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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.


  1. Hermie wrote:
    “I’ve heard that Irene Zisblatt could hide up to 15 watches in her anus”.
    Only exclusive brands. Nothing from Wal-Mart.

    Comment by Gasan — June 21, 2013 @ 8:19 pm

    • Irene soldiers on, speaking to 8th grade students, as recently as October 2012. Read about her latest talk at

      It doesn’t bother Irene that people are making fun of her lies.

      Comment by furtherglory — June 22, 2013 @ 7:36 am

      • “It doesn’t bother Irene that people are making fun of her lies”

        Good news because we won’t stop laughing at her every time she opens her mouth.

        The best thing the Zionist lobby could do would be to sent Mossad agents capture her, put her with stones in a bag and throw that bag in a river in order to prevent her from making their country’s founding myth look like a farce so often… 😉

        Comment by hermie — June 23, 2013 @ 9:57 am

  2. I’ve heard that Irene Zisblatt could hide up to 15 watches in her anus. 😉

    Comment by hermie — June 20, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

  3. “Elisabeth de Rothschild reportedly died of epidemic typhus on March 23, 1945, at Ravensbrück. Her second husband’s memoir, however, states that she was thrown into a concentration-camp oven, alive. She was the only Rothschild to die in the Holocaust or during World War II.” She probably had a nice watch.

    Comment by who dares wings — June 20, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

  4. I thought they went into the gas chamber thinking they were taking a shower . . .

    Comment by 666isMONEY — June 20, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    • Good point! They were allegedly TOLD that they were going to take a shower, so they would have taken off their watches and put them in the pockets of the clothing that they hung on the hooks in the undressing room. However, once they were inside the gas chamber, they would have seen that there were no shower heads.

      Comment by furtherglory — June 20, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

      • Yes but we’re not dealing with reality here, this is the holocaust, so all the watches were most likely waterproof……
        (or rather that’s what they’ll tell you if you dare to point this out)

        Comment by DB — June 20, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

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