Scrapbookpages Blog

June 30, 2013

Worn-out shoes are symbolic of the Holocaust

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:17 am
Display of shoes at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo credit  Paul Hosefros/The New York Times

Display of shoes at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo credit Paul Hosefros/The New York Times

The photo above accompanied an article in the New York Times, which you can read in full here.  The Times article is about a Jewish man who was finally able to buy a German car, at the age of 57, because the death of his parents had finally released him from a promise to “never buy German.”

So what does buying a German car have to do with the worn-out shoes found at Auschwitz and other concentration camps by the Allied liberators of the camps?  I previously blogged about the worn-out shoes here.  In the absence of any records which include the names of the 6 million Jews who were killed in the genocide of the Jews, known as The Holocaust, the shoes are used to represent the six million.

Block 15 (barracks building) at Auschwitz main camp

Block 15 (barracks building) at Auschwitz main camp

A typical tour of the main Auschwitz camp begins in Block 15, shown in the photo above, which houses an exhibit entitled Historical Introduction.  Organized groups begin their tour of the museum buildings here and then move on to Blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7 which are in the last row of barracks buildings.  Block 5 is similar to Block 15, shown in the photo above.

In Block 5, there are displays devoted to the “Material Evidence of Crime.” One of the displays shows hundreds of shoes in a huge glass case that takes up half of a barracks room. The shoes seem to be deteriorating and are mostly the same dark gray color, except for a few women’s or children’s shoes that are made of red leather. The red shoes stand out like the red coat worn by the little girl in Schindler’s List, a black and white picture.

Shoes on display in Block 5 at the Auschwitz main camp

My photo of shoes on display in Block 5 at the Auschwitz main camp

My photo of the Theater building at the Auschwitz main camp

My photo of the theater building at the Auschwitz main camp

The Theatergebäude (theater building) which is located just outside the Auschwitz main camp, was used as a clothing warehouse and it was stuffed full of clothing and shoes when the camp was liberated by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945.

Why didn’t the Nazis burn the shoes in the Theater building to destroy the evidence of the killing of the Jews?  It must have just slipped their minds, or maybe it was because they didn’t want to destroy such a nice brick building.

All but six of the clothing warehouse buildings at Birkenau had been set on fire when the camp was abandoned by the Nazis on January 18, 1945 and, strangely, the buildings were still burning when the Soviet liberators arrived on January 27, 1945.

In any case, the Nazis left behind 43,000 pairs of shoes which were found in one of the six warehouses at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which were not set on fire.  These shoes have been divided up among several Holocaust Museums, including the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Shoes were found in one of the warehouse buildings at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Shoes were found in one of the warehouse buildings at Auschwitz-Birkenau

This quote is from the New York Times article about the man who was finally able to buy a German car after his parents died:

“I almost threw up in the room filled with piles of shoes…..  […]  My father died in 2003 and my mother in 2010. This year, at age 57, when I needed a new car, I could finally buy a German one.”

The shoes, from the warehouse at Auschwitz-Birkenau, are symbolic of Jewish hatred of Germans, which extends to the next generation and beyond.

June 23, 2013

Which way for the gas, Ladies and Gentlemen?

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:52 pm

When I started blogging, way back on February 5, 2010, my first blog post was about Tadeusz Borowski who wrote a series of short stories which were published in a book entitled This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen.  Now I am back to square one, asking which way was the way to the gas: to the left or to the right?

Two women were sent to the right by the SS man doing the selections at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Two women are sent to the left by the SS man doing the selections for the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

A woman and her baby are sent to the left by an SS officer at Auschwit-Birkenau

A woman and her baby are sent to the right by an SS officer at Auschwitz-Birkenau

This website shows a series of photos, including the photo of the woman and her baby, shown above.

This quote is from the website which shows the photo above with this caption:

From \”The Auschwitz Album\”, the only photographic documentation of the entire extermination process at Auschwitz. An SS has just sent the woman with the infant to join those being sent to the crematoria; her hair is covered in the tradition of the Orthodox Jewish wife. A man is standing between the columns missing his pants and one shoe; this was a common occurrence in the overcrowded boxcars. On the left stand inmates in striped camp clothing. The main gate to Birkenau camp under which the trains pass is ar (sic) the rear left of the photograph.

Almost all survivors of the Holocaust say that those, who were selected to be gassed, were sent to the LEFT. The first photo above shows two women, who are capable of working, being sent to the LEFT.  A woman and her baby, who are not capable of working, are being sent to the RIGHT.

So which way was it?  To the left for the gas chamber, or to the right.  Actually, it could have been either way.  The photo below shows Krema II on the left and Krema III on the right; both had underground gas chambers, where morgues would normally have been.

Krema II on the left in the backround, and Krema III on the right

Krema II on the left in the background, and Krema III on the right

Jews arriving on a train inside the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

Jews arriving on a train inside the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

(Click on the photo to enlarge.)

The photo above shows Jews getting off a train that has just arrived on the tracks that were extended inside the camp in May 1944.  On the left side of the photo, out of camera range, were the women’s barracks and the disinfection chambers, which used Zyklon-B gas to disinfect the prisoner’s clothing. In the background, on the left side of the train tracks, you can see the high chimney of Krema II, one of the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Krema III is on the other side of the train, but out of camera range.

The road, that runs along the left side of the tracks, leads to an intersection where prisoners could go to the right and walk to the Sauna to take a shower.  Or the prisoners, who got off the train, could go to the left toward the disinfection chambers, where there were also showers.  So, either direction, the prisoners could go to the showers.

But which way was it to the gas, Ladies and Gentlemen?  What gas?  You mean: which way was it to the underground morgues in the crematoria, where bodies were stored until they could be cremated in the ovens of Krema II and Krema III?  Either direction.  Krema II was on the left side of the tracks and Krema III was on the right side of the tracks.

June 22, 2013

Auschwitz survivor explains, in a new book, the motive for the Czech family camp at Auschwitz

New book by Otto Dov Kulka, a survivor of Auschwitz

New book by Otto Dov Kulka, a survivor of Auschwitz

According to a review of the book, shown above, which you can read in full here, Otto Dov Kulka, a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, wrote about two groups of Czech Jews in the Theresienstadt ghetto, who were sent to the Birkenau camp, where each group was put into a “family camp,” and given privileges not allowed to the rest of the prisoners. In his book, Kulka claimed that “On March 7, 1944, six months after they arrived, all but a handful of Jews from the first group [of Czech Jews] were murdered in the [Auschwitz] gas chambers in a single night.”

According to the book review, written by Raimond Gaita:

Otto Dov Kulka was nine when he and his mother arrived in Auschwitz with the first group [of Czech prisoners from Theresienstadt]. His father had been taken to other concentration camps in 1939 and to Auschwitz in 1942.

Wait a minute!  Otto Dov Kulta was in the first group of prisoners who were put into a “family camp,” but he was not gassed when all the prisoners in the family camp were murdered in one night.  Apparently he was one of “a handful of Jews” who were saved so that they could write books about how the entire family camp was murdered in one night.  This may seem strange to some people, but the Nazis always made sure that they left some witnesses to tell the story, since they never kept records of the Jews who were gassed.

This quote is from the review of the book:

In 1943, the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, permitted the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Theresienstadt. The Nazis were allowed plenty of time to make the camp appear like a model community under occupation to a criminally gullible delegation (to put it kindly). Anxious that the ICRC might ask to visit camps in Poland, Himmler ordered the establishment of the family camp in Auschwitz, in order, Kulka writes, ”to serve as living proof that reports about the annihilation of Jews deported to the east were false”. When the ICRC declared that its visit to Theresienstadt had ”satisfied all their expectations”, Himmler ceased the grotesque charade.

So there you have it.  The motive for setting up the “family camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau was to provide a separate camp for the Red Cross to visit, so that they wouldn’t see what it was really like in Auschwitz-Birkenau.  That sounds plausible, but the Red Cross had been inspecting the Auschwitz camp before that.

In September 1943, December 1943 and May 1944, just before the scheduled Red Cross visit to the Theresienstadt ghetto, there was a total of seven transports to Auschwitz-Birkenau, on which 17,517 Jews were sent to the death camp.

The Czech Jews from these transports were placed in a “family camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Men, women and children were allowed to stay together in a separate camp, in contrast to the other prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau who had to live in fenced-off sections where the men and women were segregated from each other. The Czech Jews were allowed to wear civilian clothes instead of the blue and gray striped prison uniforms that the other inmates had to wear. Most importantly, the Czech Jews were allowed to send letters back to Theresienstadt to tell the others about how well they were being treated in the camp. Six months after it was opened, the “family camp” was closed and only 1,168 of the Czech Jews allegedly survived. The others were allegedly gassed in a single night, as told by Otto Dov Kulka.

How stupid was that?  Allowing 1,168 survivors to live so that they could write books and tell the story of how thousands of Jews were gassed “in a single night.”

What else could have happened to the Czech Jews who were allegedly “gassed in a single night?”  Auschwitz-Birkenau was not just a “death camp” where thousands of Jews were gassed.  It was also a “transit camp” from which Jews were sent to other camps, after a short stay at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Recall the story of Irene Zisblatt, who was pulled out of a gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau because the room was too full.  A Sonderkommando (Jewish helper) threw her over a 10-ft-high barbed wire fence into a railroad car that was bound for the Neuengamme labor camp.

What if the prisoners in the Czech family camp were also transferred to another camp, but the 1,168 survivors of the family camp were not told this?

June 20, 2013

What happened to the watches worn by the Jews who were sent to the gas chamber?

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:51 am

As every student of the Holocaust knows, the Jews entered an “undressing room” at Auschwitz-Birkenau where they took off their clothes before proceeding into the “gas chamber.”  According to stories told by numerous Holocaust survivors, the undressing room had hooks to hang up the clothes, and the victims were instructed to tie their shoe laces together to keep the shoes in pairs. God forbid that the Nazis would be stuck with 1.1 million mismatched pairs of shoes at Auschwitz.

Vintage gold pocket watch

Vintage gold pocket watch

But what about the watches worn by the victims?  Did the Jews remove their watches, and leave them in the undressing room, before going into the gas chamber?  Apparently not!

I have just learned, from this website, that the Jews took their watches with them into the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In a play entitled The Timekeepers, a Jew who was skilled in watch repair “slaves in his grim, solitary cell repairing watches taken off bodies piled into gas chambers for SS officers to wear.”

Rolex watch from the 1940s

Rolex watch from the 1940s

This quote is from a review of The Timekeepers, written by Alexandra Bonfield, which you can read in full here:

In The Timekeepers, middle-aged Jewish prisoner Benjamin (Karl Lewis) shares proudly how he was considered the finest watch repairman in Berlin. Believing his value as a skilled tradesman gave him immunity, he failed to flee Germany with his family before Nazi occupation. Separated from his wife and children, he slaves in his grim, solitary cell repairing watches taken off bodies piled into gas chambers for SS officers to wear. A young prisoner gets thrown into the cell, someone who has claimed he also repairs watches. Hans (Jeremy W. Smith), an unabashed opportunist surviving by his wits and easy sexual “accommodation,” wears a telltale pink star and flaunts his “deviant” sexuality. He knows nothing about watches and wants desperately to learn so he can survive.

It is a well-known fact that the Jews were gassed 2,000 or 3,000 at a time.  There were Jewish helpers, called Sonderkommandos, who had to go inside the gas chamber and untangle the pile of bodies, so that the victims could be carried to the elevator, a few at a time, and taken up to the ovens to be burned.

Did the Sonderkommandos remove the watches from the dead bodies and take them to a Jewish watch repairman, working in a private prison cell?  After being subjected to the fumes of Zyklon-B gas, I am not surprised that the watches needed to be repaired.

But why didn’t the Nazis have someone standing at the door into the undressing room, collecting the watches, before the victims even entered the undressing room?

Yes, yes, I know that the play is fictional, but the basic premise of the play is wrong.  The Jews probably had some expensive watches.  There must have been a lot of gold watches brought by the rich Jews to Auschwitz.  It would have been totally stupid to allow the Jews to take their watches with them into the gas chamber, when it would have been so easy to collect the watches at the door to the undressing room.

June 17, 2013

What is the greatest Holocaust lie ever told?

Filed under: Buchenwald, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 8:08 am
Lampshades made from human skin were found at Buchenwald -- NOT

Lampshades made from human skin were found at Buchenwald — NOT

Elie Wiesel was an orphan at Buchenwald -- NOT

Elie Wiesel is shown in this photo taken at Buchenwald — NOT

The photo above was copied from Carolyn Yeager’s website.

This morning I googled this phrase:  “greatest Holocaust lie ever told?”.  I was looking for individual lies, such as the lies told by Irene Zisblatt or Elie Wiesel, but what I found was a website which addresses the Holocaust story itself as one big lie.

This quote is from a revisionist website which you can read in full here:

This latest Holocaust story [1933 to 1945] didn’t gain much ground until the 1950’s when television started to re-educate the population with Holocaust propaganda. Soon it began pressuring businessmen, educators, historians, writers, elected officials, and religious leaders to accept this new dogma or be labeled a Hitler apologist or “Holocaust denier”. And it is a dogma – a new religion where the more time that passes since its supposed occurrence, the more we have to hear about it, the less we can question it, and the more we must watch our political and religious leaders prove their faith to it by making pilgrimages to its holy shrines Auschwitz, Dachau, and of course the many Holocaust memorials that have sprung up like poisonous mushrooms all over the western world.

If you want to get elected to higher office in America you must visit three places: a concentration camp, a Holocaust memorial, and Israel.

[photos of  3 presidents and 1 presidential candidate at the Western wall in Jerusalem]

Obama wailing at the wall

Obama wailing at the wall

The Holocaust was crafted for two purposes.

1. To justify wiping Palestine off the map so that Jews can have a homeland there.

2. As a propaganda weapon to fool Gentiles into believing that Jews suffered more than any other people in the world. Now, Gentiles do not have the right to question Jews on anything they do (because that’s what those Nazi’s did). So Jewish racists have a free hand to do whatever they want without fear of being exposed or criticized for it. You cannot question or criticize Jewish media moguls, bankers, politicians, organizations, or the Israeli government without being called an “anti-Semite” by their minions in the press and government.

The Holocaust story also elevates the Jews above the rest of humanity. How often does the media talk about how many Blacks died in the slave trade, or how many Whites died in Eastern Europe at the hands of Jewish communists, or how many Native Americans died, or Asians, or Arabs? Gentile lives are not treated as valuable by Hollywood or the major news corporations as Jewish lives. Everyone knows how many Jews are said to have died in the Holocaust, but how many people know how many Americans, Brits, Germans, Russians, Italians, Polish, Japanese, or Chinese died in that war? I thought all human life had equal value? Apparently not according to the Jews who control the news and entertainment industry.

I will leave it up to my readers to nominate the greatest Holocaust lie ever told by an individual Holocaust survivor.

June 16, 2013

Polish political prisoner was driven in a dump truck down a ramp and straight into a gas chamber at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:17 am

There are many stories, told by Holocaust survivors, about being saved at the last minute when they were pulled out of a gas chamber for one reason or another.  One of the prisoners who was pulled out of a gas chamber at Auschwitz was 28-year-old Regina Bialek, a Polish political prisoner.

Bialek gave a deposition which was entered into the British Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others, also known as The Belsen Trial, which took place in 1945 after the end of World War II. According to Bialek’s testimony, she was sent to one of the seven gas chambers at Auschwitz on Christmas day in 1943.  Josef Kramer was a former Commandant of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

Josef Kramer was arrested by the British after the Bergen-Belsen camp was turned over to them

Josef Kramer was arrested by the British after the Bergen-Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over to them

The following quote is an excerpt from the Deposition of Regina Bialek at the Belsen Trial of Josef Kramer and 44 others:

3. On 25th December 1943, I was sick with typhus and was picked out at a selection made by doctors Mengele and Tauber along with about 350 other women. I was made to undress and taken by lorry to a gas chamber. There were seven gas chambers at Auschwitz. This particular one was underground and the lorry was able to run down the slope and straight into the chamber.

A tipper-type lorry, called a dump truck in America

A tipper-type lorry, called a dump truck in America

Here we were tipped unceremoniously on the floor. The room was about 12 yards square and small lights on the wall dimly illuminated it. When the room was full a hissing sound was heard coming from the centre point on the floor and gas came into the room.

After what seemed about ten minutes some of the victims began to bite their hands and foam at the mouth, and blood issued from their ears, eyes and mouth, and their faces went blue.

I suffered from all these symptoms, together with a tight feeling at the throat. I was half conscious when my number was called out by Dr. Mengele and I was led from the chamber. I attribute my escape to the fact that the daughter of a friend of mine who was an Aryan and a doctor at Auschwitz had seen me being transported to the chamber and had told her mother, who immediately appealed to Dr. Mengele.

Apparently he realized that as a political prisoner I was of more value alive than dead, and I was released.

4. I think that the time to kill a person in this particular gas chamber would be from 15 to 20 minutes.

5. I was told that the staffs of the prisoners [Sonderkommandos] who worked in the gas chamber and crematorium next door changed every three months, the old staff being taken to a villa in the camp to do some repair work. Here they were locked in the rooms and gas bombs thrown through the window.

I estimate that in December, 1943, about 7,000 people disappeared from Auschwitz by way of the gas chamber and crematorium.

There were two underground gas chambers at Birkenau (Krema II and Krema III), but neither of them had a ramp where a lorry or truck could drive down into the gas chamber, as Regina Bialek described in her deposition. There were also two above-ground gas chambers (Krema IV and Krema V) where gas pellets were thrown through a window. Bialek said that the gas fumes came through the floor of the gas chamber.

Bialek mentioned in her deposition that the truck drove “straight into the gas chamber” and the victims were “dumped unceremoniously on the floor.”  This must have been a special kind of dump truck that dumped the contents of the truck bed over the front of the truck, instead of dumping the load behind the truck.  Maybe there is a “tipper-type lorry” that was made especially for dumping prisoners onto the floor of a gas chamber. An ordinary dump truck would have had to back over a large pile of bodies to get out of the gas chamber. Leave it to the Nazis to think up a dumb idea like this, as a means of putting the victims into the gas chamber.

Regina Bialek did not testify at the Belsen Trial, so she was not cross-examined by the defense.  She gave a deposition which was entered into the court proceedings. God forbid that she should be asked to explain her lies.

June 15, 2013

The true story of how SS Lt. Col. Kurt Becher saved 1,000 Hungarian Jews…

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:02 pm

According to a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, who recently spoke to students in America, as reported in this news article, here is the true story of how 1,000 Hungarian Jews were saved by Kurt Becher, a German SS soldier, during World War II.

According to the news article, cited above, the truth is that there was no exchange camp at Bergen-Belsen, and the Jews who were exchanged for goods, during the Holocaust, had actually been rounded up in Hungary by two Jewish boys pretending to be Nazis. Believe it or not, that is what really happened, according to Hungarian Holocaust survivor Marika Barnett, who spoke to a group of American High School students recently.

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

[The Jews] lived in fear in their house that they would be taken to the Danube and shot. Nazi soldiers came for them on December 27.

“We were terrified. We were only allowed to take a little suitcase… At gunpoint we were running in front of (Nazis).”

However these were not real Nazis. They were two Jewish boys pretending to be Nazi soldiers. They brought them to a special building SS Lt. Colonel Kurt Becher had set aside to house 1000 Jews in the hopes that he would be given leniency at the end of the war.

For money and for signatures that later helped them when they were put on trial, some of the German SS officers saved Jews from the Hungarian Nazis.

Here is what really happened:  Hitler had given his permission in December 1942 to release Jews, from the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp, for ransom. On August 21, 1944, three SS officers (Kurt Becher, Max Grüson and Hermann Krumey) who were representing Reichsfürher-SS Heinrich Himmler, and a representative of the Budapest Jews, Rudolf Kastner, met with Saly Mayer, a leading member of the Jewish Community in Switzerland.

The meeting took place in the middle of a bridge at St. Margarethen, on the border between Germany and Switzerland, because Mayer refused to enter Germany and he also did not want the SS men to enter Switzerland, according to Jewish historian Yehuda Bauer.

Becher asked for farm machinery and 10,000 trucks, and in return, he promised to free 318 Hungarian Jews from Bergen-Belsen. In a show of good faith, the train with the 318 Jews was already waiting at the Swiss border. Mayer offered minerals and industry goods instead of the trucks. According to Yehuda Bauer, Becher later claimed that he had persuaded Himmler not to deport the Budapest Jews, and that was why Himmler issued an order to stop the deportation of Hungarian Jews three days later.

A second group of 1,368 Hungarian Jews left the Bergen-Belsen detention camp on December 4, 1944 and entered Switzerland just after midnight on December 7th, according to Yehuda Bauer. Altogether, there was a total of 2,896 Jews released for ransom, including a transport of 1,210 Jews from the Theresienstadt Ghetto who entered Switzerland on February 7, 1945.

After the departure of the second Hungarian transport to Switzerland in December, more transports from Budapest continued to arrive at Bergen-Belsen and the Hungarian section remained in existence there until April 15, 1945 when the camp was voluntarily turned over to the British by Heinrich Himmler. According to Eberhard Kolb, who wrote a book about Bergen-Belsen, it was a transport of Hungarian Jews in February 1945 that bought in the lice that started a typhus epidemic in the camp. The delousing facilities in the camp had been temporarily out of order at that time.

After the Hungarian Jews had entered Switzerland, there were false reports by the Swiss press that the Jews were being ransomed in exchange for asylum for 200 SS officers who were planning to defect. When Hitler heard this news, from Ernst Kaltenbrunner, he ordered all further releases of Jews for ransom to stop.

Marika Barnett also told this story to the American students, as reported in the news article:

On Oct. 15, after a failed attempt of the governor of Hungary to join the Allies, members of the Hungarian Nazi Party took over the government and since by then Jews only lived in Budapest, the Hungarian Nazis went from house to house diligently, day and night and took the Jews to the shore of the Danube.

After they removed their clothes, they tied three people together and with one bullet they shot one person and the other two drowned alongside of them. “We lost many, many friends that way.” Her own parents escaped on the way to the collection centers four times by bribing their escorts.

I previously blogged about Kurt Becher here.

After Marika Barnett gave her talk at the High School, a Holocaust revisionist spoke to the students for an hour, giving the true story of Kurt Becher and the Jews who were saved by being exchanged for goods.

Just kidding.  God forbid that American students should learn both sides of history.  Holocaust survivors are allowed to speak to vulnerable students, telling any lies that they can think of; their stories are never vetted in advance.

June 14, 2013

Egon Zill, the worst Commandant of Dachau, wasn’t even a Commandant

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:09 am
Photo of a German soldier who may or may not be Egon Zill

Photo of a German soldier who may or may not be Egon Zill

Egon Zill has gone down in history as the worst Commandant of the Dachau concentration camp, although he was never the Commandant of the camp. Perhaps if he HAD been the Commandant, he would have been investigated by Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, who had two camp commandants executed after doing an investigation on them.

The following camp commandants were investigated by Dr. Konrad Morgen, who was an SS judge:

Karl-Otto Koch – Commandant of Buchenwald and Majdanek – executed for the murder of two hospital orderlies who had treated him for syphilis

Hermann Florstedt – Commandant of Majdanek – executed for murder

Hans Loritz – Commandant of Oranienburg (Sachsenhausen) – proceedings initiated on suspicion of arbitrary killing

Adam Grünewald – Commandant of Herzogenbusch concentration camp – found guilty of maltreatment of prisoners and posted to a penal unit

Karl Kuenstler – Commandant of Flossenbürg concentration camp – dismissed for drunkenness and debauchery

Alex Piorkowski – Commandant of the Dachau concentration camp – accused of murder but not sentenced

Amon Göth – Commandant of Plaszow camp — charged with stealing from the Plaszow warehouses, but never put on trial

Rudolf Höss — Commanant of Auschwitz-Birkenau — investigated  on charges of having “unlawful relations” with a Jewish woman prisoner, Eleanor Hodys.   Höss was removed from his command, but was later brought back to Auschwitz as the Commandant of the Birkenau camp, but not the Auschwitz main camp.

When Egon Zill was at Dachau, he had the title of Lagerführer, not Kommandant. Later, he was assigned to the job of Commandant of the Natzweiler camp; then he became the Commandant of Flossenbürg concentration camp.

Egon Zill was put on trial, as a “war criminal” by a German court in 1950 and sentenced to 15 years in prison; he returned to the town of Dachau to live after he completed his prison term and died there in 1974.

David L. Israel, author of the book The Day the Thunderbird Cried, published by emek press in 2005, wrote that Egon Zill was one of the Commandants of the Dachau camp and that he was exceptionally cruel to the defenseless prisoners.  According to David L. Israel, when Zill was the Commandant of Dachau, he was allowed to commit the most heinous crimes without interference from any higher authority.

The following quote is from The Day the Thunderbird Cried:

Egon Zill, by now a member of the Death’s Head formation, was the Commandant of Dachau Concentration Camp in 1941. Having received his Death’s Head unit training in Dachau, he was familiar with all the terrors the camp had to offer its inmates. Egon Zill became one of the most sadistic commandants in the history of concentration camps. Not only did he devise new and organized methods of torture for the unfortunate prisoners, he took joy in taking part in the punishment personally, or else watching from the sidelines as the prisoners died at the hands of equally sadistic guards. Zill thrived on watching men beaten, drowned, hung, and broken until their bodies were unrecognizable masses of bone and skin. A tag attached to their toes listed an identification number so they could be properly recorded in the record books as having died from a heart attack or some other medical ailment.

The Commandant of Dachau in 1941 was Alex Bernhard Piorkowski, as every law student in America knows.  I previously blogged about the strange case of Pirkowski here.

David L. Israel was a soldier in the U.S. Army in 1945, assigned to an intelligence group which investigated the Dachau camp for war crimes after it was liberated. As part of his duties, Israel interviewed the survivors of Dachau. About half of the survivors of Dachau had only been in the camp for two weeks or less. They had been brought to the main Dachau camp from the sub-camps and before that, they had been in other Nazi concentration camps; many of the prisoners at Dachau when it was liberated had previously been evacuated from Auschwitz when it was abandoned in January 1945. They were eager to tell the American liberators about the years of abuse that they had endured.

The following quote is from the book The Day the Thunderbird Cried:

Egon Zill had his dogs trained to react to the raising of his arm. On special amusement days, Zill would have a table of food placed in front of the starving prisoners who stood at attention. Should a person relax his body, the dogs would react automatically. As time went by and Zill became impatient, he raised his arm signaling the dogs into action. They attacked the genital areas of the prisoners until they were dead. At this point the bored commandant would leave the scene. […]

Having the prisoners sing anti-Semitic songs as they dug pits to be filled with stones, only to have the stones dug up and used to fill other pits, was a common pastime for the guards. At other times, they would bind the prisoners’ hands and feet and have them crawl on the ground grunting like pigs. As the prisoners approached the pigsty, food was put out for their meal to be eaten by the pigs. The SS men stood watching as the bound prisoners fought with the pigs for the food. This type of torture was used with Jews, priests, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Poles.

The following description of the torture inflicted by Egon Zill, according to Israel’s book, is completely and totally wrong:

There was one bunker at Dachau reserved for the most severe tortures. Prisoners were kept in solitary confinement.  The tortures inflicted on the prisoners were so cruel, they were kept secret from the regular SS guards.

Contrary to what David L. Israel wrote in his book, it was the German SS men who were tortured by Americans at Dachau.  I wrote about the torture in the one and only bunker at Dachau on this blog post.  You can read more about the Commandants at Dachau on this page of my website.

June 13, 2013

New exhibit in Block 27 at Auschwitz has been opened by Netanyahu

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:09 am

One of the followers of my blog made a comment in which he included a link to a news article about a new exhibit that has just gone up in Block 27 at the main Auschwitz camp.

My 1998 photo of Block 27 in the main Auschwitz camp

My 1998 photo of Block 27 in the main Auschwitz camp

Block 27 is located on the first street that intersects the main camp street, as you enter through the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate into the Auschwitz main camp. Turn to your right on this street and go past the camp kitchen to find Block 27.

I saw the displays in Block 27 on my first trip to Auschwitz in 1998.  I honestly don’t remember much about about it, since I saw so many of the displays in the barracks of the main camp that day. It was a bit overwhelming, but I did manage to take a photo of the exterior of Block 27, which is shown above.

This quote is from the news article:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opened a Holocaust exhibition at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp site in southern Poland.

The display in Block 27 places the former camp in the broader context of Nazi Germany’s systematic attempt to wipe out Europe’s Jewish population.

It is being overseen by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust institute.

I have never visited the Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem in Israel, but photos of it, that I have seen, show that it is far more glitzy than your average museum.  I am assuming that the displays in Block 27 will now be more spectacular than the displays in the old version.

Interior of Yad Vashem

Interior of Yad Vashem

This quote is from the BBC news article:

The new permanent Shoah exhibition has replaced the dilapidated one that was installed in 1960s communist-era Poland.

It is an impressive, powerful exhibition. Upon entering a darkened room a prayer can be heard. The next room displays a panorama of slides and video of pre-war Jewish life in Europe. One room is devoted to Nazi ideology, showing video of speeches by Hitler and Goebbels. A map points out the numerous Jewish extermination sites across Europe. One of the most moving displays highlights the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis. An art installation reproduces their pencil drawings made during the Holocaust on stark white walls.

There is also a Book of Names, running to 58 volumes, which aims to list all the names of the six million Holocaust victims. Finally, there is a room for visitors to sit and reflect upon the horrors they have just seen.

Note that the new exhibit “has replaced the dilapidated one that was installed in the 1960s communist-era Poland.”   When I saw Block 27 in 1998, I was told that the displays, that I was now seeing, had been put up AFTER the fall of Communism.  So apparently, this new exhibit is the third exhibit in Block 27, not the second one.

I didn’t take any photos of the interior of Block 27 in 1998, but my impression was that all the displays in the former Auschwitz barracks put heavy emphasis on the Polish resistance movement, and in keeping with this theme, there was a special section on the second floor of Block 27, which was devoted to the Jewish resistance to the Nazis, both inside the camp and on the outside. According to the information given in Block 27 in 1998, Jewish partisans fought with the Polish Home Army, known as the Armia Krajowa or Polish AK, and also organized resistance on their own.

When I was there in 1998, there was a small white memorial stone to the Jews who had been gassed. The stone is shown in my photo of Block 27 above. This was the only memorial stone, that I saw, which was specifically dedicated to the Jews, and did not include the other groups that were targeted by the Nazis.

June 12, 2013

Little girl with a hand grenade….the liberation of Hadamar by American soldiers (updated)

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 3:07 pm

Update June 14, 2013:

German Steilhandgranate (stick hand grenade)

German Steilhandgranate (stick hand grenade)

I talked to a friend of mine who knows a lot about hand grenades, and he told me that the German stick grenade was known to Americans as a “potato masher.”  As the photo above shows, it does look a bit like an old fashioned wooden potato masher.

German soldier throwing a "potato masher"

German soldier throwing a “potato masher”

I looked up hand grenades on Wikipedia and found the photo shown above, along with this information:

German stick grenade
Section of the Stielhandgranate Model 24.
Main article: Stick grenade

The German Model 24 Stielhandgranate stick grenade was introduced in 1915 and the design developed throughout World War I. A friction igniter was used; this method was uncommon in other countries but widely used for German grenades. A pull cord ran down the hollow handle from the detonator within the explosive head, terminating in a porcelain ball held in place by a detachable base closing cap. To use the grenade, the base cap was unscrewed, permitting the ball and cord to fall out. Pulling the cord dragged a roughened steel rod through the igniter causing it to flare-up and start the five-second fuse burning. This simple design continued to evolve throughout the First and Second World Wars, with the Model 24 grenade (popularly known as the “potato masher”) becoming one of the most easily recognized of all small arms, and synonymous with the German soldier.

Continue reading my original post:

With nothing better to do on a lazy Summer day, I got out my copy of David L. Israel’s book The Day the Thunderbird Cried, Untold Stories of World War II.  I read this book, which was first published in 2005, when I was doing research, a few years ago, on the liberation of Dachau by the 45th Thunderbird Division of the U.S. Army.

The first chapter of The Day the Thunderbird Cried, tells about the liberation of Hadamar, an institution where mental patients were put to death during the Nazi era in Germany.  According to the story, as told by David L. Israel, when American soldiers approached Hadamar, they saw a little girl, about 5 years old, talking to some German soldiers.  The Germans handed something to the little girl, pointed to the Americans, and told her to take this “Gift” to them.  As it turned out, the “Gift” was a hand grenade that the Germans wanted the little girl to give to the Americans.  At the last minute, the little girl tripped and the hand grenade exploded, killing her, and the American soldiers, who had refused to fire at the little girl, were saved from certain death.

Painting of a little girl with a handgrenade

Painting of a little girl with a hand grenade

Did this really happen, or is this just a fictional story to illustrate how the German soldiers were heartless and cruel, but American soldiers would not shoot a little girl, even if she was holding a hand grenade, and their lives were in imminent danger?

The book does not specifically say that this incident happened to 45th division soldiers.  In the front of the book, it is mentioned that the information in the book came from interviews with soldiers in the 42nd, 45th, 99th and 106th divisions of the American army. Perhaps this story was told by a soldier in the 99th division or the 106th division.

According to Wikipedia, the Hadamar Euthanasia Centre (German: NS-Tötungsanstalt Hadamar) was a psychiatric hospital in the German town of Hadamar near Limburg in Hesse.

It was used by the Nazis as a site of the T-4 Euthanasia Programme, which performed mass sterilizations and mass murder of “undesirable” members of German society, specifically those with physical and mental disabilities. The programme started in 1939 and lasted until the German surrender in 1945.[1]

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website states that Hadamar was liberated by the 2nd Infantry Division.  This quote is from this page of the USHMM website:

As the 2nd Infantry Division marched across Germany, it uncovered several sites of Nazi crimes. In early April 1945, the unit captured the German town of Hadamar, which housed a psychiatric clinic where almost 15,000 men, women, and children were killed between 1941 and March 1945 in the Nazi “euthanasia” program.

In any case, the image of a little girl with a hand grenade seems to be a metaphor for something, but I don’t know what.

Painting on side of building in Washington, DC  Photo Credit:  Photo Credit: DC Street Speaks  http://dcstreetspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/04/little-girl-why-do-you-have-grenade-in.html

Painting on side of building in Washington, DC Photo Credit:
Photo Credit: DC Street Speaks
http://dcstreetspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/04/little-girl-why-do-you-have-grenade-in.html

Note that both photos show the same blonde girl, probably with blue eyes, who could be the little German girl who was bringing a “Gift” to American soldiers when she accidentally blew herself up.

I have searched and searched on the Internet, but I have not come up with any proof that the story of the little girl with the hand grenade is true.  I am relying on the vast knowledge of the followers of my blog to explain the story of the little girl with the hand grenade.

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