Scrapbookpages Blog

December 15, 2013

The original guidebook for the Majdanek camp, published in 1986

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 12:10 pm

A regular reader of my blog asked me, in a comment, to put up a photo of the cover of the original guidebook, published in 1986, which was being sold at the Majdanek Memorial Site, when I visited the former camp in 1998. The cover of the guidebook is shown in the photo below.  All the letters on the black background are pure white, although the letters at the top are yellowed with age.

Cover of Majdanek Guidebook, published in 1986

Cover of Majdanek Guidebook, published in Warsaw in 1986

Here are two of the black and white photos, which are included in the guidebook.

The back door of the gas chamber, which is located near the entrance at Majdanek

The back door of the gas chamber, which is located near the entrance at Majdanek

The inside of the main gas chamber at Majdanek, looking toward the back door

The inside of the main gas chamber at Majdanek, looking toward the back door

On the first page of text in the Guidebook, there is a Table of Contents, which lists “The gassing of the Prisoners” in section 5. of Chapter 7.  (There are 9 chapters in the book, which has 189 pages of text.)

When I visited the camp, for the first and only time in 1998, I was accompanied by a non-Jewish tour guide, who had been provided for me, in advance, by a Tour company in New York City. Before going to the former camp, we had visited a yeshiva in Lublin.  I didn’t even know, at that time, what a yeshiva was, and I was very anxious to get to the camp while there was still enough light to take photos.  One of my photos, taken during the fading light, is shown below.

You can read what I wrote about Majdanek in 1998 on these pages of my website:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek.html

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek01.html

My photo of a guard tower at Majdanek, taken in 1998

My photo of a guard tower at Majdanek, taken in 1998

As my tour guide and I were driving down a major road, that ran through the city of Lublin, suddenly she said “Look over there — that’s the Majdanek camp.”  I was so taken aback that I could not set my camera properly to take a photo.  This was a “death camp,” where 1.5 million people had been killed — and it was on a major highway? My tour guide sensed that I was acting suspiciously like a depraved Holocaust denier, and that made me even more nervous.

My first thought at my first sight of Majdanek was just like my first thought when I saw the Dachau camp for the first time: Something wrong!

The Majdanek gas chambers were in the section of the camp that was very near the highway, so that is where I began my tour of the camp.

This quote is from the Guidebook, which I purchased at the Visitor’s Center, where I watched a movie, all by myself, since I was the only English-speaking person there on that day.

5. The concrete gas chambers in Majdanek adapted for the use of Cyclone B, were opened in October 1942. Earlier, however, exploiting Auschwitz experience with that gas for killing Soviet Prisoners of War, gassing was begun in a makeshift chamber. Evidence thereof is offered by the efforts of the camp administration to obtain Cyclone B. On 25 July 1942, the administration applied to Tesch and Stabenow International Gesellschaf für Schädlingsbekampfung (International Comany for Pest Control) abbreviated to Testa and performing the function of an intermediary in supplying camps for poison gas, for 1,474 cans of Cyklone B. […]

The gas took effect within 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the weather, humidity, temperature, quality of the gas, and the state of the health of the condemned.

The technique of killing with the gas is presented below by Perry Broad, an employee of the gas, and the state of health of the condemned. A similar technique was applied in Majdanek.

[quote from Perry Broad] “Right after the cans are opened, their content is poured into the holes.  Each time the opening is covered immediately… The driver starts the engine [of the truck], whose deafening throb is louder than the deadly screams of the hundreds of people being killed by the gas… Cyclone acts rapidly. It consists of hydrocyanic acid in solid form. When it is poured out of the cans, gas evaporates from the grains…” […]

Photo of cans of CycloneB is included in old guidebook

Photo of cans of CycloneB is included in old guidebook

The gas chambers in Majdanek were also equipped with  installations for the use of volatile gas. An examination carried out by the Polish-Soviet commission immediately after the liberation of the Majdanek camp showed that carbon monoxide had been used.

The human losses in the Majdanek camp were enormous. According to the findings of Zdzislaw Lukaszkiewicz, about 300,000 Poles, Jews, Soviet citizens, and prisoners of other nationalities perished as a result of both forms of extermination, direct and indirect during the three years of the camp’s existence.  (Source: page 91 of a book written by Lukaszkiewicz)

What?  The total number of deaths at Majdanek was 300,000?  That’s not what the Soviet prosecutors claimed at the Nuremberg IMT, where the number 1.5 million was given.

Now the number of deaths at Majdanek has dwindled down to a total of 78,000 deaths, including the deaths of 59,000 Jews. However, the number of 6 million deaths has not changed.  Those sly Nazis managed to kill 1.4 million Jews at some other location, which is still unknown.

The two photos below were also included in the Guidebook that was published in 1986.

Bodies of prisoners found in the crematorium which was burned down

Bodies of prisoners found in the crematorium which was burned down

The Soviets claimed that the Germans had burned down the wooden crematorium building, after killing the prisoners from the Gestapo prison in Lublin, in front of the ovens.  It is more likely that these political prisoners were killed by the Soviet soldiers who were in Lublin that day.

Photo of "Majdanek labor camp" is included in the Guidebook of 1986

Photo of “Majdanek labor camp” is included in the Guidebook of 1986

On my trip to Poland in 1998, I also purchased a small book, about 5 by 8 inches in size, entitled Majdanek The Concentration Camp of Lublin, by Anna Wisniewska. This book is currently available from Amazon.com.  It has a black and white photo of the huge monument at Majdanek on the cover.

Book Cover of 1997 book about Majdanek

Book Cover of 1997 book about Majdanek

This quote is from page 46 of the book, the cover of which is shown above:

Of the 235,000 victims of Majdanek, 48% were Jews, 31% were Poles, 16% were citizens of the SU (Soviet Union) and 5% were all the remaining nationalities.

So between the publication of a book in 1986 and the publication of this book in 1997, the number of deaths at Majdanek dropped from 300,000  down to 235,000.