Scrapbookpages Blog

May 18, 2013

The plan to gas all the Jews at Theresienstadt, or if that wasn’t enough, to drown them

Holocaust Survivor Inge Auerbacher is scheduled to give a talk to 7th and 8th students at Clarksburg, MA on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.  Auerbacher claims to be one of only 100 children to have survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp; there was a total of 15,000 children in the camp. She will be telling these American students about the atrocities in the camp, located only a few miles from Prague in the Czech Republic.

You can see photos of Theresienstadt on my website here.

The Clarksburg students have been studying the Holocaust since March and have read Auerbacher’s book, entitled I Am a Star.  (The Star refers to the Star of David which the Jews were forced to wear.)

The Nazis forced all Jews to wear a Star of David

The Nazis forced all Jews to wear a Star of David

I previously blogged here about Inge Auerbacher and her claim that the Theresienstadt gas chamber was never finished and the Jews were saved by the Russian troops who arrived to liberate the camp on May 8, 1945.  Before the Russians arrived, the Theresienstadt camp had been turned over to the Red Cross and the SS guards and administrators had left.

I looked up Auerbacher’s book on the Internet and found this condensed information, which was taken from her book, at this website:

During the last days of World War II, orders were given to build gas chambers at Terezín. The plan was to kill all the remaining Jews. At Terezín they were to kill the Jews by gassing them or by drowning in a specially prepared areas. Not one Jew in all of Europe was to stay alive. It was only a rush of events that spared Inge and some of the other prisoners their lives. The guards fearing capture by the Allies, began to burn all the camp records. The evidence of death had to be destroyed. At the beginning of May, the guards, living outside the barricades, ran away. They made last efforts to kill the remaining Jews by shooting wildly and throwing hand grenades into the camp as they fled.

The quote about “gassing them or by drowning” is on page 66 of Auerbacher’s book.

Before reading this information from Auerbacher’s book, I had never heard about the guards at Theresienstadt “throwing hand grenades into the camp as they fled,” as Auerbacher wrote on page 67 of her book.  Thank God that Auerbacher survived and can educate elementary school children in America about this atrocity.   I wonder how many Red Cross workers were hit by the wild shooting and the hand grenades thrown at them.  Auerbacher’s book should be made into a movie, so that we can see just how cruel the Nazis were.

Students who want to learn more about Theresienstadt can study this quote, from an article on this website:

The situation in Terezin [Theresienstadt] was influenced by the atmosphere connected with the intensive negotiations of Heinrich Himmler and his plenipotentiaries, particularly Kurt Becher, with the representatives of international Jewish organizations and the American Office for War Refugees.

On November 9 the Berlin Central Office of the Gestapo informed the Reich’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that within the framework of plans approved by Hitler on how to “make use of Jews for the German war effort in a manner other than by their work for the Reich”, a transport of 1 000 prisoners would be sent to Switzerland.

On December 6 a train dispatched from the Bergen – Belsen camp with 1 368 Jewish prisoners actually crossed the Swiss border. Among them were 97 Jews from Czechoslovakia. Four days earlier – according to the recollections of Felix Kersten whom Himmler had been using for his international political contacts – the Reichsfuhrer of the SS at a meeting in Triberg promised to free two to three thousand Jewish prisoners from Terezin on condition that the world press would not interpret this release as a sign of weakness on the part of Germany. Himmler refused to set 20 000 Terezin prisoners free. (At that time, however, such a large number of Jewish prisoners were not present in Terezin anymore.)

Shortly afterwards – on December 5 – during an inspection of Terezin, an unknown functionary of the Reich’s Security Main Office visited the Jewish Elder Benjamin Murmelstein (officially appointed as late as December 13). According to Rahm, the Commander of the camp, he was satiied [satisfied] with what he had seen. This visit gave birth to the legend that on the basis of this inspection “by a special commission from Berlin” it was decided not to liquidate Terezin but to make use of it for propaganda purposes.

Various alternatives for liquidating Terezin are documented from the circles of Prague’s Gestapo and from Eichmann’s Office at the Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin. There are documents about actual preparations, particularly about the building of a “food store” in Terezin ravelin No. XVIII, which could easily become a gas chamber, and the building of a “duck pond” in ravelin No. XV, which could be easily changed into the area where all of the camp’s inmates could be shot by machine -guns, burned by flame – throwers or drowned by a gush of water from the Oh e river. However, the leadership of the Reich had different plans for Terezin.

According to Wikipedia, “A ravelin is a triangular fortification or detached outwork, located in front of the innerworks of a fortress (the curtain walls and bastions). Originally called a demi-lune, after the lunette, the ravelin is placed outside a castle and opposite a fortification curtain.”

Theresienstadt was originally built as a military fort; it was surrounded by a dry moat and had five bastions which stuck out.

Theresienstadt was an old military fort

Theresienstadt was an old military fort

Dry moat at Theresienstadt

Dry moat at Theresienstadt

Maybe those stupid Nazis were planning to drown the Jews at Theresienstadt by flooding the moat with water.  They were desperate to kill all the Jews in the last days of the war, and when they were incapable of finishing the gas chamber in time, they decided on this outrageous plan.  Red Cross workers were already there, taking care of the prisoners who had typhus.

All American children should spend several months learning about the Nazi plan to drown the prisoners at Theresienstadt.  Forget American history, this is more important.