Scrapbookpages Blog

August 15, 2013

Survivor of the Stutthof camp was not sent to the gas chamber because she pinched her cheeks and stood tall in order to look healthy

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:01 pm

During the Holocaust, the Nazis didn’t gas prisoners who were capable of working.  Nor did they gas anyone between the ages of 15 and 45.  The secret to avoiding the gas chamber was to look healthy enough to work, and to lie about your age.

The Stutthof gas chamber

The Stutthof gas chamber

One of the little known camps that had a gas chamber was the Stutthof camp near the city formerly known as Danzig.  A photo of the gas chamber is shown above.  Notice the small structure to the left of the door.  This looks like a place where coal was burned to heat the gas chamber hot enough to release the gas from the Zyklon-B pellets.

The photo below shows the inside of the Stuffhof gas chamber.  The stains on the walls are proof that this is a Gaskammer.

Stains cause by Zyklon-B gas inside the Stutthof gas chamber

Stains cause by Zyklon-B gas inside the Stutthof gas chamber  Photo credit: Germar Rudolf

Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin recently gave a talk to workers at Northrop Grumman Technical Services in Herndon, VA.  You can read about her talk here.

This quote is from the news article about Ms. Godin’s talk:

In 1944, Godin said the few Jews remaining in the Siauliai ghetto were deported to the Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig, Poland. Godin said she became prisoner “number 54015” and was separated from her mother and brother Jecheskel. Her other brother, Menashe, evaded deportation with the help of a gentile friend, and remained in hiding, she said.

In the camp, Godin said older Jewish women looked after her, protecting her and advising her on how to survive. “They would make me stand tall and pinch my cheeks to get the blood flowing in them when the Germans came around to take sick people away to the gas chambers,” she said. “If you looked sick, there was a good chance you would be chosen to die. Those women saved my life. ”

The gas chamber at Stutthof is little known, but I mentioned it in a previous blog post about the gas chambers that are still in existence.

This photo of Stutthof Concentration Camp is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Gas chamber and crematorium - Picture of Stutthof Concentration Camp, Sztutowo
This photo of Stutthof Concentration Camp is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Wikipedia confirms that there was a homicidal gas chamber at Stutthof, although it could hold only 150 prisoners at a time.  Zyklon-B was a dangerous gas.  It hardly seems worth it to have a homicidal gas chamber that could gas only 150 prisoners at a time.  It would have been more efficient to just shoot the sick prisoners at Stutthof.

This quote is from Wikipedia:

A crematorium and gas chamber were added [at Stutthof] in 1943, just in time to start mass executions when Stutthof was included in the “Final Solution” in June 1944. Mobile gas wagons were also used to complement the maximum capacity of the gas chamber (150 people per execution) when needed.

This quote is also from Wikipedia:

The evacuation of prisoners from the Stutthof camp system in northern Poland began in January 1945. When the final evacuation began, there were nearly 50,000 prisoners, the majority of them Jews, in the Stutthof camp system. About 5,000 prisoners from Stutthof subcamps were marched to the Baltic Sea coast, forced into the water, and machine-gunned. The rest of the prisoners were marched in the direction of Lauenburg in eastern Germany. Cut off by advancing Soviet forces the Germans forced the surviving prisoners back to Stutthof. Marching in severe winter conditions and brutal treatment by SS guards led to thousands of deaths.

In late April 1945, the remaining prisoners were removed from Stutthof by sea, since the camp was completely encircled by Soviet forces. Again, hundreds of prisoners were forced into the sea and shot. Over 4,000 were sent by small boat to Germany, some to the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg, and some to camps along the Baltic coast.

Fortunately, Ms. Godin was sent out of the Stutthof camp before the evacuation of the camp.  This quote is from the news article about her talk:

In January 1945, when she was 16, Grodin said she was sent on a forced death march with a group of approximately 1,000 fellow female prisoners that lasted six weeks, marching from sunup to sundown with inadequate shoes and clothing in terrible weather conditions.

“When the Soviet army liberated the group on March 10, 1945, only 200 women, including me, were still alive,” she said. “On my 17th birthday —18 days later — I only weighed 69 pounds, but I had survived and I was free.”

If you ever read the story of a Holocaust survivor, who does not know how much he or she weighed when they were liberated, you will know that they are not a real survivor.

Assuming that Nesse was around 5 feet tall and weighed only 69 pounds, she was 30 pounds underweight.  In other words, a skeleton.