still alive. They looked like they were dead. So we released them [from the SS garrison] and entered the [concentration] camp, a separate compound where the prisoners were kept.

There were no prisoners released from Dachau on the day of the liberation, April 29, 1945.  Apparently Gentry is claiming that prisoners were released from the the SS garrison next to the camp.  There were no prisoners in the SS garrison.

The quote from Gentry’s interview continues:

There was not a lot of screaming and yelling and jubilation, not at all. [The prisoners] were blank faced, they were stunned. They did come up to ya and hug ya and someone, I don’t know who said it, someone in my squad said “don’t let ’em kiss you on the mouth.” And that meant, thank goodness that meant that they had diseases, typhus fever for example, and they would fall down to their knees and hug ya around the legs, and kiss your legs and kiss your boots. And of course we didn’t know enough German to know what they were saying and some of them were not German, foreign languages and we didn’t know, we just knew that they were happy to be released, but they were a pitiful sight. We worked our way through the camp and the German guards that had stayed there, none of them left. They were all killed while they were there in the camp, either by the soldiers, American soldiers, or by the prisoners themselves in some cases. So none of them ever left that camp once we entered.

In the quote above, Gentry is describing the “Dachau massacre” when SS soldiers were killed in the SS garrison, not in the Dachau concentration camp.  Not all of the SS soldiers in the garrison were killed.  There were SS men who were survivors of the “Dachau massacre.”  The “German guards” in the concentration camp had left the camp the night before, and Hungarian SS soldiers had been brought in to keep order while the camp was surrendered to the Americans.  Many of the SS soldiers were killed by the prisoners and the American liberators, but some of them did survive.

Dachau farmers were forced to bury the bodies at Dachau

Dachau farmers were forced to haul the bodies out of the Dachau camp for burial

Civilians from the town of Dachau were forced to bury the bodies at Leitenberg

Civilians from the town of Dachau were forced to bury the bodies of Dachau prisoners at Leitenberg

Gentry stated in his 2/25/2000 interview that his outfit stayed in the Dachau camp and buried the bodies.

The following quote is from the interview with Petrone and Skinner:

We stayed there in that camp, about three days, trying to help secure the camp and to get rid of literally thousands of dead bodies. Load them onto trucks, get them out of there, this awful smell. And we were able to do that and after about three days we left the camp and went out and had all the hair on our bodies shaved off because of the typhus fever.

Numerous other sources claim that no bodies were buried until May 7th. On May 13th, 1945, Dachau farmers were forced to haul the bodies out of the Dachau camp and take them to Leitenberg to be buried in mass graves. The 42nd Division soldiers had left immediately, bound for Munich.

Jimmy Gentry may have been among the first soldiers brought to Dachau in trucks after the liberation, on the orders of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and he may have pieced together his story from other accounts told by 45th Division soldiers.  If he was actually there on the day of liberation, how did he make so many mistakes in his account of the liberation?

May 27, 2013

Holocaust fiction for children, and Holocaust poetry for children…a new literary genre

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:54 am

I was shocked to learn recently that there are books of fiction about the Holocaust that are deemed suitable reading material for children in the third grade. Holocaust fiction for young children is a whole new literary genre, replacing the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, that children used to read.

What’s next?  Baby’s first Holocaust ABC book?

Children in the fourth grade in American schools are required to read fictional books such as Number the Stars before listening to a Holocaust survivor speak in their classroom.  I always thought that Holocaust education began in the fifth grade in America, but now it seems that children are being indoctrinated at younger and younger ages.

What really got to me was when I learned about the poetry of Paul Janeczko, for example, his Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto  which was written for children.

Terezin is now a town in the Czech Republic, but Janeczko’s poems are about the ghetto for Jews, named Theresienstadt, which was set up by the Nazis during World War II.

According to Wikipedia, Janeczko’s Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto was the recipient of the following awards:

·       CYBILS’ Poetry Award Winner for 2012
·       Children’s Books of the Year 2012
·       Notable Books for a Global Society 2012
·       Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts 2012
·       Teachers Choice 2012

This quote is one of the poems, spoken by the fictional SS Captain Bruno Krueger, in Requiem:

We herded all the Jew swine
close to the gallows
where the old Jew stood on the wagon
noosed.
I ordered my Jews closer.
Close enough to hear
the twig snap of his neck.
Close enough to smell
when he shit himself in death.
Close enough to see his face darken,
his tongue poke from his mouth.

The speaker in the poem (fictional SS Captain Bruno Krueger) then forces a different Jew to throw stones at a boy until the boy dies.

In another poem, the manager of the camp’s crematorium describes, in graphic detail, what happens to a human body as it burns.
The following quote is from this blog:

Requiem, written in free verse, is a valuable asset to the collection of Holocaust literature and gives a courageous voice to the 140,000 European Jews who suffered unspeakable and inhumane treatment by Nazi guards. Although Hitler hailed the Czech collection and transport camp, Terezin, as a haven for artistic and intellectual Jews, it was little more than a pit stop en route to the gas chambers. In “SS Captain Bruno Krueger” an older Jewish man and a young boy tried to escape but were dragged back for “the lesson.” Captain Bruno narrates their fate: (We herded all the Jew swine/ close to the gallows/ where the old Jew stood on the wagon/ noosed./ I ordered my Jews closer./ Close enough to hear the twig snap of his neck.) These harrowing poems are sure to fill readers with undeniable feelings of sadness, anger, and confusion about how something this despicable could happen.

This quote, which includes another poem in the SS Captain Bruno Krueger section, is from the same blog:

Spotlight Poem
Excerpt from: SS Captain Bruno Krueger
As he hung and finished his death dance,
a guard brought forth the other man.
Man? Was he old enough to shave?
No matter.
He will be a teacher,
playing his part in today’s lesson.
He was, perhaps, saving other Jews
who dreamed of freedom.
Hands tied behind his back,
kneeling in the mud
he looked at me with defiance.
I enjoyed the chance to show him,
to show all,
the impracticality of defiance.
Another Jew fetched a bucket
filled with paving stones.
I selected a stone,
carefully,
looking for one with sharp corners.
The only way that poems like this should be taught to American school children is in a class about Jewish propaganda. The class should learn, at the same time, the truth about the Theresienstadt ghetto.

 

May 26, 2013

Listen to what a gas chamber expert had to say about the Holocaust gas chambers

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:14 am

Several years ago, there was a YouTube video which showed Fred Leuchter, Jr. speaking about the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Since then, the video has been taken down. However, you can read what Leuchter wrote about the Holocaust gas chambers here.

Leuchter’s life was ruined after he testified in the trial of a Holocaust denier in Canada a few years ago, after which, he apparently went into hiding, in fear of his life.

This quote is from the website, cited above:

…. a very believing engineer sat at his desk working one snowy January afternoon in 1988, when the telephone rang. This very believing engineer [Fred Leuchter] was about to receive a very shocking history lesson, one which would cause him to question that 50-year-old Holocaust lie and the application of that lie to generations of children. “Hello, this is Robert Faurisson” — and that very believing engineer would believe no more.   […]

4. Construction
Construction of these facilities shows that they were never used as gas chambers. None of these facilities were sealed or gasketed. No provision was ever made to prevent condensation of gas on the walls, floor or ceiling. No provision ever existed to exhaust the air-gas mixture from these buildings. No provision ever existed to introduce or distribute the gas throughout the chamber. No explosion-proof lighting existed and no attempt was ever made to prevent gas from entering the crematories, even though the gas is highly explosive. No attempt was made to protect operating personnel from exposure to the gas or to protect other non-participating persons from exposure. Specifically, at Auschwitz, a floor drain in the alleged gas chamber was connected directly to the camp’s storm drain system. At Majdanek a depressed walkway around the alleged gas chambers would have collected gas seepage and resulted in a death trap for camp personnel. No exhaust stacks ever existed. Hydrogen cyanide gas is an extremely dangerous and lethal gas, and nowhere were there any provisions to effect any amount of safe handling. The chambers were too small to accommodate more than a small fraction of the alleged numbers. Plain and simple, these facilities could not have operated as execution gas chambers.

Note that virtually everything that Fred wrote is what I have been trying to communicate through my blog for over two years.

Except for one tiny detail:  “the floor drain in the alleged [Auschwitz] gas chamber” is included in the reconstructed gas chamber that is shown to tourists, but this drain was originally inside a washroom in the gas chamber building in the main camp.

I previously blogged about the Auschwitz gas chamber floor drain here.  I also blogged about the 6 floor drains in the Dachau gas chamber here.  According to Fred, a gas chamber absolutely cannot have even one floor drain, much less 6 drains.

May 25, 2013

Dachau tour guides must be certified, in order to keep Neo-Nazis from conducting tours

I have been to the Dachau Memorial Site several times, beginning with my first visit in May 1997, but I have never taken a guided tour.  Now I am very glad that I never took a guided tour.  I might have burst out laughing, been arrested, and thrown into prison in Germany for 5 years.

I learned from this blogger that Dachau tour guides must be certified.  She visited the Dachau Memorial Site on March 5, 2013 and wrote this about her tour guide:

Our guide was not a typical tour guide – he was very much not a people-person, though perhaps that is the sobering nature of his work as a Dachau guide. He’d been giving Dachau tours for four years, and had a certification to do so. I’m always skeptical of certifications and what they actually do for you, but it ended up being very interesting. Apparently Neo-Nazis try to give tours of these camps with revisionist history, to make it sound like these atrocities never happened, showing alleged evidence during the tour that these places are all lies. On our tour there was a strict policy of not videotaping our guide, for fear that if these videos are on the internet then Neo Nazis will re-cut them to make it sound like even the legitimate tour guides believe the revisionist history. Even beyond this, though, the material covered in such a tour is sensitive and perhaps easy to treat or deliver an improper way. The [German] government is trying to get rid of all of these Neo-Nazi revisionists and anyone who doesn’t do a sufficiently sensitive job dealing with what happened at Dachau by requiring tour guide certification. The process takes about a year and a half – you have to know your stuff to be able to discuss this place. Suffice to say, it felt like we were in good hands.

Shouldn’t the policy be extended to forbid tourists from going through the camp on their own?  What is to keep tourists from noticing things that support the revisionist version of Dachau history?  I started down the road to revisionism the minute that I stepped inside the former camp.

According to the blogger who visited Dachau, this is the kind of information that a certified tour guide gives to visitors.  Everything in the following quote is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG:

Psychological torture was perhaps the focus of our tour. There are documents of methods they used just to get under the skin of their prisoners. Little things, like putting coat hooks and shelves in the barracks to emphasize that no one had a coat, or anything to put on the shelves. Signs that said “Rauchen Verboten” – smoking is forbidden – to remind them that they had no cigarettes. Words on the door to the camp – “work will set you free.” Then other things – they would torture people in the dead of the night, between midnight and three in the morning, to keep people in the barracks awake with the screams. They’d keep the windows open just to make it all the louder. Systems were in place to ensure that the guards could not take sympathy on the prisoners without direct harm to themselves – sympathy could result in their own imprisonment in the camp. Former guards were the ones was in charge of keeping the prisoners in that barracks in line, making sure everyone did his job. The capos were usually taken from the group of criminally insane, the psychopaths, the rapists, the murderers. If they didn’t do well enough, they too were turned over to the mob. These camps were designed to almost run themselves.

There was also the interesting issue of paperwork, and registered versus unregistered prisoners. Over the course of the war, only the tiniest fraction of the prisoners were ever registered officially. We know that far more people than were registered went through these camps and died in them, but we have no idea how many simply because the Germans wouldn’t register a lot of people in order to keep the death rates in these camps artificially low. When you look at the map that shows the number of people officially registered in these camps, the numbers are low compared to what you hear in history books.

It would take hours for me to tell you why every word of this is WRONG.  Read a revisionist website to learn the truth.  No wonder the Dachau tour guides have to be certified.  (Certified insane, so they can tell these lies.)

This quote is also from the blogger who took a tour of the Dachau Memorial Site:

Dachau is one of the best preserved concentration camps in the world, and one of only three that still has one of the old gas chambers. When the Nazis realized that they were losing, they destroyed the gas chambers usually, but for some reason not the one at Dachau – there is still speculation about why this is. The man hired to run Dachau, Theodor Eicke, was a medically diagnosed psychopath.

Did the certified tour guide really say that there is “speculation” about Theodor Eicke not blowing up the gas chamber because he was a “medically diagnosed psychopath”?

Eicke was not the Commandant of Dachau at the time that the gas chamber should have been blown up to prevent the Allies from finding it.  Eicke was the second commandant at Dachau and he held this position for only one year.  In June 1934, Eicke was given the title of Inspector General and the authority to approve all punishments in all the camps.  In fact, Eicke was dead by the time that the Dachau gas chamber should have been blown up.  According to Wikipedia, “Eicke was killed on 26 February 1943, several months after being promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer (equivalent to general in the Waffen-SS).”

Isn’t that just like the Nazis?  Promoting a “medically diagnosed psychopath” to the rank of general in the Waffen-SS.  But I digress.

I previously blogged about why the Dachau gas chamber was not blown up.

This quote from my fellow blogger concerns the gas chamber at Dachau:

At the very end of the tour, Marcin our tour guide took us to the building where the gas chamber was held. He gave us the history, told us how it was used. While the Dachau gas chamber was not an instrument of death quite the same way that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were, they were used for experimenting with different kinds of poison gas, to determine what gases and what methods were most effective.

“I went into the gas chamber the first time I was here, and I have never gone back through it. I will not be going through it today. Once was enough. Meet me at the exit.”

First, through the rooms where the men were told to remove all their clothes; they were going to have a shower. Then they would be handed soap and towels.  […]

I was the first to walk in. I can’t really describe how or why it was overwhelming, but it was. Most people were in and out as quickly as they could go – just a walk through, stepping on as little of the floor as possible. I stepped to the side, just stood, crying, while everyone else walked through as if there were some invisible barrier keeping them from stepping into any space that wasn’t directly between the two doors. A large group came shuffling through, laughing and making ghost-sounds to cover up their fear, the uncomfortable way that their skin crawled – but they spoke in whispers and didn’t look up from the ground, so I couldn’t be angry.

I have spent a lot of time in the Dachau gas chamber, on several occasions, so I know that most people just walk through as fast as they can.  You can read all about the Dachau gas chamber on my website here.

The outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber

The outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber

In my opinion, the tour guides should begin their spiel about the gas chamber while standing beside the outside wall of the gas chamber.  Explain to the tourists what these holes in the wall of the gas chamber were for.

But wait, there’s more.  This quote is from the blogger who took a tour of Dachau:

On the way back while we were waiting for our train, Marcin gave us a sort of conclusion. There were a couple of interesting takeaways. Memorials at Dachau are very controversial. Jews were not the only ones persecuted there – over the 12 years that Dachau was running, it was home to political prisoners, homosexuals, Jehovas Witnesses, Gypsies, criminals, the disabled, Jews, and anyone else that the state wanted to imprison. The categories of people and the reasons for imprisonment were intentionally broad so that there didn’t have to be much, if any, justification for incarceration. There are memorials for specific groups of prisoners, but others are not memorialized – for example, the memorials for the gypsies and the homosexuals held at Dachau are not public, but rather held elsewhere and difficult to see (they may not even be available for public viewing – it was unclear). There are yet other Dachau survivors who maintain that while their category of people was wrongfully incarcerated, other groups belonged there.

There is no memorial to the Gypsies at Dachau because Gypsies were not sent to Dachau for being Gypsies.  They were sent to Dachau for breaking the law that said that everyone in Germany should have a job and a permanent address.  This law was directed at the Gypsies, but there were non-Gypsies who were “Luftmenschen” or people living on air with no visible means of support, who were also sent to Dachau.

There is no memorial to the homosexuals at Dachau because homosexuals were sent to Dachau for breaking the law against having homosexual sex in public, or for being male prostitutes, not for their sexual orientation.  They were imprisoned for breaking Paragraph 175, the law against homosexuality which had been on the books in Germany since 1871.

As far as I know, disabled people were not sent to Dachau for being disabled.  Criminals were, in fact, sent to Dachau and other camps, so that they could be put to work instead of lolling around in a prison cell. Jehovah’s Witnesses were sent to Dachau and other camps because they refused to serve in the military.  Men who refused to serve in the military in America were also sent to prison.

Most of the prisoners at Dachau were political prisoners, who were arrested for fighting as illegal combatants, or for being enemies of the German government.  There is no memorial to them at Dachau.

To further understand the gas chamber story, told at Dachau, read this blog post, written by a man who calls himself a “twice a year Jew.”

Iron hooks over the ovens at Dachau where prisoners were hung to watch as their comrades were burned alive

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 12:13 pm

The title of my blog post today comes from a quote from a letter which a 19-year-old American soldier sent to his family after he was taken to see the Dachau concentration camp in July 1945. Dachau had been liberated by American troops on April 29, 1945.

You can read the full news article about the letter here.

Here is the exact quote from the American soldier’s letter which describes the ovens at Dachau:

“Over and in front of the ovens were iron hooks from which a person would be hung while watching his comrades burned alive,” Zohn wrote “The next room is where we found bodies stacked so high that the lights in the ceiling were broken. The blood stood four-feet high.”

Bodies stacked up in the morgue at Dachau

Bodies stacked up in the morgue at Dachau and blood running down the floor drain

The photo above shows the bodies stacked in the morgue at Dachau, but where is the blood standing four feet high?  These bodies had been removed by July 1945, so this soldier must have seen only a photo of the bodies.

Sign above the ovens at Dachau says that prisoners were hung from hooks

Sign above the ovens at Dachau says “Prisoners were hanged from here”

If you look closely at the photo above, you can see a small hook, to the right of the center beam.  To the left of the beam is another hook that is less visible.  The pulley above the ovens was used to raise and lower the inner doors of the ovens.  I  previously blogged about the two sets of doors in the ovens at Dachau.

This is a full quote from the news article about the letter:

Zohn’s letter described the tour the U.S. soldiers took through a carefully organized killing machine of gas chambers, torture rooms, body rooms and the incinerators.

Groups of men, women and children were first lured into the gas chamber, thinking they were showers.
“They went in a long, low-ceilinged room with shower ‘nozzles’ all in the ceiling, but a closer inspection reveals that the nozzles are fakes,” Zohn wrote. “After the 100 or so victims died, they were stacked in the next room which had large drain pipes to drain off the blood and other fluids.

Nazi guards used iron stretchers to deposit the bodies into the ovens, a 20- to 30-minute process, he wrote.

“Over and in front of the ovens were iron hooks from which a person would be hung while watching his comrades burned alive,” Zohn wrote “The next room is where we found bodies stacked so high that the lights in the ceiling were broken. The blood stood four-feet high.”

Posed photo of Dachau crematorium workers demonstrating how they put bodies into the oven

Posed photo of Dachau crematorium workers demonstrating how they put bodies into the oven

The photo above was taken after the Dachau camp was liberated.  It is one of a series of photos that were sold to the American soldiers, who were brought to Dachau on Eisenhower’s orders, so that they could see the atrocities committed at Dachau. Eisenhower wanted the American soldiers to know what they were fighting for.

America fought World War II to stop the evil Nazis from burning prisoners alive while other prisoners watched from where they were hung on a hook above the oven.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a photo which shows how prisoners were hung from hooks in front of the oven so that they could watch as their fellow prisoners were burned alive.

The ovens in the new crematorium at Dachau

The ovens in the new crematorium at Dachau

My photo, of the Dachau ovens above, does not show the hooks, which are very small and hard to see.  I think the Nazis were taking a big chance, that the weight of a body hung from a hook above the ovens, would have pulled down the rafters.  But you know by now how stupid the Nazis were.  How many times do I have to tell you people this?

May 24, 2013

The Small Fortress (Malá Pevnost) in the Czech Republic, part 2

The Commandant's house at the Small Fortress

The Commandant’s house at the Small Fortress

In Part 1 of my blog post about the Small Fortress, I left off with the “Gate of Death” which is shown on the far right in the photo above. On the left in the photo above is the “Lord’s House” where the Commandant and his family lived, along with some of the guards and their families.

The front of the Commandant's house

The front of the Commandant’s house

Directly across from the Commandant’s house is the building which was used during World War II as the barracks for the SS guards when the Small Fortress was a Gestapo prison.  The building is shown in the photo below; it is now a Museum.

After the war, from the Summer of 1945 until 1948, the Small Fortress was used as a prison camp for German war criminals, and during that period, the Commandant’s house was used as the barracks for the police unit guarding the prisoners.

On May 6, 1947 the Czech government designated the building shown below as the “Memorial of National Suffering.” Two years later, after the last of the German war criminals had been executed, the first historical exhibition was set up in this building.

Museum at the Small Fortress

Museum at the Small Fortress is in building formerly used as a barracks for the SS guards

The Museum has a large fenced courtyard in front of it, part of which is shown in the photo above. The path up to the front door of the Museum is lined with birch trees, some of which you can see in the photograph above. Several statues of emaciated prisoners, such as the one you see in the photograph above, stand in the courtyard.

In October 2000, when I visited, there was an exhibition in this building entitled “The Small Fortress Terezin 1940 – 1945.” During that period the name of the town where the prison is located had been changed by the Nazis back to the original German name of Theresienstadt. The exhibit opened, after two years of preparation, on May 16, 1994. What I saw was the seventh permanent exhibit to occupy the same space in the Museum.

Statue of woman with hands tied behind her back

Statue of woman with hands tied behind her back

The photograph above shows a statue of a woman prisoner with her hands tied behind her back. This statue is located in front of the gate into the fenced courtyard of the museum building. On the left hand side, you can see a corner of the fence around the Commandant’s house. In the background is the Fourth Courtyard administration building where the Holocaust Memorial is located. The Museum and the Commandant’s quarters are both long narrow buildings. In this photograph, the Museum building is behind the camera, and to the right.

The photos below were taken in the Fourth Courtyard of the Small Fortress.

Entrance into the Fourth Courtyard in the Small Fortress

Entrance into the Fourth Courtyard in the Small Fortress

The photograph above shows the guard tower above the entrance into the Fourth Courtyard. (I have protected the identity of the two tourists with a blue dot.)

The photograph below shows the prison yard in the Fourth Courtyard. On the left is a building with group cells for prisoners; on the right are the solitary confinement cells.  After World War II ended, these prison cells were used to house ethic Germans in what is now the Czech Republic.

The execution state in the Fourth Courtyard

Prison cells and execution site in the Fourth Courtyard in the Small Fortress

The group cells on the left in the photograph above could hold 400 to 600 prisoners. Cell No. 44 was for prisoners who were condemned to die.

On May 2, 1945, there were 49 men and 3 women who were executed, just before the army of the Soviet Union arrived on May 8th to liberate the Small Fortress and the Theresienstadt Ghetto.

In the center of the photograph above, you can see that there is a raised section of the courtyard, which looks like an outdoor stage. After three prisoners from cell No. 38 attempted an escape in March 1945 and were caught, one of the escapees and two other men and a woman were selected at random to be executed here as a warning to the other prisoners. The other two escapees were captured and stoned to death in the First Courtyard, according to the pamphlet handed out to visitors at the Small Fortress.

Two of the group cells on the left side are open to visitors. One of them is shown in the photograph below.

One of the group prison cells in the Fourth Courtyard of the Small Fortress

One of the group prison cells in the Fourth Courtyard of the Small Fortress

Memorial inside one of the buildings in Small Fortress

Memorial to victims is inside the administration building in the Fourth Courtyard of the Small Fortress

When I visited the Small Fortress in October 2000, there was a small restaurant in the Third Courtyard. The restaurant is No. 32 on the tour, located on your left as you walk toward the main entrance to leave at the end of your tour.

Former SS Canteen in the Third Courtyard in the Small Fortress

Former SS Canteen in the Third Courtyard in the Small Fortress

The building where the restaurant is located was formerly the Canteen for the SS guards in the prison. It is a long building which separates the Second Courtyard from the Third Courtyard. The photograph above shows the door into the restaurant which is at the end of the building.

The photograph below shows the view of the main entrance that you see on your way out. Note the grass growing on the roof.  On the right is the doorway into the Administration Courtyard and on the left is the doorway into the Second Courtyard. Just beyond the restaurant, on the left side is the Third Courtyard, which was the women’s section of the prison.

Exit from the Third Courtyard in the Small Fortress

Exit from the Third Courtyard in the Small Fortress

On the right in the photograph above, you can see the square archway which is the entrance to the Administration Courtyard, shown in the photo below. Note the Arbeit Macht Frei gate at the end of the courtyard.

The Administration Courtyard with the Arbeit Macht Frei sign at the end

The Administration Courtyard with the Arbeit Macht Frei sign at the end

To the left of the gate into the Administration Courtyard, but not visible in the photograph above, is the entrance to the Third Courtyard which was used for the women prisoners after June 1942.  The Canteen, which was a restaurant in 2000, is to the left of the Women’s camp, but not shown in the photo below.

Entrance into Women's Camp inside the Small Fortress

Entrance into Women’s Camp inside the Small Fortress

The Women's camp in the Small Fortress had factories where the women worked

The Women’s camp in the Small Fortress had factories where the women worked

The Women’s Camp is Number 33 on the tour. In this courtyard, according to the pamphlet that I was given, “the first working transport for the Litomerice concentration camp was lodged here temporarily” in 1944.

Before our tour bus got to the Small Fortress, we went through the ancient town of Litomerice where I saw a spectacular white Baroque Christian church. Near an old and very elaborate gateway on the road through the town, I caught a glimpse of some old concrete posts of the type used for the barbed wire fences around the concentration camps. I learned that in the spring of 1944, a sub camp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp was set up in Litomerice.

Around 18,000 prisoners were brought to this sub-camp in Litomerice and given the job of building an underground factory, which was code named “Richard.” A large kommando (work group) from the Small Fortress was sent to this underground factory every day to work. The Nazis had started building all their munitions factories underground because every city in Germany was being bombed by the Allies. Working conditions at the “Richard” factory were horrible and when the typhus epidemic in the eastern concentration camps spread to the Litomerice camp, it resulted in the deaths of 4,500 prisoners in less than a year, including some of the prisoners from the Small Fortress.

After seeing the women’s camp, our tour group went out the main gate, which is shown in the photo below. This photo was taken as our group entered the Small Fortress.

Entrance to the Small Fortress is also the exit

Entrance to the Small Fortress is also the exit

The Small Fortress (Malá Pevnost) in the Czech Republic

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:32 am

The subject of the “Malá pevnost” came up in a comment on my blog a couple of days ago, so I decided to write about it today.  I visited the Small Fortress in October 2000 and took some photos, which I am posting.

The main entrance into the Small Fortress

The main entrance into the Small Fortress

The Small Fortress is now a Memorial Site, located in the Czech Republic, on the east side of the Ohre river, which divides the two parts of the old military fortress, originally known as Theresienstadt. The former Theresienstadt ghetto, which was turned into a concentration camp in World War II, is on the west side of the Ohre river. The Main Fortress, where the Nazi concentration camp was formerly located, is now the town of Terezin.

When Theresienstadt was originally built as a military fortress in 1780, it consisted of two parts: the Main Fortress, where the Jews were later imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II, and the Small Fortress which was originally built as a prison and was used as such from the time it was completed until a few years after World War II, when the last of the German war criminals, who were incarcerated here by the victorious Allies, were executed.

The Small Fortress was turned into a Gestapo prison in June 1940, more than a year before the Main Fortress was turned into a ghetto and a transit camp for Jews in November 1941.  My tour guide said that 90% of the inmates in the Small Fortress during the war were non-Jewish Czech Communists.

The following quote is from a pamphlet that I obtained on the my tour in October 2000:

People were sent [to the Small Fortress] for taking part in the democratic and communist resistance movement, for aiding parachutists sent from the west and east to help the Czech resistance, for supporting partisans, escaped prisoners-of-war and Jews, or for individual acts against the Nazi regime. They were intellectuals, workers, farmers, clericals, artists and students, men and women. The fate of the Jewish prisoners here was particularly tragic. After arrest by the Gestapo for taking part in the resistance movement or breaking the rules established for Jews in Terezin town, they were sent here, given the hardest work and subjected to the worst terrorism by the guards. It was actually a transit prison as most of the inmates were sent after a certain time before a Nazi court and from there to other prisons and penitentiaries or to concentration camps in Germany, Poland and Austria.

Before we got to the Small Fortress, the road went through the old walled town of Theresienstadt, which is now called by the Czech name Terezin, but at that point I didn’t know yet that this was the old ghetto because, from the road, it looks much like all the other small towns that we had passed through.

The road that goes through the town of Terezin, October 2000

The road that goes through the town of Terezin, October 2000

Suddenly I saw the zigzag brick walls of the ramparts that surround the Small Fortress. The red brick fortifications around the two fortresses are 4 kilometers long. There are double walls around the fortress with a dry moat in between them.

When the bus stopped at the Small Fortress, I was startled to see a cemetery in front of it with a large Christian cross in the middle and a much smaller Star of David behind it, placed closer to the entrance gate. I soon learned that this was not an insult to the Jews, but a representation of the truth since, contrary to what I had read in several tourist guidebooks, very few Jews had died in the Small Fortress, according to our guide.

Graves in front of Small Fortress

Graves in front of Small Fortress

Star of David marks Jewish graves at Small Fortress

Star of David marks Jewish graves near wall around the Small Fortress

I learned that the Small Fortress was used by the Nazis, beginning in 1940, as a Gestapo prison for Communists, anti-Fascist resistance fighters, partisans and guerrilla fighters who were captured during in the war. There were 27,000 men and 5,000 women sent to the Small Fortress for “interrogation.” According to our guide, there were approximately 1,500 Jews sent to the Small Fortress for fighting with the resistance movement or for breaking the rules of the Theresienstadt ghetto. The guide told us that 90% of the inmates in the Small Fortress during the war were non-Jewish Czech Communists.

According to a pamphlet that our tour group was given when we entered, there were 10,000 corpses buried at the Small Fortress between 1945 and 1958 after the bodies were exhumed from mass graves at the Small Fortress, the Theresienstadt ghetto and the nearby Litomerice concentration camp. In the two photos shown above, there are 2,386 individual graves in the cemetery in front of the Small Fortress.

Gate inside the Small Fortress

Gate inside the Small Fortress

The main gate into the Small Fortress, which is shown at the top of my blog post, was designated Number 1 on the tour of the Small Fortress. After going through the main gate, our tour group walked a few yards into the prison, then turned left to go through the Administration Court which was Number 2 on the tour. You can see the number 2 on the left side of the square archway in the foreground of the photograph above. The sight of the sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” on the arch over a doorway in the background of the photo was very upsetting to the Jews on the tour because  “Arbeit Macht Frei” has now become the slogan of the Holocaust.

The “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign was only put over the gates into camps where prisons had a chance of being released.  According to a booklet that I purchased at the Small Fortress Museum, there were 5,600 prisoners released from the Small Fortress, which was a Gestapo prison for political prisoners and captured partisans, not a death camp for Jews.

Prison Cells in the Small Fortress

Prison Cells in the First Courtyard of the Small Fortress

The First Courtyard of the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt, which is shown in the photograph above, was divided into Blocks A and B. There were 17 group cells and 20 small cells for solitary confinement. Up to 1,500 prisoners used this small courtyard as their exercise yard.

According to the visitor’s pamphlet that we were given, the group cells held up to 100 prisoners at one time. Cell number 1 was reserved for prisoners from the Soviet Union. Cells number 2 and number 3 were used to imprison Jews who were “arrested for political activities and violating anti-Jewish regulations.”

Notice that the photograph above shows grass growing on the roof. The prison cells were rooms between the double walls around the fort, and the roof was covered with dirt.

Door into Prison Cell in Small Fortress

Door into Prison Cell in Small Fortress

The photograph above shows the door to one of the group prison cells in the First Courtyard.  The Plaque on the right hand side, which is written in Czech, English and Hebrew, reads as follows:  “In the years 1940 to 1945 more than 1500 Jews were imprisoned in the Small Fortress. Their destiny was worst of all the groups of prisoners. About 800 from them were tortured to death here, most of others perished after the deportation to concentration camps. Dedicated to the memory of the victims by the Embassy of the State of Israel.”

There were approximately 32,000 prisoners who passed through the Small Fortress during the time that it was a Gestapo prison from June 1940 until May 8, 1945.

According to a pamphlet that tourists were given on the tour, between 2,500 and 2,600 of the prisoners died, including between 250 and 300 who were executed. However, our tour guide told us that most of the prisoners at the Small Fortress were Communist resistance fighters who were fighting against the Nazi Fascists.  (Remember that there was a war going on.)

After the arrival of the Soviet Army on May 8, 1945, the prisoners at both the Small Fortress and the Theresienstadt ghetto had to be held under quarantine until the typhus epidemic could be brought under control. In just the two months of April and May, 1945 there were approximately 1,000 deaths from typhus in the Small Fortress.

The pamphlet that we were given at the entrance of the Small Fortress has this map on which all the places of interest are numbered for easy reference. The entrance shown at the top of this page is number 1 on the map and the graveyard in front of the fortress is number 34, the last thing that visitors see as they walk toward their tour bus in the parking lot.

Entrance into the tunnel at the Small Fortress

Entrance into the tunnel at the Small Fortress

Door Number 18, shown on the far right in the photograph above, opens into the mortuary room, which I saw only from the outside on my tour. This is where corpses were stored until they could be taken to the crematorium to be burned.

Door Number 17, shown in the middle of the photo above, is the entrance to a tunnel which goes through the old fortifications on the north side of the Small Fortress to the former military firing range which, according to a pamphlet that I was given at the Small Fortress, was used by the Nazis for executions.

The tunnel is about a quarter of a mile long, although it seemed more like a mile, as I was walking through it. The tunnel is not underground, as you can easily see by looking through a few narrow slits in the wall along the way, but it feels like it is underground. The tunnel goes through the double walls of the original fortifications, but it was not used during World War II. It is shown to tourists because it is one more scary feature in this place of horror.

Exit from the tunnel in the Small Fortress

Exit from the tunnel in the Small Fortress

When you first enter the tunnel, it doesn’t seem to be very long, but just as you think you are nearing the end, the tunnel makes a turn and continues on. The exit from the tunnel is shown in the photograph above, where you can readily see that the tunnel is above ground. However, if you suffer the least bit from claustrophobia, it would be wise to let the tour leader know in advance so that arrangements can be made for you to reach the execution site through the door used by the condemned prisoners. The sandy path from the tunnel leads to the execution site which is between the ramparts.

Firing range at the Small Fortress

Firing range at the Small Fortress is at the end of the tunnel

The photograph above shows the place where prisoners were executed in the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt. One of the fortification walls is in the background and the spot where the condemned prisoner stood is in the center of the picture. The concrete form in the foreground was one of three places, under a free-standing roof, from which the firing squad would shoot while in a prone position.

According to a small booklet which I purchased at the Museum, between 250 and 300 of the 32,000 prisoners, who were inmates at the Small Fortress, were executed. This included 49 men and 3 women who were shot on May 2, 1945 just before the prison was liberated. Most of members of this group were in either the Predvoj resistance or the Communist party which had been banned by the Nazis.

The first recorded execution in the Small Fortress was on May 11, 1943 when a leader of the Communist resistance, Frantisek Prokop, was shot at the firing range. On September 28, 1944, Dr. Paul Eppstein, the second Elder of the Theresienstadt Ghetto was executed here because of his resistance activities.

The "Gate of Death" at the Small Fortress

The “Gate of Death” at the Small Fortress is No. 21 on the tour

After visiting the firing range in the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt, our tour group went through the Gate of Death which was the gate through which condemned prisoners had to walk to reach another execution site outside the fortress. If you don’t want to go through the tunnel to get to this execution site, you can reach the Gate of Death by walking straight ahead when you enter the Small Fortress, instead of turning left into the Administration Court.

You will then enter the Fourth Courtyard which is where our tour group emerged when we came through the Gate of Death. The photograph above shows the Gate of Death, taken from inside the Fourth Courtyard. In the background, you can see the high wall of the firing range.

Continue reading Part 2.  After World War II ended, the Small Fortress was used as a prison for ethnic Germans. 

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